After the game Tuesday came the moment this 2012 Team USA felt like the original Dream Team.
Following the USA’s crushing Tunisia, in the handshake line Tunisian forward Mohamed Hadidane (who scored 11 points in the game) took off his shoe and handed it to Kobe Bryant with a sharpie and asked for his autograph. Right there on the court. Kobe obliged.
My favorite part of that was it was Hadidane’s own shoe, right off his foot. The shoe he had just played in.
We saw this kind of thing all the time with the original Dream Team back in 1992. Back then players on the other teams worshiped these NBA stars.
But that was a very different basketball world. Every team other than Tunisia in the Olympic Tournament has current and former NBA players — guys not just intimidated by the presence of Kobe Bryant (or LeBron James or Kevin Durant or… you get the idea). That rubs off on other players. Even a team like the USA’s Thursday opponent Nigeria, which has just two guys who have seen the NBA hardwood (Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu), don’t play in awe of the NBA stars anymore. The impact of those two guys permeates the team. And on the elite teams (Spain, Argentina) these are basically NBA squads.
But Hadidane was not going to be denied — he got his fandom geek on and was proud.
Did the Warriors deal Rockets a knockout blow in Western Conference finals?
The Warriors beat the Rockets by 41 (!) in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.
Biggest playoff win in Golden State franchise history.
Biggest playoff loss in Houston franchise history.
Biggest playoff loss ever handed to any team as good as the 65-17 Rockets.
“At the end of the day, it’s one win,” Warriors forward Draymond Greensaid. “It doesn’t matter if you win by 40 or if you win by one.”
Maybe it matters more than Green is letting on.
Golden State was the 17th team to -win a playoff game by more than 40 points. Of the previous 16, 15 – including the last 14 – won the series:
The only exception came in my favorite playoff series of all-time, the best-of-three 1956 Western Division semifinals:
Game 1: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
Game 2: Minneapolis Lakers 133, St. Louis Hawks 75
Game 3: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
So, teams to win a playoff game by more than 40 are 15-0 in best-of-seven or best-of-five series. Will the Rockets buck the trend?
They can make adjustments. Maybe Houston’s strong regular season – better than any above blown-out team’s – indicates a rare capability to recover from this. Andre Iguodala‘s injury hurts Golden State. Teams sometimes make historic comebacks from blowouts, including against the Warriors.
But that Golden State ran toppled the Rockets so decisively in Game 3 suggests the Warriors are hitting a gear Houston won’t keep up with.
Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell receive, Jayson Tatum one vote shy of, unanimous All-Rookie first-team selections
Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson are the only selections I’d quibble with. Those two were just so destructive with shooting efficiency and defense. To be fair, they were pressed into larger roles than they were ready for on bad teams. But if the goal is picking the rookies who had the best seasons (what I aim to do), Smith and Jackson didn’t cut it.
However, some voters give more credence to long-term potential, and Smith and Jackson both have plenty of that. Other voters are drawn by bigger per-game numbers, which Smith and Jackson produced in their larger roles. So, it’s minimally surprising they made it.
That one first-team vote for Jackson, though? That’s odd – and it was enough to get him on the second team by one voting point over Heat center Bam Adebayo.
After climbing into striking distance of first-round, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie staying in draft
Georgia Tech sophomore shooting guard Josh Okogie nailed the combine. He aced his athletic testing, posting some of the best quickness numbers in the event’s history, and impressed even more with his 5-on-5 play.
Okogie appears to be a borderline first-round pick. NBA teams covet versatile wings like him.
Just 19 until September, Okogie is younger than freshmen like DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and Michael Porter Jr. So, Okogie looks better on the aging curve than the typical sophomore.
At 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, he can defend three – maybe four – positions. He freelances a little too much defensively, but at least he’s active.
Okogie was probably miscast as a go-to offensive player at Georgia Tech. NBA teams won’t similarly lean on his deficient areas – court vision, ball-handling and finishing. He’ll probably be more efficient just spotting up and cutting.
The biggest variable in Okogie’s game is 3-point shooting. Will he reliably make NBA 3s? His form offers reason to believe, but not reason to be convinced.
After seeing video, Milwaukee mayor expressing concern about police conduct in arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown
Mayor Tom Barrett says he’s viewed police video of Brown’s arrest over an alleged parking violation. He did not offer details but has said he has questions about how police acted. The video might be released this week.
Police have shown the body-camera footage to some local officials, including a closed session of a Common Council committee.
Brown was arrested in a Walgreens parking lot about 2 a.m. Jan. 26. Officers had been checking on a vehicle parked across two handicap spaces. Brown was not charged.
The Bucks signed the 6-foot-6 guard from SMU last summer in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.