Luis Scola moves into No. 2 spot on World Cup scoring list

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At 39, Luis Scola is not slowing down.

He’s moving up.

Scola climbed into the No. 2 spot on FIBA’s all-time World Cup scoring list on Monday, his 23 points helping Argentina hold off Nigeria 94-81 in a Group B game at Wuhan, China, to clinch a berth in the second round.

Scola – whose five World Cup appearances are tied for the most by any player – also had 10 rebounds for Argentina (2-0). He’s up to 611 points in his World Cup career, passing Australia’s Andrew Gaze’s total of 594, and is now second only to Brazilian scoring great Oscar Schmidt’s 906 points in the tournament.

“As I have said before, this is more than a game to me,” Scola said. “I love representing my country.”

Gaze, working in China as a broadcaster for this World Cup, offered a congratulatory message when Scola passed him on the scoring list.

“You’re a champion,” Gaze said. “You’ve dedicated yourself to the national team for many years and I can’t be more happy for you and your achievement.”

Scola was the youngest player on Argentina’s team that went to the 2002 world championships, the precursor to the World Cup.

Those days are long gone.

He’s now the oldest player on Argentina’s roster by more than 11 years, with the second-oldest being 28-year-old Facundo Campazzo. Of the 384 players in this World Cup, only 40-year-old Angola forward Eduardo Mingas and 39-year-old Brazil forward Alex Garcia are older than Scola. Garcia has him by just about two months.

Monday was Scola’s 35th career World Cup game, and his 29th reaching double figures in scoring.

“He’s our leader,” Campazzo said.

Josh Okogie led Nigeria (0-2) with 18 points.

ITALY 92, ANGOLA 61

At Foshan, Italy outscored Angola 36-6 from 3-point range and had little trouble improving to 2-0 in Group D.

Marco Belinelli scored 17 points to lead five Italians in double figures. Yanick Moreira had 15 points and eight rebounds for Angola (0-2).

VENEZUELA 87, IVORY COAST 71

At Beijing, Heissler Guillent scored 28 points as Venezuela (1-1) got a much-needed win to keep its hopes of advancing out of Group A alive.

Charles Abouo led Ivory Coast (0-2) with 19 points.

TUNISIA 79, IRAN 67

At Guangzhou, Tunisia ran out to an early double-digit lead and bounced back from a blowout loss to Spain in its Group C opener.

Salah Mejri finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds for Tunisia (1-1), going 5 for 9 from 3-point range. Aaron Geramipoor scored 18 for Iran (0-2).

OFF DAY

The U.S., which opened Sunday with a win over the Czech Republic, took Monday off. The Americans plan to hold a shootaround in Shanghai on Tuesday before their second game of the tournament against Turkey later that night.

TUESDAY SCHEDULE

Group E: Japan (0-1) vs. Czech Republic (0-1); U.S. (1-0) vs. Turkey (1-0)

Group F: Montenegro (0-1) vs. New Zealand (0-1); Greece (1-0) vs. Brazil (1-0)

Group G: Germany (0-1) vs. Dominican Republic (1-0); Jordan (0-1) vs. France (1-0)

Group H: Australia (1-0) vs. Senegal (0-1); Lithuania (1-0) vs. Canada (0-1)

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

Former Clippers coach Doc Rivers and former Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni are 76ers candidates
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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

He said later in the interview he wants a ring, he wants “hardware” because that is needed to show you are one of the greats, and he would consider leaving the Pacers to get it. But that wasn’t a short-term thing. (Also, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor and a lot of other guys would like to talk with you about that attitude.)

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.

Adam Silver: Goal is to start next season in January, in team arenas

Adam Silver
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The NBA bubble — which has worked and gotten the league to the NBA Finals — may be a one-off.

The goal for next season is a January start with games being played in team’s arenas, even if fans are not yet filling the buildings, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his annual address before Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday.

“As for fans in seats, it’s certainly our goal, but it’s dependent on some additional advancements. Rapid testing may be the key here,” Silver said. 

Silver refused to be locked down to any details — most people around the league expect a February start, or later — and said the league might have to return to a bubble, or hybrid-bubble, for part of next season. However, he hoped testing and technology would allow NBA games in NBA buildings, with players going back to their homes at the end of the night.

This is dependent on rapid testing and where the virus is in our nation as we get into December and January than it is on a vaccine.

“Based on everything I’ve read, there’s almost no chance that there will be a vaccine, at least that is widely distributed, before we start the next season,” Silver said. “So I do not see the development of a vaccine as a prerequisite.”

The other part of starting next season is figuring out the league finances and setting a salary cap. The league’s revenue took a serious hit with around 20% of home games canceled, then the playoffs delayed and moved to a bubble. Silver said salary cap and other negotiations are taking place between the NBA and the players’ union. The league has set a date for the 2020 NBA Draft — Nov. 18 — however, the start of free agency, training camps, and the tip-off date for next season are still open and being discussed.

“I don’t have expectations of labor issues… I think while no doubt there will be issues and difficult negotiations ahead, I think we’ll work them out as we always have,” Silver said.

Those are the future. For now, Silver was clearly proud that the bubble worked and that there could be a lesson there for the nation.

“The basic protocols that we’re all following are working,” Silver said. “I mean, the testing is only needed to demonstrate that at this point. By wearing a mask, by exercising appropriate protocols, hand washing, appropriate cleanliness, et cetera, by maintaining physical distance… that’s what’s working.”

Also of note from Silver’s press conference, he was asked about there being just four Black head coaches in the NBA right now after Nate McMillan (Indiana), Alvin Gentry (New Orleans), and Doc Rivers (L.A. Clippers), all were let go (there are currently six open coaching jobs around the league).  Silver said he has had talks with teams that have had openings, making sure a diverse field of applicants is considered, but added the NBA has not thought of adding a “Rooney Rule” to the hiring process.

“I know we can do better,” Silver said.

 

NBA playoffs, Finals schedule 2020: Date, time, matchup for every game

2020 NBA Finals preview
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It may be five months after they were originally planned, but the NBA playoff schedule has reached the point the 2020 Finals are here.

It is down to the final two. There is LeBron James leading the Lakers against the team where he first won his ring. And then there is the gritty Miami team that nobody expected to be here — except themselves.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except for one two-day break between Game 4 and Game 5
Even more members of families for the players, coaches, and team staff are in the bubble for the Finals.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

NBA FINALS

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

Game 1: Lakers 116, Heat 98
Game 2: Oct. 2, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Game 3: Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 4: Oct. 6, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5: Oct. 9, 9 p.m. (ABC)*
Game 6: Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)*
Game 7: Oct. 13, 9 p.m. (ABC)*
*If necessary.

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Finals

No. 5 Miami beat No. 3 Boston 4-2

Western Conference Finals

No. 1 L.A. Lakers beat No. 3 Denver 4-1

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0