More bad news for the Lakers

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More bad news for the Lakers

From Comcast SportsNetEL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Pau Gasol was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot Wednesday, indefinitely sidelining the 7-foot Spaniard at a key point in the Los Angeles Lakers' belated rally to get in playoff position.Gasol felt a pop in his foot Tuesday night late in the Lakers' 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. An MRI in Boston revealed the injury.The Lakers (23-26) are losing Gasol right when their mostly miserable season is starting to improve with six wins in seven games, including three straight on their longest road trip of the season. Los Angeles also played the last three games without All-Star center Dwight Howard, who has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and top backup big man Jordan Hill is out for the season with an injured hip."I'm hoping to recover asap so I can be back with the team and keep fighting until the end of the season," Gasol tweeted.Gasol will fly to Los Angeles on Thursday to be examined by team physician Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Kenneth Jung. The Lakers announced they will give a timeline for Gasol's return after the examination, but the injury conceivably could keep Gasol out for several weeks or more if he undergoes surgery to repair the damage.Gasol has been bothered by tendinitis in both knees and fasciitis for at least two months, hindering his progress since shortly after new coach Mike D'Antoni took over. The four-time All-Star big man also missed five games in January with a concussion, and Gasol largely has been coming off the bench for the Lakers since then.Gasol is averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds while playing in just 36 of the Lakers' 49 games.The Lakers finish their seven-game road trip with three games in four days, starting Thursday in Boston and concluding Sunday in Miami. Rookie center Robert Sacre is available to D'Antoni, and Howard isn't certain when he'll return from an injury that's troublesome, but likely manageable.Salary cap-strapped Los Angeles could sign a replacement for Gasol after getting a disabled player's exception last week for Hill, who had season-ending hip surgery. But the pool of available free-agent big men is awfully thin, including Lakers retreads such as Troy Murphy and Brian Cook.

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”