And Team USA loses another potential big man for the roster.
Recent No. 1 pick Anthony Davis severely sprained his ankle in a workout for the Hornets, which leaves him very unlikely to be ready when USA Basketball opens training camp Friday (July 6) in Las Vegas and he is now out for the games, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network.
Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated added USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo heard about the injury yesterday but didn’t know the severity of it at the time.
Apparently, pretty severe. And certainly the Hornets do not want to take any risks with their new face of the franchise. He should be fully recovered before the start of training camp, but whether he plays at Summer League may also be up in the air.
Team USA is really thin along the front line for the Olympics. Already Dwight Howard was out due to his back injury, LaMarcus Aldridge pulled out early due to injury, then last week Chris Bosh removed himself as he tries to recover from his abdominal injury suffered during the playoffs.
That leaves Tyson Chandler as the starting and only true center on the team. Expect to see Kevin Love get a lot of time at the five. It also means the special workout coach Mike Krzyzewski is having before the start of camp with Lamar Odom and Blake Griffin matters even more. No word on if a new big like DeMarcus Cousins or Roy Hibbert will be added to consideration for the team.
For most of the Olympic tournament going small with Love at the five and LeBron James at the four will be fine for Team USA. That whole “LeBron as power forward” thing overwhelmed NBA teams, no international teams will have an answer. But when Team USA runs into the world’s second best team, Spain (likely facing off for the gold medal) it will matter. Spain stars Marc and Pau Gasol and brings Serge Ibaka off the bench. They have real size with skill.
Team USA will also be without Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Chauncey Billups do to injury.
In a separate note, young 76ers guard Jrue Holiday has been added to the USA Select team. That is the team invited to Team USA training camp as practice partners for the London-bound team. It is also where Team USA officials get a close look at guys they may want to play for Team USA in future tournaments.
It’s what the playoffs are all about — win or go home Game 7s. Pressure, drama, unlikely stars Sunday is going to have it all. Here are a few things to watch:
1) Can Miami’s jump shooters have another hot game? Dwyane Wade got the headlines (and he earned them) for his Game 6 performance (everyone except purple shirt guy was impressed), but the real key for the Heat to force a Game 7 was they were hitting their jumpers — or at least enough of them. In their three losses, Miami shot 33.7 percent from 3 feet out to the arc, but in Game 6 the Heat shot 43.5 percent in that range, plus knocked down eight threes. The Hornets have packed the paint all series, when the Heat hit their jumpers they win. It’s that simple.
2) Does Kemba Walker have one more big game in him? Walker was fantastic in Game 6 (37 points), and he’s been very good in the Hornets’ victories. He’s going to penetrate and get some shots inside eight feet, but will he be able to finish? And, more importantly, will he hit his threes when they pack the paint on him? If Walker has a huge game, Charlotte very likely moves on.
3) Is Toronto too far into their own head? No team has more pressure on them to advance out of the first round than Toronto after two previous years of getting bounced in the first round, and they will feel that weight at home in Game 7 against Indiana. Will Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan step up with big games in the biggest moments of their careers, or will they succumb to the moment and the Pacers defense? For all the Xs and Os that do matter in this game, how the Raptors handle the pressure will be key.
4) Can the Pacers again get a few quality minutes when Paul George sits? In the Pacers comfortable Game 6 win, George got a rest in the second quarter and the Pacers were +5 while he sat. That was a huge step up from Game 5, where the Pacers were -18 when he was out for less than 7 minutes. If Indiana — by playing some starters such as Myles Turner — doesn’t have a huge bench drop off when George rests a few minutes their odds of winning go way up. We know Paul George can handle the moment.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.