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Hundreds remember Majerus at funeral at Marquette

Hundreds remember Majerus at funeral at Marquette

MILWAUKEE (AP) Hundreds of friends and fans gathered at Marquette University on Saturday to remember Rick Majerus, the impassioned college basketball coach who died of heart failure at 64.

Al Jensen, who played for Majerus at Utah and coached with him at Saint Louis University, recalled the portly man who loved food as much as basketball as a demanding coach and loyal friend.

``There wasn't a man as unique as Coach. You can't compare him to anyone else,'' Jensen said.

Majerus was 517-216 over a 25-year career in which he had 15 seasons with at least 20 wins, plus two 30-win seasons. He led Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998 and also coached at Marquette, Ball State and Saint Louis.

Majerus died of heart failure Dec. 1 in a Los Angeles hospital.

Jensen said no one ever made him as angry as Majerus occasionally did, but he always respected his coach's passion and intensity.

``He pushed you to your utmost limits,'' Jensen said.

The funeral was held at the Church of the Gesu at Marquette, the Jesuit school where Majerus began his coaching career as a student assistant to Al McGuire.

The Majerus family released a statement expressing thanks for the outpouring of sympathy.

``We cannot begin to express our sincere gratitude to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and well wishes during this difficult time for all of us,'' the statement said. ``Rick was certainly a public figure with a terrific sense of humor, a competitive spirit and a love of family, especially our mother, Alyce, his friends, players, fellow coaches and fans.''

Saint Louis' 15 current players were listed as official pallbearers. About a dozen former Utah players attended the funeral, including Keith Van Horn, Andre Miller and Michael Doleac.

Also attending was Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who credited his former coach for providing tough love on the court and unconditional love off of it. Majerus gave Rivers his nickname.

``I don't think I would be the coach of the Celtics or a lot of other things if Rick was not in my life, if Rick had never come in my life,'' Rivers said in an interview posted on Marquette's website. ``He gave me great love, great attention, great tough love. He made me grow up. He made me a better person and a better player.''

The Marquette basketball team will honor Majerus by wearing a black and yellow ribbon with the initials ``RM'' on its uniforms for the rest of the season.

Rivers flew back to Boston in time for the Celtics' evening game against Philadelphia.

``It was just a long day, a tough day,'' he said. ``Rick was important to me. I felt I had to be there.''

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

Andre Burakovsky will be sidelined for the remainder of Washington's first-round series vs. Columbus, but he isn’t necessarily out for the remainder of the playoffs, Coach Barry Trotz said on Friday.

Burakovsky suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in the Capitals' Game 2 overtime loss and has not been on the ice since.

Trotz said the 23-year-old top-six winger needs “minor” surgery.

That procedure, however, will not preclude Burakovsky from returning to the Caps’ lineup in subsequent rounds, should Washington advance.

“That's why I said minor surgery,” Trotz added, asked if Burky might return at a later date.

This latest surgery is the second for Burakovsky this season. In late October, he had a procedure to repair a broken left thumb and missed the next 20 games.

Since his departure in Game 2, Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson have taken turns replacing Burakovsky on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks remarked after Game 2 and following practice on Thursday that he was partly to blame for Bradley Beal's modest scoring output through two games in the team's playoff series against the Raptors. They weren't just throwaway lines, a coach trying to make his star player feel better for struggling in the playoffs.

No, Brooks truly meant what he said and followed up those comments with an apology face-to-face. Brooks met with Beal and John Wall in between Games 2 and 3 to see how they can get Beal going and reiterated that some of it all was on the coach.

"He apologized to me, which was weird because he's somebody who always holds me accountable for stuff," Beal said after Friday's shootaround. "I guess he figured I wasn't shooting the ball enough and he thought it was his fault. I don't know."

Beal, who is averaging 14.0 points in two games and scored only nine in Game 2, came away from the meeting with a good understanding of what he needs to do to get back on track. After apologizing, Brooks laid out a strategy in hopes that he, Wall and Beal can all be on the same page moving forward.

They need to get their All-Star shooting guard back to form on the offensive end.

"He just basically challenged me. He challenged me to be more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end," Beal said.

What has made Beal's scoring troubles through two games particularly surprising is how well he played against the Raptors during the regular season. He averaged 28.8 points in four games against Toronto and all were without Wall.

Beal shot 50 percent against the Raptors both from the field and from three. So far this series he's shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range.

Asked whether there is anything he can draw from the regular season to apply to the playoffs, Beal said it's not as easy as it may seem.

"Those games are different. The matchups are different to an extent. It's totally different in the playoffs because you have more time to prep and prepare and gameplan for us," he said. 

"I think the biggest thing is them being physical. They are real physical with me. Whenever I'm standing around on offense or moving around, they are grabbing me. I just need to be physical back with them. Keep moving off the ball and especially if Kyle [Lowry] is guarding me. Tire him out as much as possible. Continue to be aggressive."

Coaches use all sorts of leadership tactics to motivate players. Perhaps an apology will do the trick.

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BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3