Greece beats New Zealand for final spot in 2nd round of World Cup

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Team USA crushed Japan. Other results from the final day of the FIBA World Cup first round:

GREECE 103, NEW ZEALAND 97

Greece is headed to the second round of the World Cup after beating New Zealand 103-97 on Thursday in a showdown between teams that both had a shot at advancing.

Greece (2-1) was the last team to make the 16-team field for the second round. New Zealand (1-2) has to settle for the consolation bracket and will be one of the strongest teams in that 16-team pairing.

Greece jumped out to a nine-point lead in Nanjing after the first quarter, which was basically the winning edge in the Group F game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks led Greece with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Corey Webster led New Zealand with 31 points.

CZECH REPUBLIC 91, TURKEY 76

At Shanghai, the Czech Republic made it to the second round, and Turkey completed its collapse.

Vojtech Hruban scored 18 points and Ondrej Balvin finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds to take the second and final second-round spot from Group E. Patrick Auda also scored 16 points for the Czechs (2-1).

“We fought hard and in the end we wanted this game more than anybody else,” Balvin said.

Cedi Osman scored 24 points and Furkan Korkmaz added 16 for Turkey (1-2), which came within one-tenth of a second of beating the United States on Tuesday and wasted a five-point lead in overtime of that game before losing 92-91.

“We are very sorry,” Turkish assistant coach Recep Sen said after the second of two disappointing losses.

FRANCE 90, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 56

At Shenzhen, France and the Dominican Republic were both assured of making the second round. The French team’s emphatic victory left no doubt that it was the best team in Group G.

Nando De Colo led France (3-0) with 15 points and Rudy Gobert added 13. Victor Liz had 12 to lead the Dominican Republic (2-1).

AUSTRALIA 87, LITHUANIA 82

At Dongguan, Australia’s victory allowed it to top Group H with Lithuania finishing 2-1. They both go to the second round.

Australia was led by Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs with 23 points, while Aron Baynes of the Phoenix Suns added 21. Baynes also pulled down 13 rebounds.

Marius Grigonis was Lithuania’s top scorer with 19 points. Lukas Lekavicius added 15.

CANADA 82, SENEGAL 60

At Dongguan, Canada picked up its first victory in its final Group H game, and Senegal remained winless in three games. Both teams moved into the consolation round, playing for 17th to 32nd place.

Cory Joseph of the Sacramento Kings led Germany with 24 points and Kevin Pangos added 13 with five rebounds and five assists. Mouhammad Faye had 14 as Senegal’s top scorer.

BRAZIL 84, MONTENEGRO 73

At Nanjing, Brazil finished 3-0 to top Group F and moved into the second round. Montenegro lost all three and is headed to consolation-round play. Brazil had three players in double figures: Marcelinho Huertas with 16 points, Marquinhos Sousa with 13, and Alex Garcia with 11.

Derek Needham led Montenegro with 16 points and 10 assists.

GERMANY 96, JORDAN 62

At Shenzhen, Germany salvaged a victory in its last Group G match, and Jordan finished winless. Both move into the consolation round.

Max Kleber of the Dallas Mavericks led the Germans with 18 points and Danilo Barthel had 13. Ahmad Al Dwairi had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Jordan. Dar Tucker added 14.

FRIDAY SCHEDULE

SECOND ROUND

Group I: Poland (3-0) vs. Russia (2-1); Argentina (3-0), Venezuela (2-1).

Group J: Serbia (3-0) vs. Puerto Rico (2-1); Spain (3-0) vs. Italy (2-1).

CLASSIFICATION ROUND

Group M: Nigeria (1-2) vs. Ivory Coast (0-3); China (1-2) vs. Korea (0-3).

Group N: Angola (1-2) vs. Iran (0-3); Tunisia (1-2) vs. Philippines (0-3).

What will Rockets do at trade deadline? Send out Gordon? Bring in Collins?

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There’s a sense in league circles that this is the final season Houston will be okay with having one of the worst — as of today, the worst — record in the NBA. The Rockets hope to grab one of the big names at the top of the draft board this season, but they already have drafted Jalen Green at No. 2 (2021) and Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 3 (2022), plus made a draft night trade for Alperen Şengün (who is playing well). With cap space to spend and extensions coming up, the tanking days will be over.

How will that impact the Rockets at this trade deadline? Here are a few names to watch.

Kelly Iko at The Athletic reports the Rockets have interest in the Hawks’ John Collins and the sides have talked, but there is no real traction yet.

There has been nothing concrete from the Rockets — merely ideas floated by the Hawks to Houston among other teams — but the interest is real.

The Rockets could also be part of a larger, three-team trade to move Collins.

