Throughout the games, multiple players, from Jayson Tat…

Throughout the games, multiple players, from Jayson Tatum to Bradley Beal, have been staring down the officials following no-calls as they’re accustomed to receiving touch fouls or star-treatment officiating in the NBA. In the first half on Monday, Tatum was called for an offensive foul on a drive when he slightly nudged the defender aside with his right hand to create separation. It was a move that’s consistently ignored in the NBA. And Team USA has yet to attempt knocking the ball off the rim after it’s clanking around, a method that’s allowed in FIBA play but ruled a goaltend in the NBA.

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Nigeria and Australia have had a few weeks of practice, opposed to Team USA only practicing two and a half days to this point. And Australia consists of a nucleus that has played together for several years. Team USA is still in a feeling-out period when it comes to playing with each other, and one noticeable observation is that they're still in NBA mode.
The dominant USA basketball teams of the past were defensive nightmares for opponents. There was an emphasis centered on aggressive full-court pressure and traps to ignite the offense. As talented as they were offensively, they were even better defensively. Australia shot 52.9% from the field and outscored Team USA in the paint 44-24. This version of Team USA has lacked aggression on defense, aside from Draymond Green. Head coach Gregg Popovich has stated players are still rounding into shape, so applying immense full-court pressure is probably not the best course of action at this stage.
The scrutiny is warranted, but there are factors in play that can’t be disregarded. Once the team is fully acclimated to the new rules and officiating, once they’re equipped with more practice time and once the entire roster is in place, then we’ll be able to thoroughly evaluate the team and Popovich. But make no mistake about it, through two exhibition games, there is cause for concern.
So a reporter asked Damian Lillard about it after the loss to Australia. But Gregg Popovich didn’t like it one bit. They got into a heated exchange in the press conference and things got pretty awkward. “The reporter: I know coach has been preaching about how much better the world has gotten over the years…what’s it like having watched some of your colleagues go through some of these tournaments and blow these teams out and now you’re having a much different, much closer and tougher experience? Pop didn’t like that one bit. After Lillard answered the question, he went off. “Popovich: You asked the same sort of question, the same family of question the last time, where you assume things that are not true. Where you just mentioned blowing these teams out. That’s never happened. I don’t know where you get that.”
The reporter interjected to defend the questioning, but it wasn’t caught on mic. Pop didn’t appreciate that either. “Popovich: Are you going to let me finish my statement or not? So you’ll be quiet now, while I talk. And then I’ll listen to you. When you make statements in the past about blowing out these other teams, number one, you give no respect to the other teams. I talked to you last time about the same thing. We’ve had very close games against four or five countries in all of these tournaments. So, the good teams do not get blown out. There are certain games that might happen…where somebody gets blown out. But in general, nobody is blowing anybody out with the good teams. So when you make a statement like that, you assume that’s what’s going on. And that’s incorrect.”
And for quite probably the first time in 29 years of NBA players suiting up for the national team, there was a smattering of boos when a game ended – on home soil, no less. Patty Mills scored 22 points and Australia held the US without a field goal for the final 4:34 on the way to beating the Americans 91-83 on Monday night, dropping the three-time defending Olympic gold medalists to 0-2 in their five-game slate of exhibitions leading up to the Tokyo Games. “We’re not satisfied. we’ve got a long way to go,” Mills told ESPN afterward. “We can still get a lot better. But defense is where we’re going to hang our hat this whole campaign.”
It was a better showing than the loss to Nigeria on Saturday, but just reading those words is a little mind-boggling considering the pedigree of this roster and coaching staff. Their chemistry and execution, particularly in late-game situations, is holding the Americans back in their early stages of defending their title. "I thought we got better tonight," said Team USA coach Gregg Popovich, continuing his stance of emphasizing process over results. "After a short time together, there's a lot of things that have to be covered."
“In the first half we defended the way we wanted to defend,” Popovich said. “We were more physical, we sustained the defense longer, we rebounded better, we moved the ball better and had more pace. In the second half we tired out and when that happens you get hit mentally a little bit too. So we have some guys that have to get our legs and rhythm back, but in general we need more conditioning and that’s totally understandable.”
“We are still working at becoming a team, getting our legs under us and getting in shape,” said Lillard, whose 22 points and six 3s led the Americans. “In the second half, we tired out,” Popovich said. “And when that happens, you get hit mentally a little bit, too. We didn’t sustain the boards the same way, the defense wasn’t the same, our pace wasn’t the same, so we got some guys that have to get their legs and rhythm back, but in general, we need more conditioning, which is totally understandable.”
But Ingles, who scored 17 points in Team Australia’s 91-83 win over Team USA on Monday night in Las Vegas, soberly stating that the Aussies held no fear or doubt that they would beat this team of American stars is certainly the latest in a growing number of “stop you in your tracks” moments when it comes to USA Basketball. “No disrespect to them. They’re a hell of a team, obviously, the guys they’ve got on their roster,” Ingles said. “And Pop (Gregg Popovich) standing up there is always nice to see. But we came in here expecting to win the game, and that’s what we did.”
Ja Morant: what's going on wit team usa 👀 wasn't watching
