Adidas Eurocamp - Day 1

2013 adidas Eurocamp: Day 1 recap

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TREVISO, Italy — Lucas Nogueira was the player most eyes were focused on during the first day of adidas Eurocamp, not only because of his seven-foot frame, but also because he is the only international prospect in attendance who is projected to be taken late in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft.

Nogueira plays with a lot of activity, and is an intelligent defender who positions himself to use his size, length, and athleticism to his advantage. He proved to be an above average rim protector, and showed an ability to block shots and hold his own while defending the low post.

There wasn’t a lot of offense to his game in terms of shooting touch or strong moves inside, but he’s a more than capable finisher at the rim, and did an excellent job running the floor and finishing in transition when the ball found his hands. The concerns surround only his slight stature, and whether or not his body can support the necessary bulk he’ll need to add to succeed at the NBA level. But the skill set is certainly present.

Nogueira isn’t expected to participate in any more of the camp’s activities after his stellar showing, which included scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with three rebounds and four blocked shots in his team’s eight-point victory in the third game of the day.

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Rudy Gobert from France is one of the top international prospects expected to be taken in the first round of this year’s draft, and he was scheduled to participate in one of the day’s events in here in Treviso. He measured 7’2″ with a 7’8.5″ wingspan and a 9’7″ standing reach at the combine in Chicago, both of which were record numbers.

We got word this morning, however, that Gobert would be unable to attend due to illness, which he confirmed via his Twitter account.

The translation amounts to “Damn no Treviso for me … just got out of hospital food poisoning.” Several hours later, he posted in English this time, saying “Feeling better, back to work,” however no word yet if that means he might have had a change of heart and will end up at Eurocamp before Monday’s final day.

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Dante Exum is a 6’4″ guard who is of major interest to NBA scouts and executives, just not for this year’s draft. The Australian prospect is believed to possess a skill set that has him projected to be a top five pick in 2014, but while he was in attendance for Eurocamp’s first day, a stress fracture in his foot prevented him from participating in any of the drills or games.

Exum did go through a private shooting session, and seemed to show a smooth stroke from all distances, including three-point range. But it was a very light workout, so no one really got an opportunity to see what he might be able to do in Treviso.

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source: Getty Images

Aquille Carr is a high school prospect from Princeton Day in Maryland, and is the rare Eurocamp participant from the United States. Carr is here on the advice of his agent, in order to try to impress the international community enough to earn a spot in the Euro League next season.

Carr is listed at 5’6″, though he’s even smaller than that in person. For better or worse, the Nate Robinson comparisons will be inevitable due to the way he plays the guard position, using his speed and athleticism to try to get into the paint to create for himself or his teammates.

Carr showed confidence in handling the ball while pressured defensively, but he struggled on the opposite end of the floor to slow the bigger and stronger players he was matched up against at the point guard position.

He managed to remain positive throughout a first day which may have been tougher than expected, and consistently exhibited the qualities of a good teammate while on the bench.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is a prospect from Greece who is projected as a late first-round draft choice, even though many in NBA circles had yet to see him play in person. That changed on Saturday, but not because Antetokounmpo was at Eurocamp — he was playing in a tournament with the Greek under-20 team in Jeselo, Italy, and most teams in attendance in Treviso made the 45-minute drive to finally see him in the flesh.

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Links to the box scores from all three of the relevant games from Day 1 are below, and they’re worth checking out just to see how much more information they contain than those in their NBA counterparts.

One quick note on the last game of the night, between the “All-Stars” and the USA Select team. The All-Star team wasn’t nearly that, considering most of the camp’s best players had already participated in one of the day’s previous games. And with the European squad having 3-4 years of size, strength, and experience on their opponents from the states, the result was a predictable one given the mismatch.

But Alex Robinson, a point guard from Timberview high school in Arlington, Texas, definitely seems to have all the tools to excel at the next level if he continues to develop. Quickness, strength, court vision, and athleticism were all in place.

adidas Eurocamp Game #3 – TEAM 1 vs. TEAM 4 (Day 1)

adidas Eurocamp Game #1 – TEAM 2 vsTEAM 3 (Day 1)

adidas Eurocamp Game #4 – ALL-Star vs adidas USA Select (Day 1)

Watch Stephen Curry’s late lockdown defense (video)

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Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant might not think much of Stephen Curry‘s defense – Durant gave a great and tremendously honest answer – but Curry was at his defensive best late in the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Thunder last night.

Curry locked up Durant multiple times. Also included in that clip: Curry’s rebound in traffic, because rebounding is a key part of defense.

The Draymond Green kicking controversy continued through Game 5

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 26:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 26, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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We’ve shown you the video evidence beforeDraymond Green tries to sell calls by kicking. Despite the Flagrant 2 he picked up for one of those kicks that connected with Steven Adams‘ groin, he said he was never going to start playing “careful.”

He certainly didn’t in Game 5 — he got his foot up high not once but twice.

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As we said back when it happened, the league needs to come down harder on this next season — Green is far from the only player who does it, and the league can’t only call it a foul when it connects. The habit needs to be broken with all the players doing it.

Those kicks were not even the play were Green got a technical foul, his fifth of the playoffs (get to seven and you get an automatic one-game suspension).

