Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors

Bulls start fast but can’t stop Stephen Curry, hot shooting Warriors comeback

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This was a meeting of two of the four best defenses in the NBA (yes, Golden State is one of the top four defenses in the NBA, it’s why they are a playoff threat).

The difference between the teams is Golden State has a player in Stephen Curry who is an elite scorer and can just flat out light up the scoreboard. Chicago’s guy who can do that is out injured (Derrick Rose did take a couple standing jumpers before the game, by the way). Chicago will scrap, they will not make it easy, but they don’t have the game changing offensive force on their team anymore.

Behind Curry, who finished with 34 points on 19 shots, the Warriors came from behind for a 102-87 win.

At the start of the game Golden State just did not seem prepared for the hustle, the aggressive defense of the Bulls — Chicago went on a 21-6 run as Golden State scored just 16 first quarter points on 36 percent shooting. For Chicago it was Kirk Hinrich who came out hot and had nine first quarter points. All night long the Bulls seemed able to get into the paint and make plays, guys like D.J. Augustin could get to the hole as the Warriors were without Andrew Bogut for the night (not to mention David Lee).

But Golden State found their groove and went on a 32-12 run to close out first half, which put the Warriors up 50-46 at the break. That run was sparked by Curry, who had 16 of his points in the second quarter — once he got going the Bulls had no answers on how to stop him.

It wasn’t just Curry, all the Warriors got hot — remove the first quarter from the game and Golden State shot 52.5 percent and hit 11-of-19 from three, outscoring the Bulls 86-58.

While Chicago would make runs— many sparked by Taj Gibson, who had a career-high 26 points — and they even grabbed a brief lead in the third quarter, they could not sustain the scoring like the Warriors. Chicago stayed within striking distance but an 11-2 Warriors run to close the game made it look like an easier Golden State win than it really was.

For Golden State, a defensive minded team, a win without Bogut is a quality win. Especially one where they had to come from behind against a feisty Bulls team. And they can thank Curry for it.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.