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Jorge Sierra: Major upset at the World Cup: Argentina, without a single NBA player, beats a Serbian NT with Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica and Boban Marjanovic. The Serbians won their first four games of the tournament by an average of 40.7 points. Life comes at you fast.
Playing significant minutes at power forward in Tatum's place and even playing occasionally at center, Brown's flexibility and intensity have been a needed injection. "I feel like I'm not a position player, I'm a basketball player. 4-3-2, whatever coach needs me to do, I will make the adjustment," Brown said. "Obviously with Jayson out, there's a little more opportunity and maybe it was a little more visible. But every time I take the floor, I want to be aggressive."
Brown is sometimes quiet, but he's not meek. That attitude has been positive this summer. "Chemistry is built when you hit adversity together and you've got to push through it," Brown said. "We've been challenged multiple times on this trip. We started Aug. 4 and now it's Sept. 10. We've seen a lot together."
Stadium:Good news for the Celtics and USA Basketball, per NBA Insider @ShamsCharania: Jayson Tatum has a strong chance to make his return for Team USA in quarterfinals against France on Wednesday.

"We're thrilled that we qualified for the Olympics," said San Antonio Spurs mastermind Popovich, whose team will now face France on Wednesday in the World Cup quarter-finals. "With this new situation of qualifying, you don't want to have to do that every year. So it's a pretty big grind," said the 70-year-old.
Many journalists, especially from the USA, reacted negatively to Thanasis Skourtopoulos resting the Greek Freak in the fourth quarter against Team USA, and on Monday after failing to qualify to the quarter-finals, he addressed the criticism he’s faced. “If we had the opportunity to set up a team from the start for Giannis… I constantly read comments online saying why the Greek national team doesn’t play like the Bucks, and I don’t know how to react. We’re not the Bucks; it’s that simple. We don’t need to say anything else”, he said.
Skourtopoulos, 54 also talked about the differences there are between the way Milwaukee uses him and the situation in the national team: “The Bucks are a well-structured team with Giannis as a centerpiece. We are a team that also has Antetokounmpo as a centerpiece, but with some players around him who have their own personality, and value and they are also a big part of the team.”
Joe Vardon: Greece beats the Czech Republic, which guarantees the Americans a spot in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinal. However, due to tie breaker rules, the Czechs are in good position to make it, too. Just need a win by USA over Brazil
Vasilije Micic may not be available for Serbia’s clash with Argentina, due to the passing of his mother on Monday (09/09). The player’s club, Anadolu Efes, announced the sad news earlier today. It is likely that Micic will leave China and will return to Serbia to attend the funeral of his mother.
Joel Rush: After not getting a foul call on a Marc Gasol and Juancho Hernangomez trap, Nikola Jokic yells at the ref, and gets ejected from the game. #FIBAWC #SerbiaSpain

ESPN Stats: Despite the win, Team USA's 69 points today are the team's fewest in a FIBA World Cup game since 1998. It's their fewest in a FIBA World Cup victory since NBA players began participating in the FIBA World Cup in 1994.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo had to be separated from members of Team USA after a controversial foul triggered emotions at the FIBA World Cup on Saturday night.
The teams didn't have the traditional postgame handshake. USA coach Gregg Popovich gathered his team on the floor to allow the Greeks to leave so the two teams wouldn't meet in the tunnel. "Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me," Jaylen Brown said. "But we've got bigger fish to fry. So we move on."
The Americans were angered not just by the foul but also because Thanasis Antetokounmpo didn't initially apologize for the perceived cheap shot, which happened right in front of the U.S. bench. "The [no apology] escalated it," Marcus Smart said. "At that moment, you've got to take it for what it is. Regardless of whether you feel like it was wrong or right, it was wrong."
Giannis Antetokounmpo was not used in the fourth quarter of the game between the USA and Greece, but he was not benched. As Greek coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos clarified after the game: “It was a decision we took jointly with Giannis. We wanted to protect him and rest as we did with other players of our main rotation. We have a big game coming on Monday, and this is the most important thing for us now”.
Donatas Urbonas: Dainius Adomaitis when asked why three South American referees worked in a game where two great European teams played: "Thank you! Thank you for this question! You don't have to be very smart for this: just give us three European referees! But you should ask this FIBA."
Kevin O'Connor: Greece has no clue how to use Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly as well as the Bucks do. And Giannis not playing a single minute in the fourth quarter is an absolute joke. We got robbed watching Giannis on this team.
Mike Ganter: Nick Nurse with some strong words on Canada’s inability to attract available talent: “I think the biggest thing is we need an introduction, some of the guys need an introduction to the national team, right? I think the guys who are here right now have all played a little bit, continue to grow as they stay together, but some of the guys we need to see, I dunno, I guess they need to find out why or why not they’re gonna play or commit to playing.”
