Next July in London you will see one of these four teams: Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Nigeria or Angola. Probably Angola, by the way, but there have been enough surprises in FIBA AfroBasket — the Olympic qualifying tournament for that continent — that one should keep watching.
Angola hadn’t lost a game to an African team in a decade until it lost to Senegal in group play. That meant as they headed into the elimination round Angola had to go the harder route through Cameroon. It took double overtime, but Angola advanced and will face Nigeria (staring former NBA player Ime Udoka). Cote d’Ivoire — which knocked off Senegal — will face Tunisia (without Hasheem Thabeed, who is not playing for them) in the other semifinal.
The winners will play on Sunday with an automatic berth in the Olympics on the line. The loser of that game and the winner of the bronze medal game will advance to next summer’s second-chance Olympic qualifying tournament against the teams that just missed from other continents.
FIBA Americas — the qualifying tournament of the Americas — starts next Tuesday in Argentina. EuroBasket, both the championship of that continent and the Olympic qualifying event, starts next Wednesday in Lithuania. That will be a tournament to watch.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: