Wednesday And-1 links: Team USA on Segways

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After a little hiatus, here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• As you can see from the photo to the right, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant and James Harden went tooling around Barcelona on Segways. Even they cannot look cool riding a Segway. And how tall does this make Durant?

• Yao Ming things Jeremy Lin landing in Houston is a great fit.

• The Grizzlies want to bring back Iranian big man Hamed Haddadi and are working to re-sign him.

• How consistently you drain threes depends on arc and form. But arc is key.

• The Celtics have signed Dionte Christmas to a partially guaranteed contract (which means they can cut him and not pay him everything, consider this a camp invite).

We showed you earlier why Raptors fans should be pumped, but just a reminder that they inked Jonas Valanciunas to his rookie contract.

• NBA stat heads are going to love what is coming to NBA.com. You can bet you’ll be seeing some of that here.

• Want to have dinner with Magic Johnson then head to courtside seats for a Lakers game? You can do it, it’s the prize in an online charity auction to support RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s (which works to bring New York City’s underprivileged children access and exposure to the arts). So, it’s going to cost you a few bucks. But, it goes to a good cause. You can bid now through Aug. 8.

• Or man Rob Mahoney breaks down why Dallas bringing back Delonte West was a very good thing.

• O.J. Mayo could have selected a lot of places to play, but he wanted Dallas to be the spot.

• Grant Hill is happy to be a Clipper. Three years ago we never wrote that sentence about anyone.

• This is what Rockets GM Daryl Morey sounds like when testy in an interview.

Jerry West talks Steve Nash to the Lakers and Dwight Howard.

• This is a little old, but Josh Smith is pumped about the upcoming season in Atlanta — and thinks Dwight Howard would be, too.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.