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Scott Brooks embraces 'cool experience' in his return to Oklahoma City

Scott Brooks embraces 'cool experience' in his return to Oklahoma City

Scott Brooks tried his best to put "coachspeak" aside Tuesday, before the Wizards leave to play a game at the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's where he coached for seven seasons until he was fired in 2015. 

"I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m not going to stand here and say it’s just one of 82 games, but it is one of 82 games," Brooks said with his team taking a three-game road trip that includes stops at the San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets. "I had great memories with that organization. I started off coaching a lot of young players that I really respect the work that they put in. We accomplished a lot as a group. We were one of the youngest teams in NBA history get to the NBA Finals. … We had a great run. Unfortunately that ended for me but that’s the business we’re in."

Except for the first season when Brooks took over, the Thunder always had a winning record. They won 50 games or more four times and two seasons there were exceptions. In 2012 when they made the NBA Finals, it was a 66-game season because of the lockout. The Thunder won 47. In his final season, Brooks had injuries to his All-Stars Russell Westbrook (15 games missed) and Kevin Durant (55). They still won 45 games but missed the postseason.

When Brooks got the bad news from GM Sam Presti, he was at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He never properly said goodbye. He spent the 2015-16 season out of the NBA.

"I’ve been cut a lot of times as a player. I’ve fought back and made teams. In coaching it’s a different animal," said Brooks, who has the Wizards out to a 6-10 start. "When you get fired, I was in California. I didn’t get a chance to see the people that meant so much to me and so much to our success as a team. I get to see a lot of them when I go back. Even the ushers, to see Betty, Dean, Coach, Anna, those are the people that behind the scenes make your organization work.

"It’s going to be a cool experience. Don’t know how they’re going to respond. I know the people. The people in Oklahoma City are phenomenal. I’ve learned so much about myself during that time. Now I even follow college football. Never did that. OU, OSU football is important there."

While Brooks insisted that he communicates with everyone he came in contact with at Oklahoma City, even those who have gone on to other organizations, he has spoken "very little" with Presti. 

He was replaced by Billy Donovan who left the University of Florida and led the Thunder to the conference finals last season. James Harden left long ago. Then it was Brooks and this summer Durant exited. 

There's a good chance Brooks' return is received best. They won 62% of their games with him (338-207). 

"That’s a little ambitious," he said, "if I’m thinking they’re going to give me an ovation."

[RELATED: KELLY OUBRE PUTS IN WELL-ROUNDED GAME VS. KINGS]

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Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Today the NBA announced that Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has the most popular jersey in Japan.

Sales from NBAStore.jp, the official online NBA store in Japan, put Hachimura at the top of the list, followed by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. The rankings were based on online sales during the 2019-2020 NBA season through January.

Hachimura's ranking shouldn't come as a surprise, as the rookie became the first Japanese-born player selected in the first round of the NBA draft when the Wizards took him ninth overall last summer.

Not only was Hachimura the top-selling jersey, but he also accounted for 24% of all jersey sales. Additionally, the Wizards made up 13% of all team merchandise sales. 

The Lakers topped the list of most popular team merchandise, followed by the Wizards and the Warriors. The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks rounded out the top five.

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Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Steph Curry will return to game action when the Golden State Warriors host the Wizards on Sunday night, The Athletic reported Tuesday. The game will come almost four months to the day after Curry broke his left hand during a collision with Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes on Oct. 30.

The Warriors (12-14) enter play Tuesday with the worst record in the NBA having played most of the season without Curry or shooting guard Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL during the NBA Finals last summer.

Curry was cleared for contact Saturday and told reporters that March 1 had been his target date for a while.

"It's always been March 1," Curry said, per ESPN's Nick Friedell. "But that for me mostly is just to give you a target. You have to have something to work towards in the rehab process because that gives you a barometer for each week, what you're building towards."

The Wizards are hoping for the healthy returns of Davis Bertans (sore right knee) and Thomas Bryant (right foot) to the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and will presumably go into Sunday’s contest with a clean injury report outside John Wall.

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