EuroBasket Day Two Roundup: Fear Germany, fear Kaman

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Day two and not a lot of surprises, we’re starting to see the cream separate itself. But there are some big tests out there to come yet.

German 76, Italy 62: This should sound pretty familiar to Mavericks fans — Dirk Nowitzki is always going to be good, the question is how much help will he get. He got it Thursday, with 17 points, 17 boards from Chris Kaman. Italy tried to stay in this with threes, but was just 6-of-25 from deep (24 percent). In a big game Andrea Bargnani  was 3-for-14 shooting, and Raptors fans just nod.

Spain 87, Portugal 73: Spain won for the second day in a row behind Pau Gasol, who dropped 20 and had 9 boards — good news for Lakers fans. Spain won for the second day in a row with Ricky Rubio being basically a no-show (5 points, 4 boards and 2 assists) — look away Timberwolves fans. Spain is now 2-0, but they have yet to be challenged. And that will not change Friday with Great Britian. But tests are coming.

Serbia 92, Latvia 77: Nenad Kristic (you remember him, right Oklahoma City?) led Serbia with 23. He has more offensive game than he got to show off in OKC. Serbia is 2-0 and looking pretty good.

Turkey 90, Great Britain 61: Turkey is 2-0 and I’m trying to read to much into that because it’s two games against not the toughest competition, but they could be good. They have a balanced team. Britain does not, it has Luol Deng, who had 22 points and 8 boards, but he can only do so much himself.

France 85, Israel 68: Tony Parker has 21 points and 8 assists and this is two games in a row that France has had plenty of offense and looked good. France also got an impressive game up front from Boris Diaw.

Russia 65, Georgia 58: This was great because you could feel the rivalry. For the second game in a row Andrei Kirilenko was the best player on the floor and scored 20 points. Zaza Pachulia was 3-for-11 shooting, which held Georgia back.

In other action: Bosnia Herzegovinia 94, Montenegro 86; Bulgaria 68, Belum 65; Greece 81, Finland 61 (Greece is now 2-0); Lithuania 97, Poland 77 (Lithuania is 2-0); Macedonia 78, Croatia 76.

Isaiah Thomas scores 33, Celtics beat Bulls 104-95 to tie series

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CHICAGO (AP) Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 104-95 on Sunday to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all.

Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead.

Gerald Green made four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favor in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home. Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.

Canaan made his first appearance since April 10, with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg searching for help at point guard with Rajon Rondo missing his second straight game because of a broken right thumb.

The Celtics led by 20 in the second quarter and were still up 10 in the third when Chicago scored 12 straight. The Bulls went ahead 65-63 on Robin Lopez‘s hook shot with 4:35 left in the quarter.

Thomas answered with back-to-back layups and scored 10 points in a 12-0 run that gave the Celtics a 75-65 lead, and they withstood a push by the Bulls early in the fourth.

With Thomas and Green each scoring 16 in the first half, the Celtics carried a 57-46 lead into the break.

Butler led the Bulls with 17 in the half. But the offense struggled in a big way with Rondo unavailable. Jerian Grant started and went to the bench after about five ineffective minutes. Michael Carter-Williams then picked up two quick fouls, forcing the Bulls to go with Canaan in the first quarter.

The Celtics, meanwhile, led 41-21 early in the second quarter. But things started to turn after Canaan stole the ball from Marcus Smart and scored on a layup.

Smart feigned throwing the ball at Butler. The two came nose to nose, resulting in technical fouls for both players, and the Bulls started to shoot their way back into it.

Mirotic hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight in the quarter. Bobby Portis cut it to 52-42 with his basket late in the half, and Butler hit two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to make it 57-46.

RONDO FINED

The NBA fined Rondo for attempting to trip Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder from the bench in Game 3. Crowder jawed at the Bulls’ bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as Crowder walked by.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Thomas was just 1 of 9 on 3-pointers but made 12 of 13 free throws.

Bulls: Butler made 19 of 23 foul shots after failing to get to the line in Game 3. … Canaan was inactive for the first three games.

LeBron James swats Thaddeus Young on yet another chasedown block (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is The King, but he’s also the king of chasedown blocks in the NBA. During Sunday’s Game 4 matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers star dropped the hammer yet again on an unsuspecting opponent.

The victim this time was Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, who was out on a 2-on-2 break with LeBron trailing.

To be honest, Young should have known better than to try this.

Via Twitter:

Cleveland completed the series sweep on Indiana with the win, 106-102.

Robin Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Jae Crowder’s shoe (VIDEO)

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Why did Robin Lopez tie Jae Crowder‘s shoe during Sunday’s Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls? We may never know. Perhaps he was just helping the Celtics forward after he tossed him to the ground? Or maybe he’s just doing weird Robin Lopez things?

In any case, Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Crowder’s shoe after it came off during a battle down low early in the third quarter at United Center.

Here’s how it went down.

Via Twitter:

I still have no idea.

Noticeably frustrated, Russell Westbrook gets prickly with reporter after loss to Rockets (VIDEO)

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The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets played an ugly game down the stretch on Sunday. The Rockets employed a hack-a-Andre Roberson strategy, while the Thunder played sloppy and often poorly with Russell Westbrook out of the game.

The latter was the subject in question when Oklahoman reporter Berry Tramel spoke with Westbrook and Steven Adams at a postgame press conference following the Game 4 loss, 113-109.

Tramel’s question — whether the Rockets got a boost when Westbrook was off the floor — was directed at Adams, but the Thunder MVP candidate couldn’t let it go.

Snapping at Tramel, Westbrook told him not to split them up.

Via Twitter:

Tramel’s question is legitimate, and one of the overarching themes of this series thus far. Westbrook’s response is pretty far off the mark, but it did tell the story of how he’s feeling going away from Chesapeake Arena down 3-1.

Game 5 is on Tuesday in Houston.