Injured Celtics guard Marcus Smart is expected to miss an Aug. 1 exhibition game in South Africa, according to a league source. Smart dislocated two fingers in his right hand on Thursday night. Smart, Evan Turner, and coach Brad Stevens were to be among a contingent of NBA players and coaches taking part in the first NBA game played in Africa. But Smart will now stay in Boston as his fingers heal. Smart has not been available to speak to reporters since suffering the injury. One source said the guard is disappointed about missing the game in Africa but relieved that his injury is not more serious.
Gregg Popovich will coach the home team, while brothers Pau and Marc Gasol will play for the World Team in the NBA’s first game in Africa. Popovich, the five-time champion from the San Antonio Spurs, will guide Team Africa in the Aug. 1 game in Johannesburg, the league announced Thursday. He will be assisted on the bench by Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer, the NBA Coach of the Year and his former assistant with the Spurs, and Oklahoma City assistant Monty Williams. The World Team will be coached by Brooklyn’s Lionel Hollins, with Boston’s Brad Stevens as an assistant. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers will serve as captain for the team of: Pau Gasol (Bulls), Marc Gasol and Jeff Green (Memphis), Bradley Beal (Washington), Kenneth Faried (Denver), Marcus Smart and Evan Turner (Boston) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando).
Boris Diaw was born and raised in France, the son of national women’s basketball standout Élisabeth Riffiod. But his immediate roots stretch all the way to Senegal in Africa, where his father Issa Diaw was an elite high jumper before moving to study and compete at France’s national sports institute. Diaw has returned to those roots this summer with his participation in the SEED Project to help launch Senegal’s only girls high school basketball and academic academy. In addition to participating in various camps and practices, Diaw has taken the time to visit his dad, a lawyer who was recently elected mayor of his ancestral hometown of Mpal, and take in the splendor of the African countryside. Diaw, a noted photography buff, is chronicling his adventures via Instagram.