A high-profile incident involving Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and a heckling fan highlights the sometimes overly-close physical proximity between NBA fans and the targets of their derision.,On Monday night, Westbrook and 45-year-old Shane Kiesel exchanged insults during the second quarter of the Thunder’s game with the Jazz in Vivint Smart Home Arena.,Westbrook explained after the game that Kiesel’s insult is the latest in a series of disdainful remarks by fans aimed at him and other NBA players when playing in road arenas.,First, Kiesel and several other fans in Vivint Smart Home Arena were issued co-called “warning cards” pursuant to the NBA’s Fan Code of Conduct.,In addition to the Fan Code of Conduct, the uniform player contract signed by every NBA player contains provisions that empower commissioner Adam Silver to punish Westbrook.

James and his closest friends idolized Michael Jordan while they grew up together on Akron’s competitive playgrounds and tough streets.,As James grew into a tantalizing basketball prospect capable of jumping from high school to the NBA as the No. 1 draft pick, he studied, imitated and drew profound inspiration from Jordan’s tongue-wagging dunks, that fadeaway jumper, his competitive fire — even the little details of the way Jordan wore his sneakers and shorts.,Jordan has also admired James’ game for years.,When James surpassed Jordan’s career points total Wednesday night, he did it in a pair of Nikes with “Thank You M.J.” written neatly on the side.,James moved past Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list with a driving three-point play in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

No team in the NBA has lost more games over the past six seasons than the Lakers, but whatever infects basketball operations has graciously spared game operations, which are still the league's best.,The team plays in the most appealing market in the league; their local broadcast deal pays them in excess of $150 million per season; they employ LeBron James; and they have picked second overall in three of the past four drafts.,Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAYRather than assign blame to unfavorable news reports that embarrassed her franchise, Buss could have taken a page from Robert Sarver, the owner of a Suns team with the fifth-most losses over these six seasons.,At some point, the Lakers must recognize that running an NBA team is far more than an exercise in brand management and talent recruitment.,A front office is a managerial project like any other business -- NBA teams make widgets, only they're wins (or, more commonly for the Lakers, losses).

PITTSBURG, Kansas — Ashland University redshirt freshman shot putter Lindsay Baker was the runner-up at the 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championships on Saturday afternoon.,Greene won her second straight NCAA Division II indoor national title in the shot put and has won four straight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships.,The Ashland men won its first Division II national indoor title with 38 points, one more than Adams State (Colo.)

BOSTON, Mass. — The University of Mount Union men’s track team finished second at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on Saturday.,North Central (Ill.), which Mount Union edged out by a point last season, won its sixth indoor team championship with 55 points.,James had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in his seventh triple-double for the Lakers, who have lost five straight in a playoff chase that looks futile at this point. read more

YOUNGSTOWN — Senior guard Melinda Trimmer scored in double figures for a seventh straight game in leading Youngstown State past Milwaukee, 64-58, in a Horizon League quarterfinal Wednesday night in front of 1,382 fans at the Beeghly Center.,LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James moved past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list Wednesday night.,James, who entered the NBA at 18 years old compared to 21 for Jordan, began the night averaging 27.1 points per game in 1,189 games over 16 seasons with Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.,Just eight days ago, James moved into 10th place on the assists list, becoming the first player in league history to make the top 10 in points and assists.,James began the night averaging 27.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists while hitting 51 percent of his shots and playing 35.7 minutes per game for the Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, with all due respect to local football fans following the Rams' Super Bowl defeat, thinks his team has some similarities to the NFL champion New England Patriots.,"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka said on a conference call with reporters Friday to discuss his team's NBA trade deadline deals.,The Clippers' deal opened a roster spot, and Pelinka said the team is evaluating "a handful" of players to fill it -- either now or closer to the March 1 deadline to add a player and have him be playoff eligible.,Continuing the Patriots' parallel, Pelinka compared Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to the players the Lakers added, noting how New England found its rhythm after the slot receiver returned from a four-game suspension, much the same way he hopes the Lakers find their stride now.,Pelinka confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that detailed Johnson's plan to meet the team in Philadelphia -- Pelinka said Johnson is attending a reunion celebrating Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship as he makes his way west to east.

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The fact that the Pelicans could trade Anthony Davis without the Celtics being able to make an offer is hard enough for Boston fans to handle at the moment.,While the news since last summer has been largely about stars not interested in being LeBron’s sidekick—George’s decision to re-sign with the Thunder, Jimmy Butler not having the Lakers on his reported preferred list and Kawhi Leonard reportedly favoring the Clippers—a source close to the Celtics confirmed that Kyrie Irving is genuinely interested in reuniting with his former Cavaliers teammate.,What’s odd is that Kyrie nugget was buried at the bottom of Bucher’s column on the Davis trade request.,Davis demanded a trade from New Orleans on Monday, and if the Pelicans deal him before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, the Celtics would have to sit out the sweepstakes if Irving isn’t part of the deal due to the NBA’s “Rose Rule.”,Boston has been long-enamored by Davis and Danny Ainge has the young talent and future draft picks to make an enticing offer this summer, but they may not even get a shot at adding the franchise-altering talent of Davis. read more

On a team featuring LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball and a core of young rising stars, the former Kansas sharp-shooter has no problem being a role player during his rookie year in the NBA.,When Los Angeles took him in the second round of June’s NBA Draft, Mykhailiuk thought he was joining a team that was up-and-coming and could contend in the next few years.,Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham (4) looks to pass against Los Angeles Lakers guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, right, and guard Lance Stephenson in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.,Self wonders if Mykhailiuk’s minutes will drop when James, Rondo and Ball return from injury in the coming months, but it appears the rookie has a secured spot in Walton’s rotation.,The longtime KU coach has sent dozens of players to the NBA during his stint in Lawrence and said given player and personnel, Mykhailiuk has a lot to like about his young career so far.

Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Trey Burke added 16 and the Knicks snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 119-112 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.,Enes Kanter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch as the Knicks pulled away, ending their first win since Dec. 14 on an 11-3 run.,Seven players scored in double figures for New York, including 10 points in the fourth quarter from Mario Hezonja, who also had barely played since mid-December.,TIP-INS

Knicks: Frank Ntilikina played only briefly in the first half before straining his left ankle and sitting out the rest of the game.,SLOW START FOR LA read more