Germany wins 2OT thriller but not until Lithuania protest denied at EuroBasket

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COLOGNE, Germany — Lithuania unsuccessfully protested its double-overtime loss to Germany at the EuroBasket tournament Sunday, arguing that referees did not award it a free throw following a technical foul in regulation.

FIBA denied the protest.

That means it’s a German win – and a huge one for the hosts. Franz Wagner scored 32 points, Dennis Schroder added 25 and Germany prevailed 109-107 in a game that was tight throughout, with neither team ever leading by more than nine points.

“We are not happy,” Lithuania coach Kazys Maksvytis said.

The Germans were thrilled, since they’re now certain to advance out of group stage and reach the tournament’s knockout round.

According to FIBA, Germany coach Gordie Herbert was called for a technical with 1:26 left in the third quarter, after a personal foul was whistled against his team. Jonas Valanciunas shot two free throws for Lithuania for the personal foul, but no free throw for the technical was awarded.

Herbert said he was told by one of the referees with 7 seconds left in regulation that there was “a situation” regarding the technical and what should have happened.

“That was the first time I heard about it,” Herbert said.

FIBA said the protest was “inadmissible as the protest reasons were delivered outside the designated time of 60 minutes after the game.” But FIBA added that the protest, even if filed in a timely manner, would have been rejected “as the reason presented is not one of the reasons under which a protest can be filed.”

Arnas Butkevicius’ 3-pointer from the left wing for Lithuania – the potential game-winner – bounced off the rim as the clock ran out in the second extra session.

Maodo Lo scored 21 points for Germany (3-0) and Daniel Theis added 11.

Valanciunas had game highs of 34 points and 14 rebounds for Lithuania (0-3), while Marius Grigonis scored 17, Domantas Sabonis finished with 13, Ignas Brazdekis scored 12 and Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 11.

Lithuania’s three losses have been by seven, four and two points.

“It was a tough game,” Valanciunas said. “They played well. I thought we responded for most of the time. … Congrats to them.”

Valanciunas scored the final four points of regulation as Lithuania rallied from down 89-85 in the final 42 seconds. Schroder missed a stepback jumper at the buzzer of the fourth, and Wagner missed one at the end of the first overtime.

But in the second OT, the Germans scored the first five points and never trailed. Valanciunas was subbed out with 2:29 left, Lo made a 3-pointer 17 seconds later for a 106-102 lead and Germany held on.

“To come out on top, after all of that, I think it’s definitely a sign of our character and togetherness as a team,” Lo said.

GROUP B

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 97, SLOVENIA 93

Also at Cologne, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-1) surprised Luka Doncic and defending EuroBasket winner Slovenia (2-1) behind 23 points from John Roberson and 22 from Dzanan Musa.

Miralem Halilovic scored 13, while Jusuf Nurkic and Edin Atic each had 12 for the winners.

Doncic had 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Slovenia but went 0 for 8 from 3-point range. Vlatko Cancar led Slovenia with 22 points, Goran Dragic added 20, Klemen Prepelic scored 12 and Mike Tobey finished with 11.

FRANCE 78, HUNGARY 74

Guerschon Yabusele scored 17 points and France (2-1) wasted most of a 15-point lead before hanging on late to defeat Hungary (1-2).

Adam Hanga’s 3-pointer with 1:04 left got Hungary within 74-72. Hungary got a stop on the next France possession and had a shot at what would have been its first lead, but David Vojvoda’s 3-point try bounced off the rim with 23 seconds remaining.

Rudy Gobert scored 15 points, Evan Fournier added 12 and Vincent Poirier had 10 for France.

Hanga scored 18 for Hungary, and Mikael Hopkins added 10.

GROUP A

BELGIUM 83, SPAIN 73

At Tbilisi, Georgia, Manu Lecomte scored 20 points and Belgium ended the game on a 12-0 run to surprise Spain.

Pierre-Antoine Gillet scored 14 points for Belgium (2-1), which got 11 from Retin Obasohan and 10 from Ismael Bako.

Willy Hernangomez scored 18 for Spain (2-1), while Juancho Hernangomez and Lorenzo Brown each had 11.

MONTENEGRO 91, BULGARIA 81

Vladimir Mihailovic scored 23 points and Montenegro (2-1) ended the game on an 18-6 run to rally past Bulgaria (0-3).

Igor Drobnjak and Bojan Dubljevic each had 17 points for Montenegro, Nemanja Radovic added 16 and Kendrick Perry scored 12.

Aleksandar Vezenkov led all scorers with 26 for Bulgaria, which led 75-73 in the fourth before missing eight of its last 10 shots. Andrey Ivanov finished with 17 and Chavdar Kostov added 10 for Bulgaria, which tried 64 shots in the game – 40 of them from 3-point range.

GEORGIA 88, TURKEY 83, 2OT

The host nation in Group A rallied from an early 10-point deficit and handed Turkey (2-1) its first loss, though there was even more controversy following the game.

Turkey alleged that one of its players – local media said it was Furkan Korkmaz – got into an altercation in the locker room area following the game. It was unclear who else was involved in the incident.

Turkey assistant coach Hakan Demir said his national federation wants to review security footage. Turkey was also upset that 22 seconds ran off the clock during a fourth-quarter on-court altercation between Korkmaz and Georgia’s Duda Sanadze.

“We will watch the cameras,” Demir said. “This kind of thing, unfortunately, is a big disappointment. We are here to play basketball. … On the court, Georgia won the game. We congratulate them. It’s no problem. We lost in two overtimes. Does not matter.”

Korkmaz and Sanadze were both ejected.

Alexander Mamukelashvili had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Georgia (1-2), while Thaddus McFadden scored 17, Rati Andronikashvili and Giorgi Shermadini each scored 15 and Sanadze added 13.

Alperen Sengun led Turkey with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Sertac Sanli scored 15, Cedi Osman added 14 and Melik Mahmutoglu had 11. Shane Larkin finished with nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Turkey’s loss created a four-way tie with Montenegro, Spain and Belgium joining it atop Group A. The top four teams in each group advance to the knockout stage.

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole

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Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

The two players had been jawing at each other when it escalated and Green punched Poole, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle

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The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.

Doc Rivers says he wants Harden to be ‘a scoring Magic Johnson’

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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We’re not in Houston anymore.

James Harden in Philadelphia will not be chasing scoring titles and dominating the game in quite the same way. Instead, he’s been asked to be more of a facilitator — but not too much of one. Doc Rivers told the team at ESPN’s NBA Today he wants scoring to go with the facilitating. Just like one of the all-time greats.

“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator… I need him to be James Harden too. If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know, but that’s what I want him to be. I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”

Just play like Magic, no pressure there. For his career, Magic averaged 19.5 points a game (with four over 20 PPG) with 11.2 assists.

Harden can get close enough to Rivers’ lofty goals to make Philly a real threat, so long as defenders still fear his first step and step back. Harden can get his shot and get to the line, and he’s long been a great passer who has averaged 10.5 assists a game over the past two seasons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance of when to set up Joel Embiid, when to turn the offense over to Tyrese Maxey, and when to get his own shot.

Philadelphia is a deep team poised to win a lot of regular season games — the Sixers being the top seed in the East is absolutely in play. The questions Harden — and, to a degree, Embiid — have to answer come in May, when the second round of the playoffs start and Harden has faded while Embiid has had poor injury luck. In a deep East with Milwaukee, Boston, and maybe Miami and Brooklyn in the contender mix, there is no margin for error.

A Magic-like Harden would be a big boost for the Sixers in that setting.