Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

Report: Hawks may go after David Blatt as assistant coach

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If you ask close observers who the smartest, best coach on the international circuit is you usually hear the name David Blatt.

The average fan may not know him from the guy walking his dog down their street, but those fans know the powerhouse EuroLeague team he coaches (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and they know he coached the Russians up to the bronze medal in the London Olympics.

A lot of basketball people have wondered why an NBA team hasn’t gone after him. Now there is a report out of Sport-Express in Russia that one is (via Hoopshype, who did the translation).

The head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Russian National Basketball Team David Blatt may become the assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Larry Drew has come to Israel today to watch and analyze Blatt’s work with Israel’s champions.

This would be a smart hire by the Hawks. It gives them a quality coach on Drew’s bench and potentially a future head coach if management ever decides to go that direction (and Blatt sticks).

That said, Blatt may or may not come. He has carved out a nice — and lucrative — career in Europe. He likes living in Israel. Not everyone will fall over themselves just to get any NBA job.

But it’s something to watch. And a smart play by the Hawks whether it works out or not.

John Wall drops J.R. Smith with crossover, makes layup (VIDEO)

John Wall
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John Wall is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. J.R. Smith found that out the hard way on Tuesday night when Wall sent him flying with a behind-the-back dribble before making an easy layup.

The Wizards beat the Cavs, who are now 13-5 on the season.

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.