Brown says the Miami Heat rookie is a special talent: "He is extremely important to this program. There is no ceiling to how good he can be. "As a young guy, you see the talent, you see the determination, you see the intelligence, you see the physical and mental toughness, you see the athleticism, the length, the quickness. You see all those things, and when he puts them all together, he is a dynamite on the floor, even as a young guy. "It's just a matter of him understanding how he can utilize all those attributes every single second he is on the floor. He is still learning and that is why I say he is not even close to touching his ceiling.
Observers of Team USA’s practices and one game (which, yes, was a disaster) say pairing Green with Damian Lillard will allow the Americans to run “Curry s---,” or in proper English, the plays and actions the Warriors designed for Stephen Curry on offense. Green can distribute the ball at the top of the key and use his body for screens that Lillard can slip off of for 3s or quick darts to the rim. But where he will make his mark in his journey for a second gold medal is, of course, on defense. Team USA’s next exhibition game is at 8 p.m. Monday against the Australians. “Obviously, everyone always wants to beat (the) USA and we understand that,” Green said. “So to go and defend our country in the way that we can is always an honor.
In that famed summer of 1980, while Pinckney, Ewing and Mullin previewed their future dominance in the Big East down in Honesdale, a scrawny unknown kid with a forgettable name had coaches in Pittsburgh asking the same question over and over: Who the hell is Mike Jordan? While his peers scrambled, Roy Williams positioned himself at each of Jordan’s stations, grinning like a Cheshire cat. Weeks earlier, Williams, then just a second-year assistant to Dean Smith, spied Jordan at North Carolina’s own camp, mesmerized not just by the player’s obvious skill but his commitment. He wasn’t entirely an unknown commodity. Bill Guthridge watched him in a high school game earlier but wasn’t quite sure about him. He’d only shot jump shots that night, and so Guthridge couldn’t vouch for Jordan’s athleticism. The staff decided to extend an invite to their summer camp, so they could evaluate him a little more and get an early inside track.
At the Carolina camp, Williams worked at Carmichael Gym, where players would come in groups of 20 in the afternoon for 30-minute runs of pickup. Jordan not only asked to stay an extra session, but after hoofing it the mile or so back to the Granville Tower dorms once his extra time ended, he walked all the way back in the Carolina heat to play again. That night Williams and fellow assistant Eddie Fogler sat around talking about players they liked that day. “I’ll never forget this,’’ Williams says. “I looked at Eddie and said, ‘I just saw the best 6-4 player I’ve ever seen.’’’ Fogler thought Williams was crazy. Jordan’s name didn’t appear anywhere on Street & Smith’s top 650 players. Fogler watched Jordan for himself the next day, as did Smith. “From then on, Coach Smith had breakfast or lunch with Michael every day,’’ Williams says with a laugh. When camp ended, Williams asked Jordan’s high school coach, Clifton Herring, about Jordan’s summer plans.
That summer in Pittsburgh, Brendan Malone, then a Syracuse assistant who would go on to be an NBA head coach, had to rush home after his wife was involved in a moped accident. He entrusted his pick to Konchalski, telling him to take Aubrey Sherrod, the stud guard out of Kansas. Instead after watching the games, he selected Jordan. “Who the f--- is Mike Jordan?” Malone exploded, upon returning to camp to see his team. “By the end of the week they handed out five individual awards,’’ Williams says. “He got all five of them.’’
Wanna have the same Olympic gold medal as Michael Jordan?! A player from the Team USA hoops squad in 1984 is parting ways with their memento ... and it can be yours if you have a huge chunk of change lying around!! This medal is from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, when Team USA -- coached by college legend Bob Knight -- dominated with Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Sam Perkins and Wayman Tisdale!!
The team whooped 8 teams before receiving their medals and now one of them will be up for sale ... and it's expected to go for over $70k!! The medal will be on the market with RR Auction ... and it still has all the fine details --- "XXIII Olympiad, Los Angeles 1984" inscribed on the front and "Basketball, Men" on the side plus the image of the Coliseum.
“Rebounding is a problem,” Popovich said, though he was suggesting it wasn’t as big a problem as it might have felt. If I quoted him, it would only confuse you — he was trying to say he thought Team USA had been outrebounded by more than 12. Twelve is a huge difference, especially with Durant and Green and Adebayo and Tatum and even Kevin Love on the roster (Love had one rebound and three fouls in three forgettable minutes). Durant shot 4-of-17, and Beal was 1-of-7. Lillard was 4-of-10. Tatum was 4-of-7 for 15 points with seven boards, and he opined that the Americans were still getting used to each other on offense and needed to move the ball and create more shots for each other instead of reversing to isolation.
Team USA suffered a stunning and sobering defeat in its first exhibition game before the Olympics, getting outplayed by Nigeria in a 90-87 loss Saturday night. Coming into the game the Americans had been 54-2 in exhibition games since professionals started playing in 1992, and just nine years ago beat Nigeria by 83 points in the London Olympics. Five years ago, Team USA beat Nigeria by 43 points in an exhibition.
Nigeria has seven current NBA players, and that talent showed, particularly in its physical defense and 3-point shooting. But the Americans started five All-NBA players and were unable to deliver against a team that appeared to play more together, a common challenge in international competition. "In a way I'm kind of glad it happened," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. "It means nothing if we don't learn from it. It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us. To learn lessons from this."
"I don't think anyone should act, nor will we act, like this is the end of the world," Popovich said. "It's about everyone else deserves a lot of credit, and we have to play our ass off to do this." Nigeria made 20-of-42 3-pointers, repeatedly passing its way through Team USA rotations while racking up 21 assists. Guard Gabe Vincent, who plays for the Miami Heat and goes by Gabe Nnamdi when playing for Nigeria, made 6-of-8 3-pointers and finished with 21 points. Caleb Agada, who plays in the Israeli league and is soon to play summer league with the Denver Nuggets, scored 17 points off the bench.
The Athletic: Precious Achiuwa denied KD's dunk attempt 👀 🎥 @NigeriaBasket pic.twitter.com/Dw7eheqo0L

