USA’s Olympic basketball schedule released

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In just a little over two months, Team USA will tip off the defense of its gold medal at the London Olympics. Man, that is coming up fast.

We got our first look at the schedule for the Games and Team USA’s toughest games of pool play will come at the beginning and end of the round, against France (Tony Parker) and Argentina (Manu Ginobili). There are six teams in each pool, meaning there are five games in that round. Two of the team’s in the USA’s pool will come out of the pre-Olympics qualifying tournament (which has some good teams such as Russia, Lithuania and Puerto Rico).

Here’s the schedule.

July 29, France (9:30 a.m. ET)
July 31, Tunisia (5:15 p.m. ET)
Aug. 2, Qualifier TBD (5:15 p.m. ET)
Aug. 4, Qualifier TBD (9:30 a.m. ET)
Aug. 6, Argentina (5:15 p.m. ET)

After that the top four teams from each pool move on to the single-elimination tournament, with the first games Aug. 8, the semifinals on Aug. 10 and the medal games on Aug. 12.

Like you we’re focused on the NBA playoffs right now, but I’m pumped for the coming summer of Olympic ball. PBT will be all over it, from being at USA training camp in Las Vegas through having all kinds of content and video coming out of London all the way up to the gold medal game.

Likely against Spain. Which will be special. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s a long road. We still don’t know the Team USA roster yet.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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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.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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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.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

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.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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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.