DENVER – Luke Walton watched as Brook Lopez threw up his arms in frustration, shook his head and barked at his shoes. As the coach of an impressionable young team, Walton felt compelled to say something to one of his few veteran leaders.“You, as someone who can set an example,” Walton said he told Lopez, “we need to keep our body language up and positive no matter what’s going on out there.”For Lopez, considered one of the NBA’s good guys, that has become increasingly difficult in what has been a season unlike the previous nine of his career, which were all spent with the Nets.He is playing a career-low 23.2 minutes per game – this after averaging at least 30 minutes over the course of six different seasons – and before Saturday in Denver had failed to score more than six points in his previous four games. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersHe had not made a 3-point shot since Nov. 19, missing 10 straight in that span before hitting a 3 with 9:03 remaining in the third quarter against the Nuggets.Lopez often finds himself on the bench late in games, while Walton goes with a more nimble pick-and-roll defender in Julius Randle.“It is different for me for sure,” Lopez said. “I am used to being out there. I love being out there on the court trying to help my team whenever I can. Obviously I am going to understand and accept my role wherever it may be as long as it helps the team.”Lopez led all centers with 134 3-pointers last season. He had made three perimeter jumpers his entire career before working it into his game in his final year with the Nets. That was expected to be a staple of his game with the Lakers but through 21 games he was shooting just 30.1 percent from 3.“We want to establish an inside game with him and kind of let it work its way out to the free throw line and the 3-point line,” Walton said. “We’re on the same page with all that.” A tough interior scorer throughout his career, Lopez said before Saturday’s game that, “I have to get back to doing that.”The Lakers went to Lopez on the block on their first two possessions Saturday at Pepsi Center.The Lakers acquired Lopez in June along with the draft pick that became Kyle Kuzma in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.Lopez will become a free agent after the season, and will fall on the Lakers list of priorities somewhere below LeBron James and Paul George. So while the Lakers try to develop the core of players that will be here beyond April, Lopez’s game-to-game production takes a backseat to other factors.Like body language.“It was about trying to be more positive,” Lopez said of the conversation, “and when shots don’t go down, as opposed to shaking your head and being frustrated with yourself, acting like you have been there before and having the confidence that is a shot you can take and make.”WILD CHATSWalton is used to being on the receiving end of trash talk from veteran Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson. The former University of Arizona teammates and best friends spend their summers playing beach volleyball together near their South Bay homes.While Walton’s playing career ended in 2013, Jefferson, 37, has remained a useful reserve, winning a championship with Cleveland in 2016.That makes the dynamic all the more amusing when Jefferson is on the court playing in a game in which Walton is coaching.Jefferson dishes the trash talk just like always, but Walton, now in a more professorial role, has to restrain himself.“I’ve got a job to do,” Walton said with a smirk. “I’m not trying to entertain whatever he has to say.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Conte, who was cleared by a court of any wrongdoing in 2016, retorted by calling Mourinho a “little man”.– Sanchez is ‘phenomenal’ –Meanwhile, Mourinho, whose side host Stoke in the Premier League on Monday, has refused to rule out a January move for Alexis Sanchez, describing the Arsenal forward as a “phenomenal” player.But the United manager does not want to be drawn on his chances of beating Manchester City to a deal, saying it is not “ethical” to talk about another club’s player in such a way.City are favourites to sign Sanchez, who is out of contract at the end of this season and has made clear he has no intention of staying at Arsenal.Mourinho, whose squad has just returned from a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, said: “I don’t know if it’s ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs.“If somebody speaks of one of my players to tell we are interested, I wouldn’t be very happy.“Sanchez is an Arsenal player. Probably this weekend he is going to defend Arsenal colours so I don’t think it’s correct to say things about Alexis Sanchez.“At the general level, what I can say is myself and the Manchester United board, and the owners, we don’t believe a lot in the January market.“But in relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don’t say a word. The only word I can say is he is a phenomenal player. Apart from that, he is an Arsenal player and I feel I shouldn’t say much more than this.”Share on: WhatsApp Manchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Jose Mourinho on Friday said he felt “contempt” for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as their toxic public row continues to escalate.The Manchester United manager has traded insults with his Chelsea counterpart over the past two weeks, with their dispute becoming increasingly bitter.“I think when a person insults another you can expect a response. Or you can expect contempt,” Mourinho told reporters.“The first time he insulted me I had a response, a response that I know that touched the point where he really feels hurt.“Then he insulted me for a second time but now I change and now (I have) contempt. And for me contempt means the end of the story.”The enmity between the two men stretches back to early last season, with Mourinho accusing Conte of humiliating him with the scale of his celebrations as United fell to a 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in October 2016.The two managers have continued to snipe at each other since then, with Ander Herrera sent off during a bad-tempered FA Cup quarter-final in London last March, as Conte accused United of trying to stop Eden Hazard by fouling him repeatedly.Conte has also criticised United’s spending, while Mourinho even mocked the Chelsea head coach for having a hair transplant.However, their comments have acquired more bite lately, beginning when Mourinho implied that Conte was a “clown” for his dramatic touchline celebrations, although he later claimed he was not referring specifically to the Italian.Conte then accused the United manager of going senile, with Mourinho responding by referring to the four-month suspension that Chelsea’s manager received in 2012 for failing to report match-fixing while at Siena.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD—Jeff Marion holds his Pa. Proclamation he received from State Rep. Ed Gainey for “Excellence in Service Rendered to the Community.”Jeff Marion recently received a proclamation from State Rep. Ed Gainey for “Excellence in Service Rendered to the Community. ”The proclamation stated that coach Marion far exceeded the communities’ expectation as a coach of youth football, basketball and baseball.Marion stated that it all is his way of giving youth something positive to do all year long and keeping them off the streets. Marion coaches in several youth leagues in an attempt to help youth gear their energy in a positive direction through sports.Marion is also the circulation manager for the New Pittsburgh Courier.