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Why Isaiah Thomas brings his kids to help him at charity events

Why Isaiah Thomas brings his kids to help him at charity events

WASHINGTON -- Isaiah Thomas likes to bring his sons with him just about wherever he goes. They walk with him into the Wizards' locker room, they shoot around on the court at Capital One Arena; he's even brought them to the podium for postgame interviews.

On Saturday, Thomas brought one of his sons to the Boys and Girls Club on 8th St. in Northwest Washington and for a specific reason. Thomas wanted him to help give back.

Just as Thomas was handing out toys to underprivileged youth, so was his son. The contrast was not lost on Thomas, who knows his son is well off as the kid of a millionaire NBA player. Not everyone is as fortunate.

"When I can do these types of things, I always want my kids to be around it," Thomas told NBC Sports Washington. 

"To be able to give back and see how blessed we are and how blessed he is and how we can put smiles on peoples' faces, especially around the holidays; it's definitely a point of emphasis to do that and bring my boys around to see it."

Thomas said his father instilled the same lessons in him when he was growing up in Washington state. Every Saturday morning at 6 a.m., his dad would take him to a shelter to serve breakfast to the homeless.

"That was something I was born into doing," Thomas said.

Thomas grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club himself and has partnered with them and World Vision throughout his NBA career to give back. Their efforts nationally have allowed him to continue the relationship no matter which team he has played for.

"Isaiah Thomas has been an amazing partner for World Vision," aid worker Brian Duss said. "Isaiah wasn't even in D.C. four days before he partnered with us at a school in [Southeast] to give away 400 backpacks filled with school supplies."

Before handing out toys and taking pictures with the children, Thomas addressed the crowd with a microphone. He spoke of his experience going to the Boys and Girls Club as a kid and explained the impact he hopes to make in the D.C. community.

"Whatever you need from me, I'm always here for you," he said. "I hope everyone has a happy holidays."

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Quinn Cook changes his jersey number to honor Kobe, Gigi Bryant

Quinn Cook changes his jersey number to honor Kobe, Gigi Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard, and former DeMatha Catholic star, Quinn Cook is changing his jersey number from No. 2 to No. 28 to honor the late Kobe and Gigi Bryant. 

For Cook, the No. 28 symbolizes the combination of Gigi's No. 2 and Kobe's No. 8.

"No. 2 is Gianna's number, I feel it should be retired. It's hers," Cook told Shams Charania of the Athletic. 

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💔💔my hero man. I’m completely crushed. I haven’t cried this much or been in this much pain since I lost my dad in 2008. Yesterday I lost my hero, my idol, & the main reason my love for this game is where it is today. Can’t really process this but we all are devastated and heartbroken about what happened to my hero Kobe & his beautiful daughter Gianna. You taught us all so much on and off the court. Anyone who knows me knows what Kobe means to me and to the entire world. We need to give all of our energy and prayers to the Bryant family and all the families involved in the tragic event yesterday. I will never get over this, I don’t know what’s going to happen going forward but one thing I know is that Kobe and Gianna are up there in heaven TOGETHER smiling down on us all. You were the greatest I’ve ever seen on the court but you were an even better Father to all four of your daughters man. Wow Bean I’m really writing this right now 💔💔. I will cherish our relationship and everything you told me forever. We are already missing you Kobe and Gigi🙏🏽🙏🏽! RiP DAD!

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Kobe and Gianna were two of the nine passengers that passed Sunday morning in a tragic helicopter crash. Since the incident, players, coaches, and organizations league-wide have honored the passings in their own manner. 

Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, decided to retire the No. 24 within the organization. “Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball," Cuban said in a statement Sunday. "Our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick."

After that move, players began to informally retire their own jersey numbers -- Detroit Pistons forward Markieff Morris will change his jersey from No. 8 to 88. Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets will change his jersey from No. 8 to No. 26 and Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic will change his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 31.

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After recent progress, Wizards' defense is getting worse as they get healthier

After recent progress, Wizards' defense is getting worse as they get healthier

The 2019-20 Washington Wizards continue to stand out in the context of NBA history, and not in a good way.

We knew going into this season their defense would likely be a weakness, but to this extent? After allowing 151 points in a loss to the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks on Tuesday, the Wizards became just the fourth team ever to give up 150-plus in two straight games. The Hawks dropped 152 on them on Sunday.

Tuesday was the sixth time the Wizards have given up 140 points or more already this season. That's the most such games for any team since the 1990-91 Nuggets. Reminder that this was Game 46 of the Wizards' season.

There have been six total 150-point games this season in the NBA and four of them have been against the Wizards. They allow the most points of any team on the year (121.3/g) and have the worst defensive rating (116.6). 

The latter is on pace to be the second-worst in league history only to the 2018-19 Cavaliers, who posted a 117.6. Those Cavs, though, only gave up 114.1 points per game.

The Wizards' defensive ineptitude peaked, though, in the first half of Tuesday's defeat when they allowed a shocking 88 points to the Bucks. That was a franchise-record for Milwaukee for points in a half and the most ever scored by a Wizards/Bullets opponent in a half. It was the seventh-most points scored in a first half in NBA history.

The real shame is that the Wizards had made some progress defensively not that long ago. From Dec. 28 through Jan. 15, a span of 10 games, the Wizards held opponents to 113 points a night. That would rank 20th among NBA teams if held over the whole season to this point.

That's not exactly the 90s Bulls, but combined with their high-powered offense, that gave the Wizards a winning formula. It was during that stretch that they beat three of the NBA's top teams; the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics. And they won all three games without Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant.

Those three, by the way, might be the Wizards' best players. But as the Wizards have gotten healthy, they have also taken a step backward defensively.

Defensive rating, which measures points allowed per 100 possessions, is a team stat that is tracked and charted for individual players. The number assigned to each player indicates how the team plays defensively when they are on the floor. And because it is a team-wide stat, it isn't a perfect representation of how a player performs on the defensive end.

But it can tell you who is on the floor when the team is at their best or worst and Beal and Bryant happen to have two of the three highest defensive ratings on the team. Beal is at 121 and Bryant is at 120.9. The only player worse is Rui Hachimura (123.8), who should be returning soon himself from injury.

Isaiah Thomas has the fourth-highest defensive rating on the team at 120.7, which added to the equation further illustrates how bad the Wizards' starting lineup is at preventing points. Part of it, of course, could be the simple fact that as starters they face the best players on the opposing teams.

But also many of the Wizards' best defensively rated players were logging heavy minutes when the aforementioned guys were out. Garrison Mathews (103.8), Anzejs Pasecniks (109.5), Isaac Bonga (110.2), Jordan McRae (111.9), Troy Brown Jr. (114.3), Gary Payton II (115.4), Ish Smith (115.4) and Ian Mahinmi (115.8) were leading the charge when the Wizards were missing most of their regulars.

This, of course, by no means suggests the Wizards are better without Beal, Bertans, Bryant and others. But with them back in the lineup, the Wizards are trending in the wrong direction defensively.

It's a confusing problem and one head coach Scott Brooks will need to figure out if this team plans to turn things around this season.

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