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#pounditTuesday, September 22, 2020

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Video: Twins announcer makes funny mistake with Shane Bieber’s name

Dick Bremer is probably hoping it isn’t too late to say sorry to Shane Bieber.

Before Friday’s game between the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians, the Twins announcer had a funny gaffe. Bremer twice referred to the Cleveland Indians pitcher as “Justin Bieber.” Have a look:

Bremer would eventually correct himself. He also hilariously tried to play off the mistake by intentionally referring to broadcast partner Justin Morneau as “Shane Morneau.”

For Shane Bieber, being mistaken for the Canadian pop singer is certainly nothing new. In fact, he even has a funny nickname that references it. So Bremer can rest easy knowing he didn’t say anything that Shane hasn’t already heard a hundred times before.

Mike D’Antoni hints that James Harden needs to play more aggressively

James Harden

Down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets need James Harden to be more assertive.

Addressing reporters on Friday, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni hinted that the All-Star guard would have to play more aggressively, per Salman Ali of ESPN 97.5. D’Antoni said Harden had the right approach to double teams but added that “there are some times he needs to be a little bit more selfish.”

Harden was mostly invisible in Houston’s Game 4 loss to the Lakers on Thursday, recording just two made field goals. He seems to be struggling with passivity ever since Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup. The Lakers have also done an excellent job on Harden defensively.

The Rockets still believe they can come back to win the series. But for that to even be remotely possible, Harden probably has to go into takeover mode.

Lou Williams files trademark for ‘Lemon Pepper Lou’ name

Lou Williams

Lou Williams is done with running from the recent memes about him. In fact, he has now decided to do the exact opposite.

The LA Clippers guard took to Instagram Wednesday to post a screenshot of an apparent email from his attorney. The email revealed that Williams had successfully filed a trademark for the name “Lemon Pepper Lou.”

“Y’all make jokes and T-shirts, but it’s gonna cost ya lol,” Williams wrote.

“Yep. First time I’ve owned a joke lol,” the former Sixth Man of the Year winner added in a subsequent post.

The trademark filing is an obvious nod to Williams’ scandal earlier in the summer. The veteran guard received permission to leave the Orlando bubble to attend the funeral of a loved one but subsequently made a pit stop at the Magic City strip club in Atlanta. Williams insisted he was only there for the chicken wings and does indeed have a lemon pepper dish named after him on the Magic City menu. Unconvinced though, the NBA gave him a ten-day quarantine upon his return to the bubble.

Now, Williams’ quarantine is long over, and he is back to getting buckets for the Clippers. The team is also now just one win away from making it to the Western Conference Finals, so Williams can afford to have some fun with his past controversy.

Report: Mike Budenholzer’s job with Bucks is safe

Mike Budenholzer

Despite the Milwaukee Bucks’ massive playoff disappointment, the team still appears to be committed to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Thursday that Budenholzer’s job is safe. Budenholzer just finished his second season as Milwaukee’s coach.

While the Bucks had the best record in the NBA during the regular season, their title hopes came to a screeching halt in the second round against the Miami Heat. In a lopsided five-game series loss, Budenholzer was soundly outcoached by Miami counterpart Erik Spoelstra. Budenholzer also drew widespread criticism for being unnnecessarily conservative with his stars.

The story has largely been the same for Budenholzer throughout his head coaching career. His Atlanta Hawks teams were also excellent in the regular season but often flamed out during the playoffs. Still, it looks like the Bucks will give Budenholzer another opportunity to flip the script next season, perhaps with an improved roster.

Report: Sixers eyeing Chris Paul trade

Chris Paul

The Philadelphia 76ers are at a crossroads right now and may try to bring in one of the NBA’s most respected veterans to help solve their woes.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported Wednesday that Sixers front office has seriously debated the idea of chasing Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul. The 35-year-old Paul is under contract for next season with a player option for 2021-22. Thus, Philadelphia would have to trade for him.

Though aging, Paul is coming off a very productive season. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game and led a young Thunder team to a surprise playoff appearance despite low expectations.

It is unclear how Paul’s ball-dominant style might fit next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. But Simmons switched positions before his recent injury. In any event, Paul would be a tremendous get for both his basketball skills and his winning mentality.

Aqib Talib shares great story of Bill Belichick trying to bring him out of retirement

Aqib Talib

Aqib Talib is calling it a career, but he considered returning to his old stomping grounds beforehand.

The veteran cornerback announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 12-year NFL career. As part of his video announcement, Talib revealed that he almost re-signed with the New England Patriots to play one more season. He says Patriots head coach Bill Belichick tried to recruit him.

“My guy, my big homie Bill Belichick called my phone, man, told me that he had the role of a lifetime for me,” said Talib. “He really wanted me to come in and strap tight ends … I was halfway out the door. I got flights. I started finding apartments.

“But then I kinda start going through that schedule [of the Patriots],” Talib continued. “I kinda see [George] Kittle, [Travis] Kelce, [Darren] Waller. So usually when I get in this position, I’m going to a new team, my thoughts are all positive … This time, I looked at this f—ing schedule and I said, ‘Can I even strap these damn tight ends?’ I said, ‘Aw s—,’ it’s over with. Once I said that, once that negative thought crossed my mind, I was like, man, my heart, my competitive edge, like I ain’t really in it like that no more.”

With that type of schedule, it’s no wonder Belichick wanted Talib’s help.

The 34-year-old Talib played for New England for two seasons from 2012 to 2013. He reunited with some of his old Patriots coaches, including Brian Flores, on the Miami Dolphins last season but did not actually play because he was on injured reserve.

Talib finishes his NFL career with five Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl ring. He also walks away from the game as one of its more entertaining personalities of recent years.

Jimmy Butler wears fitting MC Hammer T-shirt after eliminating Bucks

Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat are legit, and Jimmy Butler’s postgame attire was certainly a testament to that.

After officially eliminating the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, the Heat star had a fitting look for his media session. Butler was sporting an MC Hammer T-shirt inspired by Hammer’s 1991 album “Too Legit to Quit.”

Butler is in his first season on a Heat team that few expected to go deep in the playoffs. After a dominating five-game series victory against the NBA-best Bucks, Miami has indeed proven themselves to be too legit to quit.

Butler himself has really been on another level in the bubble. His message for the rest of the league right now might as well be “U Can’t Touch This.”

Billy Donovan reportedly in play for Bulls, Sixers jobs

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan may not have to wait very long at all for his next NBA job.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Tuesday that the Chicago Bulls are expected to have interest in Donovan, who was just let go by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam Amick of The Athletic also adds Donovan is expected to be a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching job as well.

Donovan, 55, had been the coach of the Thunder since 2015. His contract was up, and the two sides decided against an extension. Oklahoma City was coming off a narrow seven-game loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Houston Rockets.

The Sixers have Al Horford, one of Donovan’s old players at the University of Florida. The Bulls do not have any ex-Donovan proteges. But they are a young team who might be a good fit for Donovan’s developmental style. There certainly has to be intrigue for Donovan with either opening.