- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is essentially guaranteed a spot on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball, but teammate and "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson is still competing with several other players for the final few places on the roster. If Thompson continues to show off his excellent outside shooting and underrated defense, though, he could find himself with a ticket to Spain. It will also help if he continues to make difficult running three-pointers to beat the halftime buzzer.
With seconds left in the first half of a challenging exhibition game vs. Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Thompson dribbled up the court and launched an off-balance three-pointer right before the horn to give Team USA a 52-47 lead. Check out the shot below:
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
Whenever Team USA plays a basketball game, it's a safe bet that they'll produce the vast majority of the highlights. No other team in the world features so many elite athletes, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski has created a system that plays to that strength. The Americans run and jump on another level from all other international squads.
Early in Friday's exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City, though, it was Puerto Rico that produced the most exciting moments. The best came at the first-quarter buzzer, when forward Ricky Sanchez slid past Team USA's Mason Plumlee to finish a follow dunk with his left hand to tie the game at 26-26. Check it out below:
The 27-year-old Sanchez, a 2005 draftee of the Portland Trail Blazers, spent some time in the D-League before moving to the National Superior Basketball League of Puerto Rico, where he has been an All-Star four times. Like many players for Puerto Rico, he doesn't have a resume that comes close to matching even the least notable players on Team USA. Nonetheless, he and his teammates look plenty capable of competing with those more famous opponents in FIBA play.
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- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History.
Today, Eric Freeman remembers Baron Davis's detonation on Andrei Kirilenko in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals.
Some basketball teams gain a reputation as boom-bust outfits, squads that either fail spectacularly or win with impressive vitality. In many ways, the 2006-07 "We Believe" Golden State Warriors were a stereotypical boom-bust team, but this group was special, because their best moments went beyond merely impressive basketball and took on an air of outright invincibility.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
With only a few weeks left until the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain, Team USA must cut four players from the current injury-and-withdrawal-depleted group of 16 to a roster of 12. While the majority of that dozen seems decided already, several players are left to fight for the final few spots. That includes Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond, a 21-year-old with incredible athleticism that allows him to serve as a force on defensive, on the boards, and the finishing side of alley-oops. He's still a little raw and must prove himself to earn a berth on Team USA, but he's made it to this point in the process for good reason.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
When Stephon Marbury left the NBA to play in the Chinese Basketball Association in January 2009, it was generally seen as a case of a fallen star looking for the biggest available paycheck. Few thought he would last overseas, if only because the culture shock and different expectations can challenge even the best-intentioned imports. Yet Marbury has thrived — he's been a league champion, become enough of a star to warrant a bronze statue in Beijing, and approached the whole experience with sincere emotion and passion. His success isn't as glamorous internationally as if he'd done the same in the NBA, but it seems somewhere close to as meaningful for Marbury.
When Shelly Sterling orchestrated the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to threateningly boisterous ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, she gained a great number of perks. While a record $2 billion purchase price would seem to be its own reward, Sterling also received two courtside seats for every home game, "owner emeritus" status and the quasi-Orwellian, official designation as "Clippers No. 1 Fan." All this for a woman who has a questionable racial history of her own and who sat next to her husband over decades of widely reviled ownership.
Team USA stands to face several strong sides at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball later this month and in September. One of those teams is France, surprise winners of last summer's EuroBasket tournament. While the French do not feature longtime star and leader Tony Parker and therefore figure not to match their EuroBasket performance, a team with players like Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw, and Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi would figure to pose some difficulties for many opponents.
If one moment from a Sunday exhibition between France and the Philippines is any evidence, though, then there's a pretty simple way to defend Mahinmi — send him to the free-throw line. In the third quarter of the game in Antibes on the Mediterranean Sea, Mahinmi went to the charity stripe for two shots. Neither went very well.
The NBA and its associated retail partners sell a lot of merchandise, from the most coveted retro jerseys to those toasters that burn team logos into bread. While many of these items are sold at considerable markup, they rarely reach prices so high as to seem absurd. Plus, when players change teams, the team-specific apparel bearing their names is always put on sale.
It was a little bizarre, then, to discover that one store at Los Angeles International Airport is still selling Dwight Howard jerseys from his sole season with the Los Angeles Lakers at a premium price. According to sportswriter Jeff Pearlman, who wrote a book on the franchise's Showtime era published earlier this year, the jerseys are going for close to $100. Here's his tweet:
Dwight Howard Laker jersey selling for $100 at LAX. Probably $3 at Marshall's pic.twitter.com/RO23vnHKrs
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers from the Sterling family has been lauded throughout the basketball world, and not only because he's never been recorded making extremely racist comments to his girlfriend and subsequently painted himself as the victim in the whole ordeal. Donald Sterling has been deemed one of the worst owners in sports for decades for reasons apart from his personal views and habits. Ballmer has already promised a new era and committed himself to building an organization worth emulating. It's still early, but fans have reason to think they can be proud of this team.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie8 days ago
After several seasons as a journeyman in the United States and abroad, point guard Patrick Beverley seems to have created an NBA career for himself as a member of the Houston Rockets. With relentless intensity, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard has earned a reputation as one of the league's most tenacious perimeter defenders and a player who expends his energy all over the court. Beverley started 54 of his 55 games for Houston last season and looks likely to play a similar role in 2014-15, so he's probably not going anywhere for a while (which to general manager Daryl Morey usually means a couple months).
While Beverley can apporach the season with a solid sense of his future for the first time in his career, he's not resting on his accomplishments. Like most NBA players, he's training hard this summer to prepare for the season. Beverley just happens to be doing it in a pretty intense-looking Bane-like breathing mask. From his Instagram:
Without video, we don't know if Beverley is also talking like a bad impression of an underwater Sean Connery, but I'm just going to assume it's the case.