http://twitter.com/TheAthleticNBA/status/1414024802562547716
Rob Schaefer: Looks like Zach LaVine turned his left ankle contesting a 3-pointer. Checked out of game and walked off to locker room under own power with slight hitch in step.
Joe Vardon: First two off the bench for Team USA: Draymond Green and Jerami Grant. Keep in mind that Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are not here
"I want to be one of the best defenders on the team," Beal said. That impressed Fraschilla, who coached college teams like St. John's and New Mexico before joining ESPN as an analyst in 2003. "Bradley said yesterday during the media conference he wants to be a defensive stopper, which is great," Fraschilla told NBC Sports Washington. "It's also nice to know that Bradley Beal can go out and get 30 in a FIBA game, which he can. His role is going to be one of seven or eight guys who are going to get a lot of playing time, very interchangeable. I expect him to have a huge impact on this USA Basketball team."
“Every chance that I can get that I’m healthy and my mind’s in the right place to play basketball, I’m going to go out there and play,” Durant said. “Finished the year off healthy, the regular season and the playoffs, so I felt it would be cool to get, I guess, a kickstart on next season by getting in shape a little earlier in the summer with Team USA.” Said Green: “I had no doubt in my mind that he was playing. I’m sure everyone tried to talk him out of it. Coming off an Achilles injury, all of the minutes played in the playoffs, had some injuries throughout the playoffs. What I knew, in knowing Kevin, you were going to talk him out of playing as opposed to talking him into playing. He just love hoopin’, that’s what he lives for.”
Nigeria have announced a 16-man training camp roster in advance of a trio of exhibition games in Las Vegas, where D'Tigers will face the United States on Saturday, Argentina on Monday, and Australia on Tuesday. The 16-man roster features eight active NBA players, namely Precious Achiuwa (Miami Heat), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings), Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Detroit Pistons), Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Heat), Miye Oni (Utah Jazz) and Gabe Vincent (Heat). Additionally, Michael Gbinije and Ekpe Udoh also have experience in the NBA.
Competing in the Olympics is a massive achievement for any player. It's a particularly notable one for Grant, who was the 39th pick in 2014. Less than a year ago, he was a high-level role player with the Nuggets, a distant third option behind Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. His three-year, $60 million contract last fall with the Pistons was considered an overpay by many critics. It's now a steal. "I was blessed when I got the call," Grant said. "It was an honor. I love to play the game, that's why I’m here. I was excited. I told my family, everyone was excited for me. This is going to benefit me, being around a group of guys that are this talented, being able to pick up the little things that they do, watching their movements and observing, things like that. It only can help me for my future."
Curry has won a pair of gold medals playing for Team USA in the world championships but was unable to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because he was recovering from knee and ankle injuries. "There's always that itch to play and play on the biggest stage like the Olympics, but it just wasn't the right thing for me and the right time," Curry said.
As the rumors swirl ahead of a possible Miami Heat offseason makeover, Tyler Herro is hoping to make a stand. As a stronger presence on the court. And as a strong advocate of coach Erik Spoelstra. Working under Spoelstra this week as a member of USA Basketball’s Select Team during pre-Olympic training in Las Vegas, the second-year guard said he views the experience as a bonding moment.
“I think it’s unique because I’m able to just continue to build a strong relationship with coach Spo,” Herro said. “I plan on playing with him for a while, and that’s my plan. I hope that happens. “So I continue to just build a strong relationship with him. I think this experience for both of us is big.”
Basketball champion Patty Mills will become the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag into an Olympic Games opening ceremony when he marches alongside swimming star and fellow flag-bearer Cate Campbell in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics mark the start of a new tradition, with every nation to be led out by both a female and male flag-bearer.