Australia defeated the Dominican Republic, 82-76, in 2019 FIBA World Cup Group L action at Nanjing on Saturday. Patty Mills commanded the charge once again putting up a game-high 19 points, also dished 9 assists. Chris Goulding followed with 15 points. Eloy Vargas went for 16 points, Victor Liz scored 14 and Rigoberto Mendoza had 12 for the losing side. “We were not mentally there in the first half” admitted Landale after contributing to the win with 13 points. “The boys really rallied together. Everybody knows it was just an OK performance. I think we will be ready when the time comes.”
John Schuhmann: Marcus Smart will play Saturday vs. Greece. Asked if he would have played Thursday had it been an elimination game, he said, "Definitely." He felt tightness the day after the USA's win over Turkey. "I was just taking more precaution than anything."
Emiliano Carchia: Marco Belinelli (7 points on 3/16 shooting night) takes blame for loss against Spain: I have played an awful game. I take responsibility for that. I am sorry. A big part of that bad game is on me.
Jorge Sierra: Serbia is winning games by an average of 40.7 points so far. That would be the biggest differential in World Cup history, even ahead of 1994 Team USA with Shaquille O'Neal, Dominique Wilkins, Reggie Miller, Alonzo Mourning and several other pretty decent guys.
Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura will miss Japan's final two FIBA World Cup games because of knee discomfort and general fatigue, it was announced. "While everyone had hoped for Rui to finish the World Cup with Team Japan, the Wizards and Japan Basketball believe it is best for Rui to not play the final two games and have a short period of rest before he must start NBA training camp with the Wizards which begins only three weeks from now," the Japanese Basketball Association said in a statement released through the Wizards.
The leader of the German squad Dennis Schroder got some criticism for the failure, especially for the loss against the Dominican Republic, but he doesn’t have a problem with it: “Either I play my game or I do not play at all. I try to put my teammates in the spotlight, I did that today and the last two games. There will always be criticism, I’m built for it, no problem for me”, he said, per Sport1.
Nurse said he intends on playing a bigger recruiting role. It was tough this time around, he said, because he had his hands full with the Raptors' lengthy season. "I think I have got to try and develop some relationships with some of these guys and see where they are at," Nurse said after practice. "But I need more information. I need a better understanding of why or why not? Will they or will they not participate, and why or why not?"
The United States’ matchup against Japan was always expected to be its easiest in the first round of the FIBA World Cup, but Team USA dominated defensively in a 98-45 won over Japan Thursday. The Americans head into the second round undefeated through three games. First-round points carry over into the next round of group play.
Canada’s men’s basketball team finally has a World Cup victory — and some positive momentum in a FIBA World Cup tournament that had been a non-stop narrative of disappointment. Cory Joseph will take it. "It’s always good when there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, that’s always good," the Sacramento Kings guard said.
John Schuhmann: Turkey, after blowing a potential upset over the U.S., is not going to make the 2nd round. Down 12 w/ less than a minute to go vs. the Czech Republic. Those 4 missed FTs at the end of OT on Tuesday hurt more than we thought initially. Huge win for Sato & crew.
“I think we have to learn how the game is officiated,” Harrison Barnes said. “I think there are some plays that we’re kind of used to how the NBA officiates things. We get the ‘no call’ but then at the other end it just looks like we’re fouling every single time. Whether it’s post defense, whether it’s coming off screens. Whether it’s bumping a guy after driving, so there’s a learning curve we’re getting better at, but tonight it was definitely evident.”
Despite a slow start and a bad shooting night, Spain managed to get a 73-65 win over Iran in Group C of FIBA World Cup. Spain won all three of its games so far and stayed at the top of the group while Iran lost all three and finished last. Puerto Rico (2-1) got the better of Tunisia (1-2) earlier today and advanced further. Marc Gasol led the winning side with 16 points while Victor Claver and Juancho Hernangomez added 11 each. The latter also grabbed ten rebounds for a double-double.
Tommy Beer: Through Serbia's first three games in the FIBA World Cup, Nikola Jokic is shooting 83.3% from the field, and is a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point territory. Oh and he leads his team in assists & rebounds. Serbia is undefeated. Their average margin of victory is 40 points per game
Birch sees the positives in taking part in the FIBA World Cup. And unlike most other NBA types he has no one offering up advice, wanted or not. ““I don’t have an agent as of right now, so no,” he said when asked if anyone tried to dissuade him from coming. “Like I said Khem Birch decides Khem Birch’s career. If I get hurt it’s because Khem Birch got hurt and if Khem Birch wants to do something Khem Birch is going to do it.”
