When Spain chose which athlete would carry its flag into the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics, the soccer-mad country chose its most decorated and best athlete — Rafael Nada. The tennis powerhouse. Seriously, name a better athlete who has won more, or is more deserving of the honor.
But Nadal has pulled out due to an injured knee.
So now Lakers big man Pau Gasol gets the honor of carrying the flag, something he confirmed on his twitter account.
Very happy to be the carrier of the Spanish flag. One of the happiest moments of my career. Thanks Federations and COE!
Gasol led Spain to a silver medal four years ago in Beijing and they are the one team that has a serious shot at defeating the United States in London. As a two-time NBA champion he’s the best hoopster his country has ever produced.
Congrats to him. Still going home with another silver medal.
Not long after the trade sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia was announced, there were some Sixers fans were on Twitter planning the championship parade route.
Reality, of course, is never quite so simple. The Orlando Magic made that clear knocking off Philadelphia in Butler’s debut.
What should we expect from these Sixers now? I get into it in this latest PBT Extra. Expect exceptional defense. However, are the big three of Buter/Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons willing to make the sacrifices necessary to their game to win at the highest level? We will see.
Revenge is a dish best served with two seconds left in a tie game.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey – certainly not thrilled with the Raptors firing him earlier this year – guided his new team to a 106-104 win in his return to Toronto tonight. Detroit erased a 19-point second-half deficit and got the ball with two seconds left, giving Casey and Reggie Bullock chances to shine.
Casey drew up a great play, an alley-oop to Glenn Robinson III. But Pascal Siakam made an even better play to knock the ball out of bounds.
The Pistons’ second play of the possession proved even more effective, as Bullock slipped toward the rim and hit the game-winner.
What a satisfying victory for Casey.
The Warriors suspended Draymond Green one game for his argument with Kevin Durant during and after Golden State’s loss to the Clippers on Monday.
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
Jackie MacMullan on ESPN:
What about an internal fine? And what I was told this morning was that the rest of the players on this team didn’t support that, that the rest of the players on the team felt this had to be to done and that they’re all prepared, on that plane ride to Houston today, to get those guys together and put this behind them for now.
Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:
Green was surprised by the heavy-handedness. A fine was expected. Green had just come back from injury, giving him a rest day for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta and a private fine would have been an acceptable rebuke of his behavior. He was fined a few thousand dollars when he went after Kerr in the locker room in Oklahoma City in 2016. He didn’t think this incident was nearly as bad, so the punishment being drastically worse was shocking.
I wonder whether Green will feel as if the Warriors are ganging up on him. Many see his suspension as Golden State’s attempt to appease Durant before free agency, and the original issue escalated because Green thought there was already too much emphasis on Durant’s free agency. This could push a stubborn Green deeper into a corner.
Or he could realize his peers wanted him suspended and see that as a wakeup call. He might put more stock in that than Kerr’s point of view.
It’s too early to determine how this will go, but the starting point is apparently a divide between Green and everyone else.
The Celtics just had a 1-4 road trip, the lone win coming in overtime against the lowly Suns. Most Boston players (except Marcus Morris and, lately, Kyrie Irving) look out of sorts offensively.
Irving, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston:
Looking at this locker room, me being in my eighth year and being a ‘veteran’ as well as Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes. Right now I think it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, a 14-year vet that could kind of help us race along the regular season and understand it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint, when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do.
Al Horford is in his 12th season. His team, the Hawks then Celtics, have made the playoffs every season of his career.
I’m not sure Irving intended this as a slight of Horford. Irving certainly didn’t forget about Horford, whom Irving mentioned the sentence prior.
But I’d definitely understand if Horford felt slighted. He’s experienced enough to provide that veteran leadership. So is Irving for that matter.
Ultimately, these comments might prove benign, just more weird words from Irving. Still, they’re potentially significant enough to keep an eye on Boston’s leadership situation.