Kurt Helin

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Croatia upsets Spain 72-70 as Dario Saric blocks Pau Gasol’s last shot

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Dario Saric blocked Pau Gasol‘s shot just before time expired, preserving Croatia’s 72-70 upset of Spain in an Olympic men’s basketball Sunday night.

Croatia scored seven straight points to take the lead down the stretch, then held on when Saric, who was still limping a bit after banging his leg on a pick shortly before the play, rose high to block Gasol’s shot under the basket.

Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets scored 23 points for the Croatians, who got the tiebreaking basket from Krunoslav Simon with about 1 1/2 minutes left. Saric, the former lottery pick bound for the Philadelphia 76ers, have five points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Gasol had 26 points for Spain, the silver medalists in the last two Olympics, while Nikola Mirotic added 19.

Kyle Lowry’s ode of appreciation for DeMar DeRozan

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As part of the recent players’ union awards, Kyle Lowry was voted best teammate on the Raptors.

Now you can see why. He is in Rio with fellow Raptor DeMar DeRozan and posted this on Instagram.

This is a real friendship , this is a real bother, this is us forreal!!! Words can only explain so much to what this dude means to me so it's not going even matter what i say because words can't explain how important our friendship is to me. Thank you for being you at all time no matter what from DAY1( even though you ain't pass me the ball back when I 1st got to the team😂😂jk) but we've grown as men, fathers , sons, and everything else in the last 4 years and most importantly we've done it TOGETHER!! I could go on and on but I ain't because you soft and might cry when you read it so imma stop now 😂😂. I love you bro that's real talk, no matter what happens ever in life we still gone be brothers!! Happy life day !!!! #youknowyoustillmylilbro #dinneronmebecasueitsyourbirthday #1-3equals4bro😂😂 #SIKE#ineedthemostexpensivemeal #hadtocropoutcuzbigassheadlol #youstilldontpassmetheballenoughlol #brothers#lovebro#COMP10 #donewiththismushystufflol

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That friendship is only going to get stronger with the bond of a gold medal as members of Team USA.

Luke Walton went to Rams training camp to learn from Jeff Fisher

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Luke Walton has the highest profile coaching job in Los Angeles. Jeff Fisher is suddenly right behind him.

New Lakers’ coach Walton went to Rams practice this week to watch new-to-Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher and how he runs a practice. Walton said he just came looking to learn in an interview with the Rams’ official site.

“I came down with an open mind. I know it’s obviously different sports, but coaching to me is coaching. It’s how you relate to the players and different strategies.”

Fisher has coached in the NFL since Forest Gump was in movie theaters. Or as long as Dakota Fanning has been alive. When he took his first NFL coaching job, everyone was using Netscape Navigator to get around the Web. Let’s just say Fisher has been at this a while, he’s learned a lot of lessons, some of which he might be able to pass along to a young hoops coach.

Walton isn’t the first NBA coach to see what they can crib from a football coach — Erik Spoelstra went to watch Chip Kelly’s practices at Oregon, for example. In terms of structure, in terms of relating to players, there certainly are things that can be learned.

What Walton really could use is Brandon Ingram to turn out to be as good as Todd Gurley.

Paul George trying to set up meeting with French gymnast who shattered leg

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Samir Ait Said is one of the biggest — and saddest — stories of the Olympics so far. On the first day of competition, Said fractured his tibia when he tried to land his vault, it was a gruesome moment that went viral (you can see the video by following this link, but know this is not for people with queasy stomachs).

Paul George knows what that is like.

The Team USA forward who suffered a compound fracture his leg in a USA exhibition in Las Vegas two years ago — and recovered, making it back to the Olympics — wants to meet with Said, reports Jeff Zillgitt at the USA Today.

U.S. Olympic basketball player Paul George is trying to set up a meeting with injured French gymnast Samir Ait Said. George has a level of empathy that most people don’t….

It was his idea to meet with Said, according to USA Basketball spokesperson Craig Miller. However, it is uncertain when or if that meeting can occur. Miller said Said was not yet accepting visitors as of Sunday afternoon.

Said just had surgery to repair the broken Tibia. He said in a Facebook video he plans to be back for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

George can tell him the rehab is grueling and unrelenting, but he can get back and succeed — George had 15 points in Team USA’s first game in Rio, a thrashing of China. Hopefully Said has the same success.

Looking back: Detroit Piston’s Top 10 plays of last season

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The last post on this site focused on the future of the Pistons — that owner Tom Gores is willing to pay to win and keep this young core together.

Time to look back at the bright moments from that core from last season — the Detroit Pistons top 10 plays.

Those Pistons made the playoffs last year and took a step forward, and most pundits and fans (myself included) expect another one next season. Maybe into the top four in the East, maybe into the second round of the playoffs. We’ll see if they can get that far, but this is a program on the rise, one that certainly had a fun last season.