Kurt Helin

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DeAndre Jordan with the seated bank shot from the bench at USA practice


That’s just like Tim Duncan would have done it — the glass is your friend.

DeAndre Jordan is in Rio — he had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and was a +17 in the USA opening win against China — and when not taking pictures with gymnasts he is throwing in bank shots from the bench during practice.


I know you’re all now going to make free throw jokes in the comments, at least try to be creative when picking the low hanging fruit.

Have 20 minutes to watch the best crossovers of last season? You know you do.

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The fine folks at NBA.com compiled a video of the 100 best crossovers from last season.

While we can debate if all of them are true crossovers, they are great plays and someone took the time to put them all in one place for us to watch. The least we could do is watch them.

Tom Thibodeau thinks Team USA’s defense is good, could be better

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In its first outing of the Rio Olympics, Team USA held China to 38 percent shooting, 29 percent from three, forced 24 turnovers, and generally made every made bucket by China require an impressive shot from one of their skill players. The USA cruised to the win because of that defense.

Tom Thibodeau thought it was okay.

The never-pleased coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves was barking out defensive assignments during the game and said this to Marc Stein of ESPN after the contest.

“Every night you want the bar set high,” Thibodeau said. “So there’s a lot of things we did well, but I’m sure there are things that we could do a little bit better. And that’s what we want to keep our focus on.”

When a helpful reporter followed up by suggesting that the Americans had to have registered at least an “8 and a half” with the way they tormented China in a 119-62 rout, Thibodeau shot back: “I wish I had a professor in school like you.”

The USA’s first couple games of the Olympics are against teams they dominated in the exhibition run-up to Rio — first China, next a Venezuela team without a single NBA player on the roster.

But they will have tougher games coming up in the group play stage — France a team considered a medal contender before the games, and Australia, the team that beat France handily Saturday — and that’s when they will need their defense. Those teams have good talent (not the depth of it the USA has, but they have good players). You know Thibadeau will go into the film session saying “you got away with this against China, but do that against France and they will score easily.” That drive is what makes him so good.

But from a fan’s perspective, I’m not too worried about Team USA’s prospects in these games, and nothing in a 57-point win will have me feeling otherwise.

Knicks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo signs to play in Spain

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The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the fast-rising stars of the NBA.

His brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo also has a fascinating skill set, but has never quite been able to put it all together. After spending most of the last couple seasons with the Knicks’ D-League franchise — and having cups of coffee with the Knicks themselves — he is headed to Spain according to Spanish publication Gigantes, via Sportando.

Antetokounmpo averaged 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in Westchester of the D-League, but he was mostly a role player there. His length makes him a consistent defender, but he never developed a consistent offensive set of moves, mostly he’s just a threat (particularly in transition) because of his athleticism.

Maybe he will develop his game overseas and return.


Watch Team USA arrive in Rio (then later today watch their first game)

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Team USA has been in Rio for a couple of days — living quite comfortably on a luxury cruise ship, I might add — but before their first game on Saturday, let’s take a look back at their trip to Rio.

As for that first game, it is against China — a team they thrashed by more than 40 points in each of two exhibition games recently — and you can see it at 6 Eastern on NBC Sports Network, or streaming at NBCOlympics.com.