Robin Lopez latest to pull out of Team USA

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Thumbnail image for RLopez_dunk.jpgHey you. Yes, you. Want to play center for Team USA at the World Championships?

If another players drops out, your phone just night ring. Center Robin Lopez dropped out just at the start of camp so he could do private rehab on the back injury that kept him from being effective during the playoffs. He joins Amare Stoudemire as last second bailouts, in Amare’s case because the Knicks said they couldn’t get insurance for him (you can decide for yourself how hard they tried).

Chris Tomasson of FanHouse had it first and also talked to Robin’s brother Brook, who is by far the best center left on the roster.

“I think it’s just a precaution. His back is doing fine. Just precuationary.”’

So you’ll see Brook Lopez starting at the five for Team USA, with JaVale McGee and what’s left of Tyson Chandler’s knees as the backups. So, look for Team USA to use some small lineups with David Lee or Kevin Love at the five spot.

There are no players from the 2008 gold medal team in Beijing on the USA Basketball team headed to Turkey for the World Championships.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.