“As you can see I’m doing things I have never done in the NBA that I’m getting to do right now,” he said referring to handling the ball and stepping outside to shoot. “That’s what a lot of guys don’t understand. Coach Nurse gives you the confidence and freedom to do whatever you want. Basically everything you want in the system you have here so I’m lucky.”
Mike Ganter: Khem Birch on his decision to play for Canada: “I don’t let anyone dictate my career or anything. I let Khem Birch dictate what he wants to do and Khem Birch decided to play for his country because I want to go to the Olympics.”
SLAM: Can you talk about your role as ambassador and why you wanted to be involved in the World Cup? Dirk Nowitzki: Well, you know, I’m of course sad that my competing days are done. But I still want to help grow the game internationally. I’ve had great success in FIBA competitions and it’s always been fun competing at the highest level, so when they approached me to see if I wanted to do this, of course I was on board. Growing the game internationally, growing the game here in China—there are some amazing fans here—and we have some of the best athletes [here right now for the World Cup], so it should be a fun few weeks. Hopefully we can grow the sport even more.


Coach Aleksandar Petrovic was very proud of his guys including the 39-year-old Alex Garcia who played terrific defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo: “Why this sport is wonderful? On the other side, you have a guy who won the MVP, he’s 23 years old and who stops him tonight?! The guy who is 40 years old and kicks his a** on the court! That’s basketball!”, the coach said while slapping his hand on the table euphorically.
Petrovic also mentioned that he wasn’t worried at all about Giannis, he was afraid of Kostas Sloukas and Georgios Printezis might do: “We showed that we have several players who can stop Antetokounmpo. But yesterday I was more occupied with Sloukas and Printezis and that’s what happened today. When I was preparing this game, a lot of people talked and joked about how to stop Antetokounmpo. I had for six months in my head, since the semifinals between Toronto and Milwaukee, how to stop Antetokounmpo.”
It was expected Team USA was going to face some real tests in the FIBA World Cup, but it wasn't expected they'd have so much trouble passing their first one. A confident and high-energy Turkey, the No. 17-ranked team in the world, gave the Americans a series of heart palpitations before they yanked away a 93-92 victory in overtime.
Khris Middleton gets credit as the hero as he made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to provide the winning points, the last of his team-high 15 points. It wasn't possible until Turkey missed four consecutive free throws (two by Cedi Osman and two by Dogus Balbay) with nine seconds left that could won the game.
The short term is that the Americans advance to the second round of the World Cup, which will start this weekend in Shenzhen. Their 44-game winning streak in World Cup and Olympic play continues.
Tim Bontemps: Jayson Tatum hurt his left ankle in the final seconds of Team USA's win, after making a really nice play to drop the ball off to Khris Middleton on a break for what wound up being a game-winning play. Hopefully it looked worse than it winds up being.

Marc J. Spears: USA Basketball holds on to beat Turkey 93–92 in overtime preliminary action at the @FIBAWC. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum leaves with injury. Respect to Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman and Turkey, who missed some costly free throws late.
Canada's hopes of advancing at the FIBA World Cup died with a 92-69 loss to Lithuania on Tuesday in Dongguan, China. Kyle Wiltjer had 24 points, while Cory Joseph had 15, but the seventh-ranked Lithuanians — who'd routed Senegal by 54 points two nights earlier — were too much for the undermanned Canadians, who are missing all but two of their NBA players in Joseph and Khem Birch.
Former longtime Toronto Raptors forward Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and eight rebounds, while Edgaras Ulanovas led Lithuania with 15 points.
Donatas Urbonas: Jonas Valanciunas on surviving in the group of death: "It's a delicious victory. We feel a relief, but we came here not only to advance. We have to keep this focus and fight for the game vs Australia."
The Dominican Republic came in with quite an upset for the Germans and with their 70-68 victory, they can rest on top of Group G (2-0) and with a ticket to the second round of FIBA World Cup in their hands.
Rui Hachimura scored 21 points with 8/11 two-pointers, but was not enough. Yuta Watanabe had 11 at halftime and ended up with 15, Nick Fazekas notched a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Let’s entertain a conspiracy theory, an old one that usually surfaces at least once a summer during international competition when American NBA players are involved. If Team USA has an off night shooting or gets into a bit of a shooting slump, it’s because of the ball, or so the theory goes. Literally, the ball used in the FIBA World Cup looks and feels different than the one used nightly in the NBA. Joining us to discuss this is the highly qualified Team USA sharpshooter Joe Harris, the reigning NBA 3-point champion who not only led the league with a .473 3-point shooting percentage last season but also won the annual shooting competition over All-Star weekend.
