Kurt Helin

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three

James Harden vs. Klay Thompson at Drew League (VIDEO)

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We saw it in the Western Conference Finals: James Harden vs. Klay Thompson.

It happened again this week at the Drew League playoffs out in Los Angeles. The two NBA stars led teams against each other in the pro-am event and put on a little show. Harden dropped 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lead his team to the win.

It doesn’t exactly make up for the playoffs, but Harden will take it.

Hat tip to Eye on Basketball.

Kevin Durant was back on court, swatting kids shots, at youth camp

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder
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If you’re looking for positives in Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant was back on the court and swatting shots again this week.

Of course, he was blocking the shots of five-year-olds (give or take). Again. It’s his thing (hat tip Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie).

He wasn’t done there.

I pity the future for Durant’s own kids in driveway games.

Durant is expected to be cleared for contact in the next month. While you can bet Scott Brooks takes it easy on him during training camp, Durant should be fully ready to go by the start of the Thunder’s season.

Stephen Curry’s mouthguard hanging halfway out of his mouth now in NBA 2K16 (VIDEO)

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans
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It is one of Stephen Curry’s signatures — his mouth guard dangling halfway out of his mouth during free throws and other stoppages in play.

That’s now in NBA 2K16, too. They are into the details like that.

We already showed you a few of the screenshots from the game, set to be released in October. Once again 2K Sports is getting the details right and pushing the edge with this game.

Gerald Green talks about embarrassment, getting past losing part of ring finger on right hand

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns
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It’s a story we’ve talked about before at PBT: When Gerald Green was in sixth grade, he was playing hoops on a makeshift rim on top of a doorway, while wearing his mother’s class ring. Green went up to dunk, the ring caught on an exposed nail, and it ripped the flesh off his finger down to the bone. The doctors had to amputate his ring finger on his right hand at the middle knuckle.

It’s as bad as it sounds.

Green was able to overcome that to become a future first-round NBA draft pick out of high school, win the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest, and have an eight-year NBA career (with a couple of seasons playing in Russia in the middle). That will continue this season with the Miami Heat.

Despite all that, it took a long time to get over the embarrassment of losing that finger, something Green talked about with Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

…when selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, came a moment of truth. “If you go back and look at the David Stern tape,” he said during a private moment Thursday about meeting the NBA commissioner, “when I go shake his hand I have my right hand in my pocket. He tells me, ‘Take your hand out of your pocket.’

“I always have been a little shy about that. But I think it’s getting better once I get older. I just want to be able to inspire people with that…

“I think what really hurt me were the aftereffects,” he said, “the getting made fun of, scared to talk about it because I was so ashamed of it, or always hiding my hand in my pocket.

“That was the thing that I had to go through. And as a little kid, obviously kids like to make fun of you because you have this or that. It was something I went through. But it taught me to be who I am today.”

The image of an NBA player in high school is he is the cool kid, the BMOC, the guy every other guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with. For some, that is the reality. But for some it is different — NBA players have had their difficult adjustments through their teenage years (they tend to be tall and awkward), just like the rest of us. The Lakers’ Roy Hibbert talked about that and his battles with depression openly recently.

If Green can use his story to help inspire some youth to accept who they are and face their challenges, then all the better.

Boban Marjanovic says he wants to play for Serbia at EuroBasket but it’s in Spurs’ hands

Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul v Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16
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The Spurs were clear in the letter they sent to the Serbian national team about their new signing, 7’3″ center Boban Marjanovic.

“After a physical exam, which included a MRI, San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanović has been diagnosed significant bony edema in his left ankle… As a result of these findings and in the best interest of his future health, Spurs officials have informed Marjanović and the Serbian Basketball Federation that, under the agreement between FIBA and the NBA, Marjanović will not be allowed to participate with the Serbian National Team in Eurobasket 2015.”

That doesn’t mean Marjanovic and the Serbians are happy about it. Both Marjanovic’s agent and the Serbian national team tried to get Gregg Popovich to change his mind, saying their pre-camp physical did not show an edema. Good luck with that.

Marjanovic explained the situation in an interview with the Serbian paper Blic, translated by Project Spurs.

“I’m so sorry for everything that happened, I had a great desire and motivation to play for the national team,” Marjanovic told Blic. “With impatience I waited start preparing the national team and work with the screen Djordjevic, but nothing is in my hands. From the first days of preparation there was a great atmosphere in the team, it’s a fantastic group of guys that I am convinced that it will be able to achieve the desired goal and placed on the Olympics.”

EuroBasket takes place this summer with the top two teams getting into the Olympics, and a few more qualifying for the Olympics play-in tournament next summer (in 2016, right before the Olympics). The USA has already qualified for the 12-team Olympic tournament in Rio. Host Brazil will get a spot if they pay FIBA some back dues/money over the next couple days, if not they have to play their way in. Because FIBA.

If Serbia can make it to the games in Rio — they did not qualify for the 2012 games in London — then Marjanovic can play. Maybe. It is Popovich and the Spurs.