FIBA World Championships Day 2:Close calls for top teams, except the USA

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Turkoglu_Turkey.jpgNo huge upsets on day two, but top teams continue to struggle while the USA continues to cruises.

Lithuania 70, Canada 68: The Canadians were up 17 points in the second half but succumb to the physical play of Lithuania late and have fallen to 0-2 in the tournament.

Tomas Delininkaitis had a big second half for Lithuania, while now Toronto Raptor Linas Kleiza had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Lithuania has Spain on tap and the winner will have the inside track on Group D (although don’t tell 2-0 France that, they think they have a chance(.

Argentina 74, Australia 72: Australia controlled this game and led most of the way but could never quite put Argentina away and paid the price late.

Patrick Mills — the Portland Trail Blazers pick — had 21 points to lead the Aussies, but the star of the game was Luis Scola who finished with 31 and had six straight points at a key moment to bring Argentina back in this one.

Germany 82, Serbia 81 (2OT): This one was close the whole way, with swings of momentum but neither team able to convert momentum into big leads.

In the second overtime it was Jan Jagla and Demond Greene whose defense really gave Germany the win (plus Jagla hit a beautiful fade away with a minute left).

Spain 101, New Zealand 84: The final score is deceptive here. After their loss to France, Spain came out slow and New Zealand hung through the entire first half.

Juan-Carlos Navarro (18 points) and Rudy Fernandez (12 points) led the way for Spain, who now face a key game against Lithuania Tuesday.

Greece 83, Puerto Rico 80: This game was insanely close the entire way, with 22 lead changes taking place. It was Vasileios Spanoulis that really gave the Greeks the win, scoring 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter.

In other scores: Turkey 65, Russia 56; Brazil 80, Tunisia 65; France 86, Lebanon 59; Croatia 75, Iran 54; Angola 79, Jordan 65; China 83, Ivory Coast 73.

Here’s the best highlights from the Celtics’ 15-game winning streak (VIDEO)

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The Boston Celtics are on a roll, the likes of which not even the faithful fans at the TD Garden would have predicted.

After dropping their first two games of the season — and losing Gordon Hayward for the season due to a gruesome leg injury — the Celtics have ripped off 15 straight victories. They sit at 15-2 on the year, including signature wins over the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, and defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Boston’s effort has been lauded as the combination of a quick meshing of the roster in the absence of Hayward (and Isaiah Thomas) as well as the drafting skill of Danny Ainge and the coaching prowess of Brad Stevens.

Indeed, Stevens is an early frontrunner heading into the beginning of the holiday season for Coach of the Year.

Meanwhile, Boston has a few highlights to their name. Lucky for us, the NBA has put some of the best video clips together during their fall run.

Watch the full video above.

Blake Griffin gets Flagrant 1 for kicking Jae Crowder in the crotch (VIDEO)

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Blake Griffin almost got away with it.

During Friday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Griffin gave Cavs forward Jae Crowder an unhelpful knee to the groin during a post isolation.

Griffin wasn’t whistled for anything on the play, and in fact Crowder was assessed a foul after Griffin made his move to the basket.

Now, the NBA has given Griffin a Flagrant 1 for unnecessary contact.

Via Twitter:

Video of the incident can be viewed above the article here, but it’s pretty egregious and indeed the Cavaliers announcers even suggested at the time that it might warrant a flagrant.

Looks like the NBA agreed.

Cleveland beat LA, 118-113, in OT.

Jeff Hornacek on Knicks standing up to LeBron: “I thought it was great”

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LeBron James totally dissed New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. Or maybe he was just complimenting Dennis Smith Jr., and Enes Kanter likes to get in the middle of things? Or perhaps it was a barely-veiled shot at former Knicks president Phil Jackson?

No matter which way you view this little NBA drama, there’s some kind of silver lining to take away for New York after LeBron got a little too close for comfort with Ntilikina during a recent matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, that silver lining is how well Ntilikina, Kanter, and the rest of the squad did when standing up to James.

Via the NY Post:

“I thought it was great,’’ he said on the newest edition of “The Jeff Hornacek Experience” that debuts Friday night on MSG Networks after the Knicks face the Raptors. “When we played back in the day, there was a lot of that. So you don’t see as much now in today’s game.

“But, you know, whether the comments from LeBron were aimed at Frank or the Knicks or Phil [Jackson] or whatever it was, I was happy that Frank gave him a little shove and then when LeBron stood in front of him and Enes jumped in there. That’s kind of the chemistry that gets developed when guys are playing for each other. You saw Enes jump right in the middle of this and said, ‘Nah you’re not gonna do this to my young guy.’ So that’s a great sign to see the togetherness of our guys.”

So to recap:

1. LeBron was taking a shot at Phil.
2. Enes Kanter didn’t like that.
3. Jeff Hornacek likes that.

Clear? Ok, good.

The Warriors really had an eye on Joel Embiid’s trash talking (VIDEO)

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Joel Embiid has a reputation around the league already, and for good reason.

The man who continuously lobbied Rihanna to give him a chance for a date has other NBA players hoping they beat the Philadelphia 76ers just to avoid Embiid’s trash talking.

Indeed, the Golden State Warriors beat Philly on Saturday night, 124-116, thanks in part to a huge rally in the second half. A 22-point deficit had to be overcome for Golden State, and not just to add to their win column.

The team also wanted to sidestep Embiid’s silver tongue:

Both Draymond Green and Kevin Durant said they wanted to keep Embiid at bay. Durant’s comment was particularly funny, and can be seen in the video at the top of the article (fair warning, Durant used some NSFW language).

The Process is now The Reputation.