Like a quarterback who fusses over the air pressure of a football, to the point where he might ask the equipment manager to artificially deflate one or two before a game, or a pitcher who balks at a baseball with seams that aren’t raised enough to throw a good curveball, surely Harris will say that, yes, it’s harder to make 3s with one kind of ball for a few weeks after shooting with something totally different all season? “Uh, no. I wouldn’t put anything on the ball,” Harris said.
So when Harris walked into the room, I handed him the two balls. “It looks like it, but it doesn’t feel like an NBA ball,” Harris said about the ball I bought, further deflating me. “This one feels closer to a FIBA ball. … If you’re going to put these basketballs out and guys are going to grab one and shoot around, I would say more people are going to gravitate toward how this one (the FIBA ball) feels.”
“I always try to get my fingers on the seams, if you can or if you have time,” Harris said. “But, for (the FIBA ball), you catch it, even though there are more seams to it, I’m not getting lost on the ball trying to find it.” There are some differences that matter, Harris added. “An NBA ball, when it gets a little bit wet, it gets a little stickier in your hands,” he said. “Whereas this one is more like the ball you might play with in college, where they’re spongier.”
Serbia advanced to the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 on Monday after trouncing Philippines 126-67 in Foshan. Nemanja Bjelica led seven Serbian players who scored 10 points or more, while the Philippines' most important player Andray Blatche had a night to forget, finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds before fouling out.
Spain put Saturday’s triumph over Tunisia behind when they stepped foot on the floor on Monday against Puerto Rico, as they sealed a 73-63 victory, their second in Group C of the tournament that helps them qualify to the second round. Marc Gasol’s experience and dominance helped Sergio Scariolo’s squad get over the tough moments of the game, and the big man finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
The Philippines provided no serious challenge to red-hot Serbia. Sasha Djordjevic’s side strolled to the 126-67 win in 2019 FIBA World Cup Group D action at Foshan on Monday to secure a spot in the second round. Nemanja Bjelica saw action after missing the first game and made 7/7 from the field for 20 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic put up 17 points to include himself among seven players scoring in double digits. Nikola Jokic tallied 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in just 18:45.
Luis Scola moved up to the second spot on the FIBA Basketball World Cup all-time scoring list, overtaking Australia's great Andrew Gaze and trailing only the legendary Brazilian Oscar Schmidt.
Donatas Urbonas: Nick Nurse on Jonas Valanciunas: “More Jonas stories... I obviously love Jonas. But I’m gonna try to kick his ass tomorrow (laughs). I don’t know if there was a guy that I spent as much time with and had a strong long relationship like him.”
Storyline: World Cup
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August 4, 2020 | 8:50 am EDT Update
Spoelstra is almost afraid to say it out loud, but he prefers the polo look. “Pat would be shocked,” Spoelstra said. “There is so much less to think about. I feel more mobile. The thing I hate most about suits is wearing dress shoes.” Several head coaches echoed Spoelstra’s remark about how the casual look simplifies sartorial decision-making — and packing, a constant headache during normal times.
Frank Vogel, head coach of the Lakers, followed the same path out of the video room as Spoelstra. Before his first game as a graduate assistant under Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky, Vogel was scribbling scouting tips on the white board when Pitino approached. “You’re not wearing that, are you?” Pitino asked him. Vogel was wearing his only suit — a graduation gift from his parents. He told Pitino he was going to wear it for each game, and change out shirts and ties to avoid detection. Pitino would not have it. He invited Vogel to his house that night, and gave him 15 suits — Armanis and Brionis — plus the number for his tailor, Vogel recalled.
The coaches’ association has taken periodic polls, mostly recently two seasons ago, and found “overwhelming support” for suits over polos, Carlisle said. Carlisle spent two years as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets under Chuck Daly, perhaps the most fashion-forward head coach in NBA history. Daly had a sponsorship deal with Hugo Boss. On one road trip, he invited Carlisle to a Hugo Boss outlet for a shopping spree. “It was the nicest stuff I had ever had to that point,” Carlisle said.
While not typically a critique levied on the New Orleans Pelicans, a recent story from The Athletic’s Seth Partnow revealed a potential glaring weakness for the franchise. After The Athletic did similar reports for NHL and NFL franchises, Partnow took a look at the size of the analytics departments for each NBA franchise. While Partnow admitted to it likely being an incomplete sample size, the Pelicans not only had the smallest analytics department, they had just one full-time staffer in the department.
