Spanish basketball fans should buy Mr. and Mrs. Gasol a dinner and a nice bottle of wine.
It’s because of their sons — Pau and Marc Gasol — that Spain is the champions of European basketball for the second time in a row. Spain beat France 98-85 in the championship game of EuroBasket Sunday to earn the title. France and Spain both earned automatic berths into the 2012 London Olympics by reaching the finals, which in and of itself is a huge win for France.
Pau Gasol had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the title game and was the steady force throughout the tournament. Mark Gasol had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks against France.
The tournament MVP however went to former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro, and deservedly so. He had 27 points in the final game and outplayed Tony Parker (who had 25 and carried the French offense throughout the tournament). Navarro had 25 or more points in all of Spain’s elimination games.
The French team is loaded with NBA talent — Joakim Noah had 11 points but fouled out, Boris Diaw had 12 and Nicolas Batum had 10.
Russia, Macedonia, Greece and Lithuania all did well enough this tournament to earn berths in the pre-Olympic second chance qualifying tournament next July. That tournament features the countries from around the globe that just missed out on earning a berth this year fighting for one of three last-chance spots in the games.
From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:
Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?
Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.
“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”
Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.
At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?
Let’s just let it play out.
Remember when the NBA cracked down on hazing?
It was 2013, and the Miami Dolphins were in the midst of a bullying scandal. The NBA wanted to avoid similar problems.
But enforcement of the NBA’s guidelines was clearly fleeting, a temporary overreaction to the Dolphins’ issues.
By the very next season Andre Drummond and the Pistons were hazing rookie Spencer Dinwiddie.
Kristian Winfield of SB Nation:
Thankfully, Dinwiddie appears to take this in good fun. Context matters, and if the team welcomed him overall, this could be just a harmless prank.
And Dinwiddie has gotten revenge – flourishing with the Nets, including hitting a game-winner at Detroit last season.
LeBron James sent Magic Johnson an ardent happy-birthday tweet last year. Then, LeBron eventually provided the best gift imaginable – signing with Johnson’s Lakers.
I think Johnson is having a good 59th birthday today. But I can’t say for certain – because the video he posted is pixelated and has distorted audio:
That prompted Lonzo Ball to tweet:
That’d be a pretty nice gift. But I don’t think it’ll endear Ball over LeBron.
There’s reportedly friction between Jimmy Butler and his Timberwolves teammates, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
It’s not hard to see why. Butler pulled himself up from the bottom and has developed an understanding of how he got here. He has shown little patience for those who don’t match his work ethic and competitiveness. The younger Wiggins and Towns are former No. 1 picks who seem too content at times.
Anyway, Butler posted this photo to Instagram:
Butler appears to be talking – almost certainly in jest – about his trainer (Chris Johnson), agent (Bernie Lee) and chef (Christian Bowman). After all, those three are behind him in the picture.
A commenter brought up Wiggins and Towns, saying Butler should lead those two, and Butler shot back:
This has gotten spun into evidence of strife in Minnesota. I don’t see it. That strikes me as a retort to the commenter, not a shot at Wiggins and Towns.
Besides, if you’re looking for evidence of the Timberwolves’ internal problems, there’s more than enough elsewhere.