But Team USA coach Gregg Popovich would have stopped at nothing to change the Nets star’s mind. “Well, first of all, if he said ‘no,’ I would have begged, cried, anything I could to change his mind,” Popovich said Tuesday during the first day of Team USA camp. “That’s pretty obvious. But what it says about him, number one, is that he loves the game. He really loves to play basketball. He loves to win. He loves the camaraderie. “He wants to be part of this all the time, as we all know. And that’s his motivation at the core. That’s what he loves to do. And luckily for all of us, that’s who he is. So it’s a testament to his character and just desire to be part of a team and have a challenge and seek the success.”
Mike Finger: On first day with US Olympic team, Gregg Popovich is asked if he thinks some of his guys will be talking to each other about forming new super teams. “It’s none of my business,” he says.
Tim Reynolds: Pop says USA Basketball has brought in extra bodies - not just the select team - to supplement for the players who are missing from training camp. Olympians Khris Middleton, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday are not in Vegas for camp. (They couldn't get time off from work, apparently.)
Schroder didn’t suit up for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split, but now wants to be part of the final roster that will travel to Tokyo. “If there is a possibility, then that would be great. I’m always available, but my situation is not that easy. But I hope we can sort that out by then. My agent has to do his job now. The German national team has done its job, let’s see,” Schröder told German outlet Zeit Online, via Silver Screen and Roll.
Italy beat Serbia in the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday to advance to Tokyo’s Olympics and coach Meo Sachetti has named his 12-man squad for Tokyo, which will include Atlanta Hawks star Danilo Gallinari. The “Azzurri” will meet in Rome on July 12 and will leave for Japan on July 16. Their first game at the Olympics is scheduled for July 25 against Germany.
Among 79 qualifiers (those who played NBA seasons before and after the Games), players missed an average of 4.3 more games following the Olympics. And that doesn’t include the 76 games Paul George missed after breaking his leg in a 2014 national team scrimmage. While some injuries (Chris Mullin’s sprained thumb, Kevin Love’s broken hand) might not be attributed to the rigors of added practice, games and travel following an 82-game NBA season (plus playoffs), others could be.
From the panel of the post-game presser, the experienced forward referred to his national team's failure to qualify for the big event by using strong language. "If I don't say it's a big shame the way we lost the game, I will lie to you. I wasn't ready to play today. I don't think that's important," Bjelica uttered at the beginning. "We played like shit, and the better team won tonight. With this attitude, we can't play basketball. I don't want to talk about pressure, but if you're not 100 percent here, you cannot win. I can apologize to our people. Our attitude has to change. I'm happy to be part of this team. In five years, we'll be gone. Talent can't win you games in this type of tournament. I will take responsibility as a player," the 33-year-old added.
Chris Grenham: Jayson Tatum has been working out in Miami of late in preparation for the Olympics. He and the rest of Team USA will soon report to Las Vegas ahead of their exhibition schedule. The first of five exhibition games is July 10 at 8pm ET vs Nigeria. All five games will be on NBCSN.
Luka Doncic with his usual dominance in Slovenia’s victory against Venezuela in the semifinal of the Kaunas Pre-Olympic. The Slovenian star ended the game with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 13 assists, one step away from yet another triple-double. In the post-match Doncic confirmed his enormous love for the Slovenian national team, declaring that he would prefer gold at the Olympics to an NBA title with the Mavs.
“I would say the gold medal with Slovenia, you play for your country and it’s something really, really special. But I wouldn’t mind both of them …”. Slovenia will face Lithuania (who just defeated Poland) in the final tomorrow. “It would be amazing. It would be a dream to be in the Olympics. Not just me, I think the whole federation of Slovenia and the whole country. They really cheer for us and I hope we get to that.”
Marc Stein: Luka Doncic is one win away from a spot in the Olympics. Slovenia must beat Lithuania in Kaunas ... winner goes to Tokyo. Two more Sunday games with a Tokyo berth on the line: Germany/Brazil in Croatia and Serbia hosting Italy. Canada, still two wins away, plays this afternoon.
Luka Doncic: Sniper

