USA Basketball announces training and exhibition schedule in advance of 2014 FIBA World Cup

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USA Basketball announced its training schedule in advance of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and it will include exhibition games versus Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Slovenia, along with training camps in Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York.

From the official release:

“Our training sessions and our exhibition games are vital in our preparations for defending our gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman and national team managing director. “We have again scheduled a challenging lineup of exhibition opponents for our USA Men’s National Team. We’re excited to give USA fans and basketball fans in general the opportunity to see their USA National Team play in Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and Gran Canaria.”

“The 2014 USA National Team tour will offer our players and coaches the opportunity to get familiar with each other and to gain critical international game experience against a variety of differing styles,” said USA and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Playing games at the Thomas & Mack Center, the United Center, Madison Square Garden and in Gran Canaria will be memorable for fans and valuable preparation for our team prior to competing in the FIBA World Cup.”

“The 2014 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup, featuring a total of 24 national teams, is slated to be held Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. The 2014 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team will play its preliminary round games in Bilbao, Spain, after being drawn into Group C along with teams from the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Turkey and Ukraine.”

The USA team will consist of players selected from the group that was named to the squad back in January:

LaMarcus Aldridge; Carmelo Anthony; Bradley Beal; Tyson Chandler; DeMarcus Cousins; Stephen Curry; Anthony Davis; Andre Drummond; Kevin Durant; Kenneth Faried; Paul George; Blake Griffin; James Harden; Gordon Hayward; Dwight Howard; Andre Iguodala; Kyrie Irving; LeBron James; Kyle Korver; David Lee; Kawhi Leonard; Damian Lillard; Kevin Love; Chris Paul; Derrick Rose; Klay Thompson; Russell Westbrook; and Deron Williams.

The complete USA Basketball training and exhibition schedule is reprinted below.                                                                                                                       

July 28-August 1                   Las Vegas Training / Exhibition Game – Las Vegas, Nevada

July 28-31 (12-3 p.m.)             USA Team Training                                University of Nevada-Las Vegas

August 1                                   USA Basketball Showcase                       Thomas & Mack Center, UNLV,

Blue-White Exhibition Game                  Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

August 14-16                         USA Training / Exhibition Game – Chicago, Illinois

August 14-15                           USA Team Training                                Chicago, Illinois

August 16                                 USA vs. Brazil                                         United Center, Chicago, Illinois

 

 

August 18-22                         USA Training / Exhibition Games – New York, New York

August 18-19, 21                     USA Team Training                                New York, New York

August 20                                 USA vs. Dominican Republic                  Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

August 22                                 USA vs. Puerto Rico                                Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

 

 

August 24-26                         USA Training / Exhibition Game – Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), Spain

August 24-25                           USA Team Training                                Gran Canaria, Spain

August 26                                 USA vs. Slovenia                                     Gran Canaria Arena, Gran Canaria, Spain

 

 

August 30-September 14      FIBA Basketball World Cup – Spain

Aug. 30                                    USA vs. Finland                                      Bilbao, Spain

Aug. 31                                    USA vs. Turkey                                      Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 2                                     USA vs. New Zealand                              Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 3                                     USA vs. Dominican Republic                   Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 4                                     USA vs. Ukraine                                     Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 6                                     Round of 16                                            Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 9                                     Quarterfinals                                           Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 11                                   Semifinals                                               Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 13                                   Bronze Medal Game                                Madrid, Spain

Sept. 14                                   Gold Medal Game                                    Madrid, Spain

 

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.

Tristan Thompson expected to return to Cavaliers Tuesday, come off bench

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could play for the first time since Nov. 1 on Tuesday against Atlanta.

Thompson has been sidelined with a strained left calf. The team initially said Thompson would be out for up to four weeks, but he said Monday that timeline was inaccurate and that his injury was more serious. Thompson did not divulge any other details about the injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue says Thompson will not start when he returns, meaning Kevin Love will remain at center. Thompson says he’s fine with a reserve role and made it clear he’s willing to do whatever Lue needs.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of 15 and their defense has improved dramatically over the past month.

Thompson says he’ll have the same mindset on the floor as always and “just be myself. Being myself has worked out pretty well for me.”