You can go ahead and say the USA’s fortunate win over Brazil put their weaknesses on display for the world and showed why this team will be in trouble against the globe’s other elite squads.
The guys on the team can’t look at it that way. Andre Iguodala has been keeping a diary for the Philadelphia Daily News on his experiences with USA Basketball and he saw the win over Brazil as a good thing.
I think [the win] was really key for our group, knowing that we can get through anything. We were down in the first half but we just kept pushing . . . cut it down little by little . . . We’ve been down in games before . . . were down against Spain in an exhibition game. Those moments help you for those key moments in the important games.
He has to say that. He has to believe it. He can’t think the team he is on is fatally flawed.
And it’s not. Fatally, that is. It is flawed but it can overcome those flaws when it plays good defense. It did that by and large against Brazil, who could not miss early on.
Iguodala has also taken on a Kobe Bryant -like attitude about defense on this team.
I know my role on this team. The main thing is we got the win. All the other stuff doesn’t matter. It only matters what the score is at the end of the game. I had a job, which was to make it tough on [Leandro] Barbosa to score and he had to pull out his best moves to score in the second half.
I’ve known [my role] ever since being a part of the USA Basketball system, knowing that we’re going to have some great scorers. You got the Dwyane Wades and Kobe Bryants and on this team you got the Kevin Durants of the league. I feel like I can fit into any system no matter who I’m playing with. With this group, I feel like I go out there and try to shut down whoever their top scorer is.
His defense and that attitude are the one thing that would get the USA the Gold.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.
Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.
The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.
I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.
That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.
But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.
On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.
To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.
The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.
It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.
TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).
Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.
But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.
So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.
But at least he has that opportunity.
Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.
Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.