Storyline: Pelicans Front Office
August 4, 2020 | 3:02 am EDT Update
He did show off more of a willingness to shoot in the scrimmage games as he was able to knock one down in their scrimmage opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, he took two 3-pointers in that game. The thing is, he hasn’t taken any shots from deep since then. “I went back and studied the game (against the Indiana Pacers),” said coach Brett Brown. “There was one time where I thought ‘Yep, you could’ve fired a perimeter shot’ and it wasn’t even really a three as I remember it. It’s not on my mind like it is everybody else’s. I think he has chewed up space when people sag in. He’s chewed up space and driven in.”
“I do concede when it’s blatantly obvious and he’s spaced out, for instance, we’re posting Joel or Al Horford as an example, and Jo ends up down in that low zone, we can’t have four people on the perimeter,” said Brown. “So there are times where he could grab a corner, sometimes no, sometimes he can be behind a backboard and playing in that dunker spot as I call it, but it’s old news to me, to be truthful. I feel like his head is in a good place to shoot it and produce, but I don’t see it as trepidation or lack of confidence. I don’t see it like that.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, those close to the situation believe the Duke product is clearly not in the right state to play in the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season: “When you watch him play, he clearly is not in condition to compete at the highest level,” said Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast. “As I watched him play two games, I don’t actually think they should have played him at all the way he’s playing. In fact, I talked to a scout who said to me he shouldn’t be out there right in the condition he’s in. He said to me he’s moving worse than he did in Summer League last summer when he got hurt in his first or second game.
One said that the compact comeback could be a true equalizer. Example: Some league insiders see Portland as a threat to upset the Lakers in a first-round series after welcoming back its previously ailing frontcourt pair of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. The other executive, by contrast, described the eight seeding games all teams must play before the postseason as a lengthy runway that will afford the Lakers, the Bucks and the Clippers time to regain their March form.

Chris Smith returning to UCLA

The Pac-12 Conference’s most improved player could become its most valuable. Chris Smith is returning to UCLA for his senior season, putting off the NBA for one more chance to continue his dramatic upward college trajectory. Sean Smith, Chris’ father, made the announcement Monday. “Chris is returning to school due to too much uncertainty on both sides of the coin,” said Sean Smith, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the cancellation of workouts for NBA prospects and a delayed draft. “He’ll finish his degree and work to improve in the areas he needs to improve on.”
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Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert is withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and will return to the Bulldogs for his senior season, putting them in contention to be the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Kispert was a potential second-round pick, ranking No. 47 overall and No. 6 among small forwards in ESPN’s NBA draft rankings. But he, like teammate Joel Ayayi last week, is heading back to Spokane, Washington, to compete for a national championship.
The NBA on Monday announced the launch of an alternate telecast centered on sports betting for select games, the latest broadcast enhancement for the NBA restart. NBABet Stream will feature overlays displaying point spreads and odds, as well as betting analysis, beginning with the Oklahoma City Thunder-Denver Nuggets game Monday. The NBABet Stream broadcast is available on NBA League Pass, NBA TV via the NBA App and NBA.com through the league’s direct-to-consumer subscription product.
As much as he wanted to be with his New Orleans Pelicans teammates, was going back to basketball worth it under those circumstances? Was it wise to spend months away from his family — Lauren pregnant with their second child — during a worsening pandemic? His actions in the past proved that basketball isn’t everything to him, his family is. One night the answer came to them. When it did, it felt so simple. He would play and donate the remainder of his salary this season, about $5 million, to businesses, nonprofits and higher learning institutions that serve the Black community and communities of color.
“There needed to be a reason why I felt it was worth leaving my family and my pregnant wife to go into this bubble,” Jrue said. “I think that gave me a great reason to go back and play, to feel like I’m doing something for my people and this culture. Donating the rest of my contract was kind of the ultimate decision for why I was going.” The newly created Jrue and Lauren Holiday Fund has committed to donate $1.5 million to organizations and businesses in New Orleans, $1 million in Indianapolis where Lauren is from, and $1.5 million in Los Angeles and Compton. An additional $1 million will be given to Black-owned small businesses in 10 U.S. cities and $500,000 will go to historically Black colleges and universities.
August 3, 2020 | 9:38 pm EDT Update
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“So on that play, at replay, Olynyk, we judged that he took an aggressive swipe and he made some contact into the facial area of Kyle Lowry,” Guthrie said in the pool report. “At replay, in my judgement, I felt like that did meet the criteria for a flagrant foul. After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contact really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul. In both of these instances and cases, though, as always, I know that the league office will review them as they always do all flagrant fouls and they’ll make their determinations at the end of the day on what they think they ended up, in their judgement, that it was. But we had our judgments in the live game.”
August 3, 2020 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
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