James of the U.S. hugs teammate Durant after their game against Lithuania at their men's preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games

With one game to go, here’s how the Olympic groups shake out

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There is one more round of games to go on Monday, but you don’t really need to call the Psychic Hotline to see how the medal round is shaking out. It’s pretty clear, save for one big Spain vs. Brazil game on Monday.

Remember how this works: There are six teams in each group and the top four after Monday advance. One other key point — the tiebreaker is not head-to-head results but rather cumulative score. So, for example, if you win a game by 83 points you have a big advantage.

Here is what we know:

Group A:

The United States is going to win Group A no matter if Argentina messes up the USA’s perfect record on Monday or not. Technically Argentina can catch the USA by beating them by 110 points. Which is going to happen right around the time Sammy Hagar becomes cool again. All because point differential is the tiebreaker. Thanks to that 83-point win over Nigeria, the USA is +162 through four games. Argentina is +53.

But if the Argentinians can beat the USA they would finish second in Group A because they would tie France at 4-1 but would win on point differential (France is -8).

By far the most likely outcome is France is the two seed after they beat Nigeria while Argentina falls to the three seed with a loss to the USA.

Lithuania is pretty much locked into the four seed and will face rival Russia in the first round. The only way they can be out is a loss to Tunisia followed by Nigeria beating France. That will happen in one of the infinite parallel universes out there, but not in this one.

So barring a major upset will end USA, France, Argentina, and Lithuania.

Group B

Russia is in charge of its own destiny — all they need to do is beat Australia to get the top seed. However, if the Russians lose and Brazil beats Spain then Brazil will have the better point differential and win the group.

But most likely Russia beats the Aussies, which means Spain and Brazil are playing for second place in the group. Losing has its advantages here — you go to the other side of the bracket and get to avoid the USA until a gold medal game.

Australia is pretty much locked into the four seed. Assuming Russia beats the Aussies, host Great Brittan could catch Australia and take over the four seed — all it needs to do is beat China by about 80 points. Not happening. The British had their chance on Saturday but they lost to Australia and that ended any real shot.

So the first round of the medal round likely looks like this:

USA vs. Australia
Argentina vs. Spain/Brazil winner
France vs. Spain/Brazil loser
Russia vs. Lithuania

Sixers sign Mo Williams off waivers, then waive him again, sign Chasson Randle to 10 day contract

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 22: Mo Williams #52 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with fans during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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This is how the salary cap game is played.

Mo Williams is dead money, owed $2.2 million this season by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he decided he didn’t want to play anymore. The Cavaliers kept Williams on the roster and the books in case they could use that salary in a trade, and they did shipping him to Atlanta as a throw in with the Kyle Korver trade. Atlanta then traded him to Denver, because the Nuggets wanted to add $2.2 million to their payroll and bring them closer to the salary floor. But they didn’t want him on the roster, so they waived him.

Enter the Philadephia 76ers.

But the Sixers were not done.

Now we see if one of the handful of teams with a worse record than the Sixers decides they would rather have the salary on their books.

To be clear, teams under the salary floor still have to pay that money to the players. Let’s say a team ends up $2 million under that floor, then the team pays $2 million to be divided among the players on that roster. So, bringing in a player like Williams just saves them cash.

NBA report: Wizards should have gotten technical for assistant coach being on court vs. Knicks

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The Knicks were down 113-110 with just 13.7 seconds remaining when Carmelo Anthony passed to an open Courtney Lee, who passed up a clean look at a 3-pointer from the corner, instead passing to Brandon Jennings, who turned the ball over, and the Wizards got the win.

After the game, Lee said he didn’t shoot because he felt and heard what he thought was a defender near him, but it turned out to be Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe, who came onto the court and barked words implying he was switching out onto Lee.

The NBA’s Last Two Minutes Report sides with Lee, saying the Wizards should have gotten a technical. From the report:

A WAS assistant coach stands on the floor close to Lee (NYK) for several seconds and should have been assessed a technical foul.

This is an area the NBA needs to crack down on, coaches walk out onto the court all the time. Far too often. Frankly, I have an issue with coaches on the bench stomping their feet or yelling at shooters near their sideline, but Lowe took it a step further.

Much like telling a six-year-old to stop licking their shoes this isn’t something NBA officials should have to deal with, it should be common sense, but the league needs to crack down on coaches stepping onto the court. Maybe this will push the league to start enforcing that rule.

 

PBT Extra: Russell Westbrook was snubbed as All-Star starter, but worse snubs coming

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Should Russell Westbrook have been a starter for the All-Star game over Stephen Curry? Sure. Going on stats from the first half of this season — when Westbrook is averaging a triple double — Westbrook deserves the nod. But I have a hard time getting worked up over the fans choosing the two-time MVP to start the All-Star Game.

The real snubs are coming.

When it comes to choosing the All-Star Game reserves, the coaches are facing some tough choices. How many point guards in the East? Does Joel Embiid deserve to go? Kristaps Porzingis? Out West the questions shift to Mike Conley, Damian Lillard and others.

I talk about those tough choices and who I would pick in this latest PBT Extra.

 

Bucks’ Greg Monroe says he’s not thinking of player-option decision

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19: Greg Monroe #15 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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The Bucks reportedly already planned for Greg Monroe to opt in after this season, a reasonable conclusion considering they tried to dump him in a trade all summer and found no takers.

But Monroe has quietly boosted his stock this season. Coming off Milwaukee’s bench, he’s still a skilled interior scorer. But he’s defending and rebounding better, using his quick hands to strip opponents and taking plenty of charges.

Could he even decline his $17,884,176 player option?

Monroe, via Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

“I’m not thinking about anything like the off-season right now. There is a time and place for everything. If and when I have to make a decision, that time is not right now.”

The time might approach more quickly than Monroe expects. If the Bucks shop him again, potential trade partners will want to know Monroe’s intention. Some might prefer the flexibility created by him opting out, and others would like the certainty of having a productive player at a reasonable-enough cost next season. But all would want to know where they stand.

That said, it’s hardly a give Milwaukee moves Monroe. Though he has backed up John Henson and Miles Plumlee, Monroe (21.2 minutes per game) plays more than both. He’s a valuable contributor on a team jockeying for playoff position.

Most importantly, Monroe appears to complement Bucks franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo well. Antetokounmpo scores more (23.5 to 26.3 points per 36 minutes) and more efficiently (59.0% to 65.7% true shooting percentage) from when he plays without Monroe to when he plays with Monroe, and Milwaukee’s offense improves accordingly (104.3 to 114.6 points per 100 possessions).