https://twitter.com/FIBA/status/1411336855329574913
In fact, according to a recent report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Lillard played a big role in Tatum’s decision to join Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Lillard was also in communication with Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum, who put off his decision on Team USA for some time after the season ended to evaluate his offseason priorities. Tatum was on the 2019 World Cup team that finished a disappointing seventh, in part because Tatum sprained his ankle in pool play. When it was clear how the team was shaping up, Tatum’s uncertainty faded and he committed, sources said.
Tom Orsborn: Rather than make Keldon Johnson available to media, #Spurs released a video of him answering questions posed by a staffer. Here's what he had to say about his approach to facing Team USA: "I'll go at them...It's basketball - I've got to go at them. That's just who I am."
Steve Popper: The official release from USA Basketball. pic.twitter.com/b2jfjiWygn

http://twitter.com/StevePopper/status/1410647923923337219
Luka Doncic: 🇸🇮🇸🇮 pic.twitter.com/fEt88h6CU0

http://twitter.com/luka7doncic/status/1410645009016229891
Jerry Colangelo ON KEVIN DURANT: “This guy is a very, very special individual in my opinion. … He’s always had this great enthusiasm, for playing USA basketball, for playing the game of basketball. He’s been in my opinion a real warrior, I love the guy as a player, I love him as a person, and the fact he stepped up to commit himself as he did didn’t surprise me. I was very very pleased because he’s a very very important part of our potential success.”
Eric Koreen: Turkey beats Czech Republic 87-70, locking up first place in its group in the Victoria OQT. That means Canada will play winner of Czech/Uruguay in Saturday’s semi, while Turkey plays winner of China/Greece.
Fans of Team USA should not expect to see LeBron James wearing red, white and blue again, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin on Wednesday. "You know, Father Time takes its toll," Colangelo said of the 36-year-old star. "... If you're a human being, your body is built to go so long depending on what your sport is, and then it's a downhill situation. LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he's got a lot of things going on in his life. So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over."

http://twitter.com/luka7doncic/status/1410286490379300878
Devin Booker may arrive in Tokyo for the upcoming Summer Olympics right before Team USA starts competing for the gold medal. No problem. "Booker called me maybe a month ago to express his great desire to be a part of the Olympics and I knew that just because of the relationship," said Team USA director Jerry Colangelo during Monday's Zoom media interview. "I didn't have to say a word. He said, 'If we get to the finals and we go all the way, I'll be on the plane the next day and I'll be there. It doesn't matter.' When you're young, you can think that way."
According to Team USA Director Jerry Colangelo, he initially thought Paul was out before the Suns veteran told him he is reconsidering it. The sports executive then shared that he waited for CP3’s decision until the 36-year-old caught COVID-19 during the 2021 playoffs. Per Colangelo, Paul’s positive COVID-19 test “knocked him out” and they just had to move on as they built the roster that will represent the nation in the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Boomers teammate Patty Mills echoed Coach Goorjian’s support for Simmons. “As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is ok.” said Mills. “This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. We are team-mates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have." “The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey."
Storyline: Olympic Games
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September 25, 2021 | 4:02 pm EDT Update

Not facing Sixers fans a factor in Ben Simmons trade request?

NBA Central: Brian Windhorst says Ben Simmons playing in front of Sixers fans is a ‘factor’ in him wanting out of Philadelphia “He doesn’t want to be in front of those fans. …I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again.” (Via @Sirius XM NBA ) pic.twitter.com/Ltt0ccwARf
This rumor is part of a storyline: 301 more rumors
Here’s the deal … Jeffrey was at Casa Amigos bar in Scottsdale when he “fell and hit his head,” according to police. They say Jordan then became combative with security who were attempting to escort him out of the bar to receive medical attention. Scottsdale PD, who were in the area for an unrelated call, were summoned to assist. Cops interviewed bar staff, and eventually deemed the incident “medical in nature,” not criminal. An ambulance was called to transport JJ to a hospital.