Three players who seem to be getting the most out of Team USA

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Participating in the FIBA World Championships for Team USA is largely about sacrifice. Players surrendering their games for the good of the team, and putting aside egos. But that doesn’t mean players aren’t getting anything out of it. For one, they’re being kept in better shape than they would be lounging all summer and occasionally going for a workout on their own schedule. For another, it affords them opportunities to work beyond their own game in a different setting to expand what they can do. Here’s a look at three players who so far seem to be getting the most, basketball-wise, out of the experience. 

1. Andre Iguodala: Iguodala is one of those players who everyone debates his value. Hyper-athletic, a terrific passer and a solid rebounder, he’s a wing that does it all. But consistently he’s been criticized for not being able to create his own shot, and for being more of a fill-in-all-the-gaps kind of player rather than a focus, despite the latter being his role his Philadelphia. But so far in Team USA play, he’s been arguably the most impressive player for Team USA outside of Durant. He’s actually been the initiator, and his combination of speed and hands on the perimeter have wreaked havoc on opposing guards. Iguodala also seems to be taking a leadership role, being vocal and rallying teammates. This could spell great things for Philadelphia if he can take that kind of jump. 
2. Eric Gordon: Gordon’s shooting has always been there, but it’s been good to see him working as a secondary spot-up option, given the needs of the Clippers. The idea of Blake Griffin and Gordon running the two-man game is pretty enticing. Gordon’s been good off the dribble but this role may suit him better. Combine that with his work on defense, and it’s been a huge win for him so far. This experience also probably helps with knowing what it’s like to play with real leaders. Seeing as how, well, it’s the Clippers. 
3. Kevin Love: Love’s doing pretty much what he always does, throwing great outlet passes, rebounding like mad, working hard inside and operating in the flow of the team. The best thing he’s getting out of Team USA? Getting things he hasn’t gotten in his NBA career. Good teammates, the trust of his coach, minutes, and appreciation. 

Jeremy Lamb hits game-winner despite Bismack Biyombo, others Hornets prematurely running on court to celebrate (video)

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The Hornets sure were excited for Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons tonight.

Too excited.

After Lamb hit a jumper to put Charlotte up two with 0.3 seconds left, several Hornets ran onto the court. Bismack Biyombo was nearly at halfcourt as Detroit tried to inbound! He was so far onto the court, I’m not even sure officials noticed him when dinging Malik Monk – closer to the bench –for the violation.

Ashley Holder:

The Pistons made a technical free throw to cut their deficit to one, but they still had to inbound from under their own basket. Their desperation pass was intercepted, and Charlotte held on for a 108-107 win.

Several Hornets were certainly relieved.

Crazily enough, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this.

Suns’ T.J. Warren fined $15k for inappropriate language toward official following ejection (video)

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Everyone on the Suns seems frustrated.

In Phoenix’s loss to the Clippers on Monday, T.J. Warren got ejected. And his outburst will cost him extra.

NBA release:

Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren has been fined $15,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a game official following his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

This wasn’t a lengthy exchange. Warren didn’t linger on the court complaining. He must have said something extremely harsh to warrant two technical fouls and a fine that quickly.

(Despite confusion, the foul preceding the ejection was called on Deandre Ayton, not Warren.)

Pacers star Victor Oladipo returns from 11-game absence

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When the Pacers ruled Victor Oladipo out indefinitely a couple weeks ago, it seemed gloomy.

But Indiana weathered the storm, going 7-4 without its best player.

Now, Oladipo is back. He started against the Bucks tonight.

I still think the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers and Bucks will comprise the Eastern Conference’s top tier by the end of the season. But the Pacers (17-10, fourth in East) have a chance to crash the party. They acquitted themselves well without Oladipo, and it should get only easier with their offensive focal point/top perimeter defender.

NBA promotes Bulls’ Mexico game with video of their bus bottoming out

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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The Bulls will play the Magic in Mexico City tomorrow.

Even amid all Chicago’s problems, that’s still a marquee game for the NBA as it expands its reach globally. So, the league is showcasing Chicago’s trip.

With unintentional hilarity.

NBA:

That sound eight seconds in is Chicago’s season.