Kings’ Vasquez will sit out FIBA Americas tournament

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Greivis Vasquez has put club (and paychecks) before country, which should go over very well in Sacramento.

The likely Kings starting point guard has decided not to play for his native Venezuela in the upcoming FIBA Americas tournament, instead focusing on recovering from off-season surgery to help the Kings next season, reports liderendeportes.com (via Hoopshype).

The report says that Vasquez has been cleared to get back on the court and be involved in basketball activities (lateral movements, pick-and-roll plays) but it will take him a little while to get up to speed. He’s not going to do that in a tournament setting.

This is good for the Kings, who will likely start Vasquez and will bring Isaiah Thomas off the bench, plus rookie Ray McCallum behind him. Oh, and Jimmer Fredette would like to get into that rotation, too.

But know part of this is financial — Vasquez is coming up on the end of his rookie deal. Technically he could get an extension this summer but more likely next summer he will be a restricted free agent. Have another strong season this year like he did in his last campaign (13.9 points and 9 assists a game, shooting 34.2 percent from three) and he will get paid pretty well. He can play. So long as he healthy.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.