Wednesday And-1 links: FIBA wants 3-on-3 basketball in Olympics

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like I love a good IPA.

• Forget the under-23 age limit stuff, what international basketball governing body FIBA wants to see in the 2016 Olympics (or soon after) is a new 3-on-3 tournament. They are promoting 3-on-3 events world wide, are doing rankings and basically want this to be the beach volleyball of basketball. They are pushing this hard. Seriously. And no, we couldn’t just slap some NBA players together last minute, you’d have to qualify at tournaments around the globe. It all sounds a little crazy, but as somebody getting plenty of FIBA material sent to him, trust me they are pushing for this.

• By the way, NBA Commissioner David Stern was awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee. Which I guess is a big deal and all.

• Tim Grover’s gym in Chicago — where Michael Jordan worked out in the day and where Jordan invested $1.5 million later — is headed to foreclosure. The place still draws big name NBA players like Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant to work out there, but that’s not paying the bills.

• Great series of stories looking at the biggest factors in the Warriors upcoming season and what it will take for them to make the playoffs, by Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com. Here are the top three: 1) Andrew Botgut stays healthy; 2) Stephen Curry stays healthy; 3) Mark Jackson really steps up into the role of coach.

• Here’s a good look at what Team USA might look like for 2016 in Rio.

USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo praises Kevin Love, says winning a gold will never get old and he is in for Rio in 2016.

• Danny Granger bought a new home in Los Angeles (where he spends his off-seasons) from Kevin Williamson — the guy behind the “Scream” series and the executive producer of “Dawson’s Creek.” That’s so LA.

• The Jazz have the “problem” of having both Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors to play the four spot. One way that could rectify it, give Millsap some run at the three every night.

• Expect Jason Richardson to start at the three in Philly.

• Byron Scott is saying Tristan Thompson is the most improved Cavalier this summer. Take that with some salt, we need to see him in games before we buy in.

• Kyrie Irving reportedly told just-drafted Cavalier Dion Waiters he better improve his conditioning before training camp.

• The Rhino, Craig Smith told CSNNW.com signed in Israel because he was “tired of being a roster filler.” He wanted minutes he wasn’t going to get in the NBA, so he went to the Holy Land.

• The Rockets waived center Josh Harrellson as part of them picking up Carlos Delfino.

• The Bucks have reportedly lost their interest in unrestricted free agent Mickael Pietrus.

• Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has requested a judge reduce his 36-month probation term by three months. After he did jail time. But yes, totally use him as the cornerstone of your argument the NBA is fixed. He’s very credible.

• Here is Stan Van Gundy saying the Magic organization handled the Dwight Howard situation poorly and they got what they deserved.

• Bob Ryan will be missed.

Dikembe Mutombo to receive Sager Strong Award

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hall of Fame basketball player Dikembe Mutombo will receive the Sager Strong Award at this year’s NBA Awards show.

The award is named for longtime Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager and presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.

Mutombo’s honor was announced Tuesday by the NBA and Turner.

The four-time Defensive Player of the Year created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve conditions for people in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital has treated nearly a quarter of a million people since opening in 2007.

He will receive a colorful suit jacket, the kind Sager fashioned during his years on air before dying of leukemia. The award will be presented on June 25 in Santa Monica, California.

Former New Orleans coach Monty Williams was last year’s inaugural recipient.

Kyle Kuzma says Lonzo Ball hitting weight room hard this offseason

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It wasn’t just Lonzo Ball‘s awkward jumper that was a problem for him, so was his finishing around the rim — Ball shot less than 50 percent in the restricted area and 43.6 percent inside eight feet. In today’s NBA, he has to become more of a consistent scoring threat to open up his passing lanes.

Part of that is Ball getting physically stronger, something that also would help him avoid injuries and play in more than 52 games (what he did as a rookie). That part he is working on already, Kyle Kuzma told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Consistency in the weight room, that is the biggest thing,” Kuzma said on Tuesday of what he has seen out of Ball this offseason so far. “He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time. You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”

The Lakers are counting on the development of their young core — Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, etc. — as well as free agents they can attract this summer to lift them into the playoffs next season.

Magic Johnson told Ball this is going to be the most important summer of his life, that now he has to put in the work to take his body and game to the next level. To play like a No. 2 pick.

So far, so good.

Re-watch highlights from the final minutes of Houston’s series-tying win

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After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team ran out of gas, which is what led to their 3-of-18 fourth-quarter shooting and just 12 points. There’s some truth to that, particularly with Andre Iguodala out forcing other guys into the rotation and a heavier load on the stars.

But give the Rockets credit here.

Part of what wore down the Warriors was fantastic pressure defense from Houston that made Golden State really work on offense. As Golden State got tired, players settled for midrange jumpers, not getting to the rim much (three times in the quarter) and not having the legs under their threes (0-of-6 in the quarter).

Meanwhile, it wasn’t pretty, but James Harden and Chris Paul were making plays.

Check out those plays again in the video above — we finally got a good game in a series, we should savor that.

Steve Kerr on Warriors’ late possession vs. Rockets: “I wanted the timeout”

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The Houston Rockets leveled the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night by a margin of 95-92. The win for the Rockets was ugly, but it leveled the series at 2-2 heading back to Houston.

It was a close game down the stretch, and it looked like Golden State’s last chance to get the win was going to come on a possession with 11 seconds to go following a missed James Harden jumper.

The Warriors immediately turned up the floor and did not call a timeout. The resulting possession was messy, and it wound up ending on a difficult Klay Thompson turnaround jumper. Golden State would get another shot at a 3-pointer with half a second left thanks to a foul on Thompson’s miss, but many were still left wondering why Steve Kerr did not choose to call a timeout during the possession before.

Kerr addressed the decision after the game.

Via Twitter:

You sort of have to side with Kerr in principle, but if you’d seen the way the Warriors played the rest of that fourth quarter you would probably err on calling a timeout and letting them set something up. Curry was 1-of-8 in the fourth, Durant shot poorly most of the game, and Golden State scored 12 total points in the final period.

When you consider Curry got a look at a wide open 3-pointer in the corner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock when the Warriors did call a timeout on the next possession, it makes it look even worse.

In any case, Houston beat out Golden State in a close game and we’re headed back to Texas for Game 5 on Thursday.