Dan Feldman

Andrew Bogut wants Australia targeting gold, not just its first medal

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The Australia men’s basketball team has never medaled in the Olympics, thrice finishing fourth.

But the Aussies could land on the podium this year.

Australia has been the second-most impressive team in Rio – thumping France, beating Serbia and challenging the United States. The Australians should be heavily favored against China and Venezuela, and then it’s on to the knockout stage.

There, Boomer center Andrew Bogut wants his teammates aiming higher than the program’s first medal.

Bogut, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“No disrespect to the U.S., but we don’t want to go into the tournament aiming for second or fourth or ninth,” said Bogut, who had 15 points on seven-of-nine shooting. “You should go in with the mindset of trying to be first, and if they beat you they beat you.

“Just like an NBA team, you want to have the goal of trying to be there at the end. What’s the point of playing otherwise? So I think we had that mindset from the start, and the guys were kind of afraid to say, ‘gold medal.’ They’d say ‘Let’s get a medal,’ and we said as a group, ‘No, let’s go for gold,’ and then we’ll live with what we get after that if we don’t get it.”

This is the right mindset to take for now. But if the Australians end up with the silver or bronze medal, they should be proud of their showing.

Team USA is a juggernaut. There’s no shame in placing second or third this year.

With Ben Simmons, Dante Exum and Thon Maker in the pipeline, the Australians could build on this success and be even more dangerous in 2020.

Steve Kerr: Warriors changed Finals strategy due to Stephen Curry’s health

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 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)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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By the time the 2016 NBA Finals began, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was stating at every turn that Stephen Curry was not injured.

About that…

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

Kerr now concedes that Curry’s condition – he later sustained an ankle injury and an elbow contusion – resulted in a few strategic limitations.

“We made a few adjustments in terms of play-calling and actions that we tried to run,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.comin a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “But there’s only so much of that you can do.

“It’s still about flow and rhythm and pace. We tried a few different things – and let’s not forget, he was phenomenal in a few games.”

Curry had his moments during the Finals, but for an MVP, he fell way short of expectations.

How much of that was injury, and how much was the Cavaliers? We’ll never know the exact breakdown, but both probably contributed.

Cleveland schemed to limit Curry and Klay Thompson, and the Warriors built a 3-1 lead by allowing other players to take advantage. Kyrie Irving is also a tough matchup for Curry defensively, because Irving’s elite ball-handling negates Curry’s top defensive skill, using his quick hands to get steals.

Still, Curry didn’t appear to be moving as well as usual. The Cavs targeted him in pick-and-rolls, exposing him as a liability.

This obviously won’t take away from the Cavaliers’ title. They earned that. (Just as Golden State earned its 2015 championship with Irving and Kevin Love injured.)

But it adds a “what if?” to the discourse – just as Irving’s and Love’s injuries did a year ago.

Obviously, those Cleveland stars were sidelined completely and Curry was at least healthy enough to play. But the 2016 Finals – which came down to the wire in Game 7 – were far closer than the 2015 series. Any small factor could’ve swung the result.

NBA to unveil 2016-17 schedule tonight

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 09:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks at a sheet of paper during a time out of their game against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on March 9, 2016 in Sacramento, 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)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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The 2016-17 schedule has slowly leaked. See here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Soon, we’ll get the full slate.

NBA PR:

The NBA’s 2016-17 game and broadcast schedules will be released tonight at 5:45 p.m. ET.

The big questions:

  • Who else plays on Christmas besides Warriors-Cavaliers and Knicks-Celtics?
  • Which teams face the most and fewest back-to-backs and four-in-fives?
  • On a team-by-team basis, how does the season arc appear to shape up?

Why Monty Williams is coaching Team USA to honor his late wife

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 20:  Assistant coach Monty Williams (L) of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team talks with sportscaster Sage Steele during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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When Monty Williams left the Thunder coaching staff following the sudden and tragic death of his wife, he still reportedly planned to continue as a Team USA assistant.

Devoting time to his five children made sense. But why was he so set on working the Rio Olympics?

It’s due to something his late wife, Ingrid Williams, once told him.

Williams, via Hannah Storm of ESPN:

When I was in Orlando playing – this was like 17 years ago – she told me, she said, “You’re going to be in the Olympics one day,” out of the blue, just unprompted. I looked at her, and I was like, “I’m a solid player, but I don’t think they’re going to have me on the Olympic team.” And she didn’t even respond. She just looked at me.

She was right. USA Basketball hired Williams as Mike Krzyzewski’s assistant coach in 2013, so these are Williams’ first Olympics. He even brought his five children to Rio to share the experience with him.

It’s a great moment for a family that has endured so much – and a tribute to Ingrid.

In the above video – well worth watching in full – Monty also explains how she served as a guiding light for his powerful eulogy and how energized he is by coaching again. He’ll reportedly work for the Spurs next season.

Australian swimmer sees Kevin Durant, nearly vomits, wins gold

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10:  Gold medalist Kyle Chalmers of Australia poses during the medal ceremony for the Men's 100m Freestyle Final on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Team USA’s basketball stars watched Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky swim, and the NBA players definitely appeared to enjoy the show.

Not as much as an Australian swimmer enjoyed seeing Kevin Durant near the pool.

Kyle Chalmers, via The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Last night I was walking over to my semifinals and Kevin Durant walked in front of me,” Chalmers told reporters in Rio, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “To be honest with you I almost vomited. My jaw dropped. I was that excited and nervous. It was just amazing for me.”

“I watch Kevin Durant’s MVP speech before every single race and I watch a highlights video of him,” Chalmers said. “Our team manager actually grabbed him last night and got a video of him saying he watched me swim and good luck which was really exciting.

“They actually had to show it to me this morning because they knew I wouldn’t be able to focus if I saw it tonight before my race – I’m a big fan.

Chalmers won gold in the 100-meter freestyle. He also posted his Durant video:

Received the best goodluck message this morning – thankyou @easymoneysniper

A video posted by Kyle Chalmers (@kyle_chalmers3) on

This is very cool and all, but did Durant call him Karl?