Thursday And-1 links: Remembering the 1972 Gold Medal game

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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 like US Women’s soccer players love gold medals.

• If it does end up being a USA vs. Russia Gold Medal game Sunday you are going to hear a lot about this — the controversial ending of the 1972 Gold Medal game won by Russia. Marc Stein of ESPN does a great job in that piece of going back through the history of that moment, but it is so tied into the emotions of the Cold War at that time. Go read that post.

• Speaking of the Russians, here is a great breakdown by Sebastian Pruiti at Grantland of soon-to-be Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved.

• Jeremy Lin is hosting some youth basketball clinics in China. He’ll be there for a few weeks before returning to Houston to start preparing for the regular season.

• DeMarre Carroll says he is going to be the “energy guy” off the bench for the Jazz next season.

• Tim Hardaway and Dennis Rodman are teaming up to host a basketball camp for adults and a Jewish community center in Miami this weekend. They want to teach “life lessons.” The jokes just write themselves.

• Just because C.J. Miles has signed with Cleveland, don’t think that means Alonzo Gee is going elsewhere. There is still a better than average chance he picks up his $2.7 million qualifying offer.

• Nigerian Chamberlain Oguchi has played well enough in these Olympics to catch the eye of some NBA teams.

• I want to give fair and equal time here: I wasn’t blown away by Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas in these Olympics, I thought he looked like a project for Toronto. But some Raptors bloggers who know the game are higher on him.

• Roger Mason says he chose to play in New Orleans this season because he could get minutes and be a veteran leader. I had heard it was to be closer to good gumbo.

A “source” tells Hoopsworld that free agent Gilbert Arenas has lost a lot of weight and is now completely healthy, he’s just looking for a chance. My guess is that source has his agent’s license or is tied to someone who does.

• Former NBA player and coach Jerry Sichting has been hired on to the Washington Wizards’ staff.

• If you’re looking for it, here is the Celtics preseason schedule.

• It’s not pro basketball but I found it interesting: Roy Williams and Rick Barnes were voted as the most overrated coaches in college by their peers (CBSSports did the poll).

Warriors say Kevin Durant doing non-contact drills, could return before end of season

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Kevin Durant has been working out on the court before the last couple of Warriors road games, and people watching have taken note — he was moving well, shooting, and generally looking healthy for a guy coming off a grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise.

Reports were out that Durant was on target to return before the end of the season.

Wednesday the Warriors confirmed that.

Teams are vague, realistically what is that timeline?

Durant likely would be on a minutes restriction for those game, but just getting to shake the rust off and work on his conditioning in a real game would help Golden State heading into the playoffs.

Not that they need much help, having won eight in a row. The Warriors have a 2.5 game lead over the Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference heading into the game between the two Wednesday night.

Check out Lakers’ stretch of hitting 15 straight shots to end third quarter (VIDEO)

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The Lakers lost to the Wizards because they are young, inconsistent, and defend like traffic cones at times.

But that young Lakers core also has its moments.

Los Angeles strung together 15 straight made buckets to end the third quarter Tuesday night. Some of it was flukey, like Corey Brewer driving and finishing contested layups like he’s Kyrie Irving, but there were things Lakers fans should want to see such as D'Angelo Russell draining threes, Jordan Clarkson working hard off the ball and his teammates finding him, and Julius Randle just attacking.

After this run the Lakers led by 13 going into the fourth, but lost the game.

It’s official: Joakim Noah cleared to play, 20-game suspension starts tonight

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What this ultimately means is next season the Knicks should have Joakim Noah available just before Thanksgiving.

Noah has been suspended 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance, but because he was out due to knee surgery the suspension did not start until he was “physically able to play.” Noah said on Tuesday that he had been cleared, but that was just by the team doctors. He also had to be cleared by the NBA’s doctors (because if teams could cheat they would).

That happened Wednesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Noah’s first season in New York after signing a four-year, $72 million deal has been a disappointment. To put it kindly. He’s not been completely healthy, and any observer of him the past few years had to wonder if he would ever be fully healthy again. He had lost a step from the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year before the Knicks signed him. The Knicks don’t need him to necessarily be that dominant a force again (although it would be nice), but they need to get more out of him and see if he is a fit next to Kristaps Porzingis for now as the Knicks try to build a roster for next season that can play a little defense. And the triangle.

Report: Pacers bring back Lance Stephenson in time for playoffs; deal for three-years, $12 million

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The Indiana Pacers need healthy bodies for their playoff run, and they had three rotation guys injured between Al Jefferson, Glenn Robinson III, and Rodney Stuckey. Wednesday, the Pacers waived Stuckey to create an open roster spot to bring in some help (they were not going to pick up his option for next season anyway).

Who are they bringing in? The prodigal son Lance Stephenson returns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The surprising part of the deal was the security Stephenson got, as first reported by Adam Zagoria at his blog — three years, $12 million, with a player option for the final year. (This has since been confirmed by other sources.) Other teams were looking at giving Stephenson a 10-day contract, the length of the Pacers’ offer is a surprise.

Stephenson played in six games for Minnesota recently, averaging 3.5 points per game off the bench, but an ankle sprain kept the Timberwolves from really having to decide whether to keep him for the season. Stephenson knows how to create shots for himself and can be a good defender when focused, something we saw with the Pelicans at the start of this season — he became a key part of their rotation averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game until he tore his groin.

It’s a little strange to see him back in Pacers colors. It will be particularly strange if the Pacers stay in the seven seed and the Cavaliers remain the two-seed setting up a first-round playoff series. Because I don’t think any of us need to see this again.

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