LAS VEGAS (AP) — The spot that USA Basketball hopes to have in next year’s FIBA World Cup cannot be clinched nor lost on Friday, when the Americans play host to Uruguay to begin the second round of qualifying.
This much is certain: The road to China gets a whole lot smoother with a win.
Should the Americans beat Uruguay in Las Vegas on Friday night, they would be assured of having a two-game lead over the fourth-place team in Group E with five games left in qualifying. And that’s all that matters – to be guaranteed of reaching the World Cup, the U.S. needs only to finish in the top three of the group standings.
USA Basketball is being represented by a team of G-League players coached by Jeff Van Gundy through the qualifying process. FIBA changed its World Cup qualifying process this time around, placing most of the qualifying games in windows during in the middle of the NBA season, as well as other major leagues around the world. That, in practice, banned most country’s best players from competing. A few are taking part in this window, which is before NBA training camps open.
If — almost certainly when, but still officially “if” — the USA reaches next summer’s World Cup, USA Basketball will send a team of NBA stars selected from this summer’s mini-camp. That World Cup is also the primary qualifier for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got ejected a few days ago for kicking the ball into the crowd, his second technical foul of the game.
That outburst also got him fined.
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19
Players usually get fined $25,000 for throwing something into the stands. But sometimes, they get just a $10,000 fine for that, seemingly if it appears they didn’t intend for the object to reach the crowd.
Did Doncic mean to kick the ball as far as he did?
Who knows? But it seems he got the benefit of the doubt here.
The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried, importantly to them, before their game against the 76ers yesterday. With Clint Capela injured, Houston needed another big against Joel Embiid.
But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.
Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.
Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”
What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.
But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.
Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.
The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.
See, the Warriors are fallible.
Though Stephen Curry‘s mishaps coming during a blowout win undercuts the point.
Yes, the Grizzlies lost to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans by 20 last night. Results like that are why there’s thought Marc Gasol could leave Memphis.
But at least plays like this Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk on Nikola Mirotic provide hope for the Grizzlies’ future.
Jackson is a skilled 3-point shooter and rim-protector. Add a mean streak inside offensively, and the rookie could really take off.