Monday’s game between Venezuela and Puerto Rico at the FIBA America’s Tournament carried a lot of weight – Puerto Rico is fighting for one of the two 2012 Olympics berths from the event, Venezuela is battling with Canada and Uruguay to get fifth place and the invite to the pre-Olympics qualifying tournament next year.
Which explains the tensions why Renaldo Balkman (he of the Knicks) headbutted Greivis Vasquez (of the Grizzlies) after a hard foul. As should be the case, Balkman was ejected — it was a hard foul but you can’t lose your head. Or headbutt.
By the way, Puerto Rico won the game 94-82.
Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach
Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.
New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.
That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.
First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.
Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals
That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron James‘ cachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.
Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.