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)

Raptors hold on in overtime, even series with Heat

TORONTO, ON - MAY 03:  Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors hits a half-court buzzer beater to tie Game One and send it into overtime during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 3, 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)
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It wasn’t pretty, but the Toronto Raptors came away with a win and salvaged a tied series in their first two home games. For the second consecutive game, they went to overtime with the Miami Heat, only this time, it was the Heat that came up cold at the end, and Toronto prevailed, 96-92.

From an efficiency standpoint, Kyle Lowry wasn’t much better than he’s been thus far in the postseason, shooting just 7-for-22 from the field, but he hit two key jumpers in the final minutes of regulation that extended Toronto’s lead, forcing Miami to play from behind and tying the game on threes from Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.

But it was Jonas Valanciunas who proved most effective late for Toronto. He finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and for long stretches, the only reliable offense for the Raptors was dumping the ball in to him. Valanciunas bailed the Raptors out late with a rebound and tip-in to break an 80-80 tie after DeMar DeRozan (who shot a forgettable 9-for-24 on the night) missed two consecutive free throws.

The Heat failed to score in the first three minutes of overtime, and their continued penchant for turning the ball over did them in several times down the stretch as they failed to execute.

A bright spot for Miami was Dragic, who scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting despite receiving eight stitches to his lower lip after catching an elbow in the first half.

Splitting the first two home games isn’t ideal for the Raptors, but they had every opportunity to go down 2-0 after controlling most of the first three quarters and managed to prevail. Plus, Lowry’s late-fourth-quarter heroics could be enough to get him going again.

Damian Lillard gets tested by Warriors, looks for rebound

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 03:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers stands on the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) First it was a chest cold, then it was a fourth-quarter dry spell. The start of Damian Lillard‘s playoff series against the Golden State Warriors has been rough.

And as Lillard goes, often the rest of the Trail Blazers follow.

Portland is down 2-0 in its Western Conference semifinal series against the defending NBA champions. And it certainly won’t get much easier when the series shifts north Saturday – even though presumptive league MVP Stephen Curry is unlikely to return from a knee injury.

But Lillard and his team have a history of stepping up after getting knocked down. In fact, that’s been the theme of their whole season.

“I know the kind of guys I’m running with. Besides that, we’ve answered the call all season long. We’ve been in bad positions time and time again, and we’ve never shied away. We’ve never not answered the call. I don’t see why this time it would be any different,” he said.

Lillard, who averaged 25.1 points and 6.8 assists during the regular season, scored 25 points in the Blazers’ 110-99 loss in Game 2 on Tuesday night, including 17 points in the third quarter. But the Warriors held him scoreless (0-for-3 from the field) in the crucial final period when they came from behind to win, outscoring Portland 34-12. Portland only scored six points over the last 5:21.

With a day off on Wednesday, Lillard let the loss digest.

“After the game I was pretty frustrated by not being able to finish that game. Yesterday I didn’t even want to see a basketball,” he said. “I wasn’t even gonna watch the playoff game until I heard Cleveland was hitting a bunch of 3s. So I wanted to see for myself, but I didn’t even want to have nothing to do with basketball after that game.”

In the series opener, Lillard started cold but eventually scored 30 points in a 118-106 loss. The Oakland native admitted later to battling a cold afterward. On Thursday, he said he was healthy.

Lillard made a playoff splash in 2014 when his buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Rockets sent the Blazers into the second round for the first time in 14 years.

But he was the lone starter left with the Blazers this season after the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews. Some expected the Blazers to only win about two dozen games.

Lillard tends to rise when he’s the underdog, however. Led by Lillard and backcourt teammate CJ McCollum, a first-year starter, the Blazers overcame a 2-10 stretch in November to wind up the fifth seed in the West.

A two-time All-Star, Lillard was snubbed this year. How did he respond? By dropping 51 points, including nine 3-pointers, in a 137-105 victory over – wait for it – the Golden State Warriors. Lillard shot over Curry at will in that Feb. 19 victory, one of just nine losses for the Warriors in a record-setting 73-win season.

Knowing the Blazers are capable will be key Saturday night.

“We’ll have bounce. We came back after 0-2 against the Clippers (in the opening round) and came with a lot of energy in Game 3. We know how important Game 3 is,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “Having energy, having bounce, at the Moda Center, with our crowd? That’s the least of our concerns.”

Lillard also struggled in the opening two games against the Clippers in the first round. Portland came back to win the next four to win the series, but the Clippers were hurt when their top two scorers, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, were knocked out with injuries.

The Warriors also get credit for Lillard’s struggles after making defensive adjustments on both Lillard and McCollum, particularly the play of Festus Ezeli.

“They are so explosive and they run really good stuff, I mean, it’s hard to guard. You have to cover a lot of floor against Portland, and I thought between Festus and Draymond (Green), those guys did a great job of protecting the feed and moving and handling the pick-and-roll on top,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Lillard said the Blazers would learn from it.

“It hurts to go back in the locker room after you play so well for so long and you come back in there with the L. But it is a part of growth,” he said. “The entire season has been growth for us.”

Erik Spoelstra calls Frank Vogel’s firing “disturbing”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 28:  Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts as he coaches in the first half against the Indiana Pacers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 28, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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One thing that’s a constant in the NBA: coaches always stick up for each other. That’s what happened on Thursday, when Pacers president Larry Bird announced that he was letting Frank Vogel go. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who coached against Vogel in three memorable playoff series during the big three era, was unhappy to hear the news of Vogel’s fate and lamented the state of coaching, which has very little job security.

Via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“I think it’s really disturbing, actually. I’ve only been a head coach for eight years. So what am I, the second-longest-tenured?” Spoelstra asked, with Casey in his sixth season as Toronto coach and only Gregg Popovich, in his 20th season with the San Antonio Spurs, on the bench longer. “That’s a sad state of where the coaching profession is right now and stability of organizations.”

Spoelstra and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle are the second longest-tenured coaches in the league, behind only Gregg Popovich. Already this offseason, there have been five coaching changes in addition to Vogel’s: Luke Walton replaced Byron Scott with the Lakers, Tom Thibodeau replaced Sam Mitchell with the Timberwolves, Scott Brooks replaced Randy Wittman in Washington, and the Rockets and Kings jobs are still unfilled. The Knicks job could potentially turn over as well, if Phil Jackson opts not to bring back Kurt Rambis.

This is on top of five coaches who were fired during the season: Kevin McHale in Houston, Derek Fisher in New York, Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix, Lionel Hollins in Brooklyn and David Blatt in Cleveland. That’s a third of the league since the 2015-16 season began. Spoelstra is right about the instability, but that’s part of the business.

Photos: Bucks unveil interior of new arena

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 25:  Jabari Parker #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks runs down court during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Milwaukee Bucks are set to open their new arena in time for the start of the 2018-19 season, and now they’ve unveiled the first renderings of the inside of the building. They’re pretty nice.

Here’s the court:

There will also be several public bars out in the concourse:

It’s decidedly more modern than the aging BMO Harris Bradley Center, although that building is one of the most fun atmospheres in the league to watch a game in. Hopefully the new place can recapture that vibe.