Eric Gordon remains on the trade block, as he has been for more than a year. Gordon has been frustrated waiting, but the Rockets have held out for what they thought was fair — a first-round pick — to no avail. That price likely comes down, and according to Iko at The Athletic, the front office is “more inclined to trade him now” than in the past, but the proof will be in a deal.

• Teams also are calling about K.J. Martin, according to Iko.

K.J. Martin, there continues to be interest in the 22-year-old combo forward who has been quite productive as a starter — averaging 14 points and seven rebounds on 35 percent shooting from 3 — but nothing concrete at this juncture in terms of offers on the table.

The Rockets like Martin, it’s going to take a serious offer to get them to consider it.

Knicks reportedly offered multiple first-round picks for OG Anunoby, got nowhere

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
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What are the Toronto Raptors going to do at the trade deadline?

It’s less than two weeks before the trade deadline and the entire NBA is still asking that question, the Raptors are the one team that could turn this trade deadline from a dud to epic if they decide to pivot toward a rebuild. Are they willing to trade players like OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam, or will they look to add a more traditional big man such as the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, who has been linked to the Raptors in rumors? Everything seems to be on the table.

Anunoby is a player a lot of teams covet, including New York. The Knicks reached out to the Raptors, reports Ian Begley of SNY.TV.

“And Anunoby with Toronto, I mean, that would cost you a lot. That would cost you significant draft compensation. Maybe the Knicks are there, maybe they’re feeling like they could make the playoffs and make a big push if you added in Anunoby. I know that we reported they contacted Toronto on Anunoby and I was told in that conversation they offered multiple firsts. But this was a while back… Toronto has done a lot since then. But I don’t think the league is crystal clear on what [the Raptors] want to do on Anunoby.”

Anunoby is an elite on-ball wing defender who can be a finisher, averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game at age 25 — the asking price will start at two unprotected first-round picks in this market. The Knicks may have thrown some of their protected picks in the conversation, but Toronto’s asking price is reportedly sky-high because they’re not eager to get rid of him.

Anunoby is making $17.4 million this season and is under contract for $18.2 million next season, a fair price for what he brings to the court (he has a player option at $19.9 million in 2024-25). What the Raptors do with him may signal their direction.

At the deadline, most people around the league expect Toronto to trade Gary Trent Jr., but that’s it. Any other big moves are likely this offseason. If ever.

Reprots: Luka Doncic day-to-day with “mild” ankle sprain

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
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While there are grades of ankle sprains, ask anyone trying to walk around on one if there is a “mild” version.

Yet that’s what Mavericks sources say about Luka Doncic’s ankle sprain suffered against the Suns on Thursday night. He is “day-to-day” with the injury, a story first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (and since confirmed by others).

Doncic has been playing through ankle soreness in recent weeks and it’s fair to expect the Mavericks to give him a few games off. However, it can’t be too many for a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Mavs are 0-5 in games Doncic has rested this season and have been outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions this season when he sits (although they did beat the Suns largely without him Thursday). Doncic is an All-Star starter averaging 33.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists a game.

Dallas plays next on Saturday against the Jazz. It would be a surprise to see Doncic suit up for that game.

https://twitter.com/CallieCaplan/status/1619016699289956353

Boban? Crowder? Holmgren? Exploring player votes for All-Star starters

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Four NBA players — not one as a joke, but four… as a joke — voted for injured Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren to start the NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game starters were announced Thursday, chosen from a weighted vote of fans (50%), media (25%) and current players (25%).

While most NBA players may take their All-Star Game starter votes seriously, some do not — they vote for friends, college teammates, guys with the same agent, or just whoever they feel like.

Which is comedy gold once we comb through the public vote (Note: names are not attached to who cast a vote, but we do see who got votes). This season, that list of players getting at least one vote to be an All-Star starter include:

Bol Bol (Orlando Magic, he got six votes)
Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans, he got five votes)
Juancho Hernangomez (Toronto Raptors, he got three votes)
Omer Yurtseven (Miami Heat, he got three votes)
Georges Niang (Philadelphia 76ers, he got five votes)
Ochai Agbaji (Utah Jazz, he got four votes)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Oklahoma City Thunder, he got three votes)
Bismack Biyombo (Phoenix Suns, he got three votes)
Jae Crowder (Phoenix Suns, he got two votes)
Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat, he got two votes)
Blake Griffin (Boston Celtics)
Boban Marjanovic (Houston Rockets)
Kemba Walker (Dallas Mavericks)
Kendrick Nunn (Los Angeles Lakers)
Ish Smith (Denver Nuggets)
Torrey Craig (Phoenix Suns)
Luka Garza (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings)
Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers)
R.J. Hampton (Orlando Magic)
Johnny Davis (Washington Wizards)
Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
MarJon Beauchamp (Milwaukee Bucks)
Paul Reed (Philadelphia 76ers)

That is just a fraction of the entire list.