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Magic Johnson says Lakers should play inside game

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Magic Johnson says Lakers should play inside game

LOS ANGELES (AP) Magic Johnson questioned new coach Mike D'Antoni's system with the slumping Los Angeles Lakers, saying ``it doesn't fit the talent the Lakers have.''

The Lakers (9-12) fell to 4-8 in the 12 games since D'Antoni took over from the fired Mike Brown with a 100-94 loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

``I'm not down on him yet as a coach,'' Johnson said earlier in the day at a Dodger Stadium appearance, although he criticized D'Antoni's plan to make the Lakers into a running team.

``You can't run with these guys,'' he said. ``There's one guy who can get up and down the court and that's Kobe (Bryant). You've got to take that ball inside. That's how you win games.''

Johnson said the Lakers have two of the best 7-footers in the NBA in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, and the offense should revolve around Gasol, who missed his fifth straight game Tuesday night with tendinitis in his knees. Point guard Steve Nash has missed 20 games with a broken left leg he sustained on Oct. 31.

Johnson called Gasol ``the best passing big man in the NBA.''

``His game is catch it on the low block and face his man,'' the former Lakers star said. ``The first question should've been, `Where do you like it because that's where I'm going to give it to you.'''

When it comes to the Lakers' dismal defense, Johnson agrees with D'Antoni and Bryant.

``We can score points but the defense is breaking down,'' he said. ``We have to correct our defense. Every night guys have to come with passion and urgency.''

Johnson said he thinks that once Gasol starts playing well, the Lakers will follow suit with Nash's help.

``This is one of the most challenging stretches of my 17 years, and the most baffling, too,'' a puzzled Bryant said after losing to the Cavs. ``We have the talent and personnel to do it, but we're not, and it's baffling. It's extremely frustrating.

``It doesn't make any sense. We're still finding ways to lose games.''

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.

 

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In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Why the change?

The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.

The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.

Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.

Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.

And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.

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