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.

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.

Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer caps incredible Thunder comeback, send Magic game to OT (video)

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The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.

NBA: Timberwolves got away with key late foul in win over Pacers

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Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.

But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.

Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.

Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.

Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.

The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.

Edmond Sumner declares for NBA draft despite torn ACL

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Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.

That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.

Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.

Sumner:

Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:

Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.

Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.

His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.

A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.

But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.

If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.

Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.