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Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal out at least next 2 games with hamstring injury

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Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal will miss at least two games because of a left hamstring strain, the team announced Monday.

Beal, who suffered the injury Saturday against the Pacers, had already been ruled out for Monday’s road game against the Hawks. The NBA’s second-leading scorer this season now will also miss Wednesday’s game in Atlanta.

The Wizards said Beal will be reevaluated Friday before their home game against the Cavaliers. Washington concludes its regular season two days later at home against the Hornets.

Beal injured his hamstring late in Saturday’s 133-132 win over Indiana. He checked out of the game with 21 seconds left in regulation and missed all of overtime after scoring 50 points.

The Wizards (32-36) lead the Pacers (31-36) by a half-game for ninth place in the Eastern Conference and trail the Hornets (33-35) by one game for eighth.

Beal also is in a tight race with Stephen Curry for the NBA scoring title. Curry is averaging a league-leading 31.9 points per game — just ahead of Beal (31.4) — with four games remaining on Golden State’s regular-season schedule. The two superstars traded monster games Saturday night, with Curry scoring 49 points just hours after Beal’s 50-point game.

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Follow live: Paul, Suns host Nuggets, seek 2-0 series lead

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert wins 3rd career NBA Defensive Player of Year award

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reclaimed the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award Wednesday night, becoming the fourth player to be named the league’s top defender at least three times over the course of his career.

Gobert, who won the award in 2018 and ’19 before Giannis Antetokounmpo won it last year, earned 84 of 100 first-place votes and finished with 464 total points. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (15 first-place votes, 287 total points) and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (76 total points) finished second and third, respectively.

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo finished fourth and received the remaining first-place vote.

Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, and Dwight Howard are the only other players who have won at least three Defensive Player of the Year awards. Mutombo and Wallace each won four times, and Howard won three.

Utah began its ascent to being one of the West’s elite teams several years ago behind a team full of defensive players built around the massive 7-foot-1 center’s special skillset. But with more offense-first players on the current roster, the Jazz have relied more on Gobert to keep the team’s defense at an elite level. He has succeeded, as the Jazz finished the season with the league’s fourth-ranked offense, third-ranked defense and the best net rating (9 points per 100 possessions) by nearly three points over their closest competitors (LA Clippers, 6.1).

Simmons, one of the league’s most versatile defenders, thanks to his 6-foot-10 frame and impressive athletic gifts, helped spearhead the league’s second-best defense, which, in turn, helped Philadelphia claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Green, on the other hand, proved he’s still more than capable of having a significant impact defensively after leading the Warriors to the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA during the regular season – not to mention doing a spectacular job defensively in Golden State’s to Los Angeles Lakers in the seventh place play-in tournament game last week.

The NBA has already announced that Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson had won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle had been named its Most Improved Player, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is Coach of the Yeah and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Rookie of the Year is still left to be handed out, as well as the All-Rookie, All-Defensive and All-NBA Teams.

Like last year, the NBA has reverted to its traditional rollout of the awards during the playoffs, rather than having a large awards show at the end of the postseason, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Boston Celtics to interview NBA assistants in coaching search, including LA Clippers’ Chauncey Billups, sources say

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Boston Celtics president Brad Stevens has received teams’ permission to interview several assistant coaches for his franchise’s head coaching job, including the LA Clippers‘ Chauncey Billups, sources told ESPN.

Stevens started making calls on Wednesday to get the OK to talk to several candidates, including Billups, Milwaukee Bucks‘ Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Dallas’ Jamahl Mosley and Brooklyn’s Ime Udoka, sources told ESPN.

The Celtics’ list is expansive beyond these candidates, who comprise a group of assistants who’ve all been interviewed for other head coaching openings in recent years.

Stevens stepped down as Celtics coach to replace Danny Ainge running the Celtics’ front office and spent the first several days of his coaching search interviewing members of his former coaching staff, including Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen, Scott Morrison and Joe Mazzulla, sources said.

Along with Indiana, Orlando and Portland, Boston is one four teams with head coaching openings.

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