Did Kevin Durant throw shade at Stephen Curry’s defense? Does Curry care?

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In the fourth quarter Thursday night, Stephen Curry came up big — on defense. He had a strip of a Kevin Durant shot as KD tried to bring the ball up for a shot, plus he had another steal. Curry is no lock down defender, but he made some plays.

After the game, Durant was asked if Curry is an underrated defender (video above). First, notice that Russell Westbrook laughs at the question — he hates giving opposing players compliments. Remember he said before the series Curry wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before. Durant stammered at first then tried to give a more diplomatic answer, but threw a little shade at Curry in the process.

“You know, he’s pretty good, but he doesn’t guard the best point guards. I think they do a good job of putting a couple guys on Russell, from Thompson to Iguodala, and Steph, they throw him in there sometimes. But he moves his feet pretty well, he’s good with his hands. But, you know, I like our matchup with him guarding Russ.”

As he should. I like the matchup of Westbrook vs. every other point guard in the league. Westbrook tore Curry up in Games 3 and 4.

Of course, Curry was asked about Durant’s comments when he came into the interview room, but he refused to take the bait.

“I got a great teammate that’s obviously a better defender on the perimeter. I like the challenge. I do my job the best I can”

He’s got a couple of teammates that are better defenders on the perimeter — Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Those guys are just busy with other players this series because the Thunder are deep and present a plethora of challenges.

This is all a tempest in a Conference Finals teapot. It wasn’t as big a deal as some in the media will try to make it out to be.

Curry is going to have to play defense and score better in Game 6 than his improved Game 5 play if the Warriors are coming back for one more game at Oracle Arena.

Tyronn Lue: ‘This is our Game 7’

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23:  Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 23, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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TORONTO (AP) To keep their season alive, the Toronto Raptors are counting on a home-court advantage that saved them before.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of their second straight NBA Finals on Wednesday night by routing Toronto 116-78 in Game 5, the fourth lopsided game in a series where both teams have struggled mightily on the road.

Paced by the resurgent Kevin Love with 25 points, and 23 apiece from James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs built a 43-point lead in the second half and demolished the Raptors. Toronto lost three games in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena by a combined 88 points.

Fortunately, the Raptors are back home in front of their own frenzied fans and will host Game 6 on Friday night in Air Canada Centre, where the Cavs are 0-4 this season and lost Games 3 and 4 in this series.

After going 32-9 at home during the regular season, Toronto is 8-2 on its floor in the playoffs, and pulled off a Game 7 wins over Indiana and Miami.

The Raptors need it to be home sweet home one more time.

“We’ve got to play the same way we played the two home games we’ve had so far,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said Thursday, a day after he was hounded by Cleveland’s guards and scored just 13 on 5 of 12 shooting. “That’s all we can do. Can’t worry about the road. We might not get a chance to go back on the road if we don’t play the right way tomorrow.”

Toronto was overmatched from the opening tap in Game 5, falling behind by 18 after one quarter, 31 at halftime and finishing with 18 turnovers, five by Lowry.

“They’re drastically bad when you’ve got LeBron coming at you,” Lowry said.

In an all-over-the-map postseason, an elimination game against Cleveland is about as drastically bad as things have been for the Raptors, who led 3-2 in each of the first two rounds. Even so, Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan didn’t seem too troubled after Thursday’s film session.

“I don’t know why we get so comfortable once we put ourselves in a tougher situation,” DeRozan said. “We’ve been doing it all year and we always bounce back. I think we just thrive off adversity.”

Cleveland’s home record was one win better than Toronto’s this season, and the Cavs are unbeaten in seven home playoff games since Game 6 of last year’s finals. While his team has struggled in Toronto, coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t want to have to put that streak on the line.

“We want to come in with the approach that this is our Game 7,” Lue said. “We’ve worked hard all season to get to this point, and we want to treat this next game as our Game 7.”

After Wednesday’s big win, Irving said the hostile atmosphere the Cavs encountered in Toronto made them “probably my first legitimate two road games that I’ve experienced in my playoff career.”

“Our communication, everything had to be a lot sharper,” Irving said of battling the noise in the North. “We took a lot that we had to learn from that game, including myself. Going into Game 6, I feel a little bit more prepared than I was going into Game 3 and 4 of knowing what to expect, what it’s going to be like.”

If there was any good news for the Raptors in Game 5, it was the return of center Jonas Valanciunas, out since May 7 with a sprained right ankle. Casey said Valanciunas, who scored nine points in 18 minutes Wednesday, could provide offensive versatility in Game 6.

“Getting the ball in the post will be a calming effect for us,” Casey said. “He’s got to be able to make it out of the double team, as the guards do. We looked at that today. He can quarterback out of the low post as well as score out of the low post, and it gives us a third option.”

Can home court advantage and a healthy Valanciunas prolong the deepest playoff run in Raptors history and help Toronto reach a third Game 7?

Casey hasn’t given up hope.

“We’ve been here before,” he said. “We’re here at home. We’ve played well here at home. We are playing against one of the best teams in the NBA right now. Our guys take solace from being at home, understanding we’ve been here before and we can bounce back from it. I have faith we will bounce back.”