August 10, 2016, 8:49 pm
The game of the day was undoubtedly the matchup between undefeated Australia and powerhouse Team USA. Australia controlled much of the game but a fabulous effort from Carmelo Anthony was too much to handle in the end. Melo cemented his status as one of the best Olympic basketball performers in history and surpassed LeBron James in all-time scoring today in a tremendous showing for the four-time Olympian.
After a slow start against Venezuela, the Americans got a very real scare from a tenacious Australian squad. There’ll be easier games ahead but Team USA will surely file away what they saw out of the Boomers tonight. It felt a lot like an NBA game with the big names and a sneaky tendency to lean on Iso-ball but was terrific fun throughout.
Day 5 actually gave us a trio of close games with two going down to the final possessions. Let’s check it out.
France 76 vs. Serbia 75
USA 98 vs. Australia 88
Venezuela vs. China
Spain 89 vs. China 68
USA 110 vs. Serbia 84
Canada 68 vs. Senegal 58
France 76 vs. Serbia 75
France was rolling to start, hitting their first eight shots and getting out to a 20-4 lead in the first five minutes. Serbia battled back thanks to big bench contributions from Miroslav Raduljica (#13) and Bojan Bogdanovic to trim the deficit to just four headed into halftime. The strong play carried over in the third as Serbia ended the quarter on a 14-4 run to take their first lead of the game. France wouldn’t regain the lead until Tony Parker hit a fadeaway jumper on a broken play with 31 seconds to go. Serbia had a chance but Bojan Bogdanovic pounded the air out of the ball and turned it over with a telegraphed pass with 8 seconds left. France foolishly attempted an alley-oop and the ball ended up back in Bogdanovic’s hands but his deep heave rimmed out and allowed France to escape.
France was carried early and late by Nando De Colo (#12). De Colo authored perhaps the finest individual performance of the Olympics so far with 22 points and numerous huge baskets down the stretch as well as three steals and a perfect 8-8 day from the charity stripe. He once again usurped lead guard duties from Parker, who finished with just 6 points in 21 minutes despite his late game heroics. Nicolas Batum had a great first half with 9 points but would only score 2 more the rest of the game. His late game defense on Bogdanovic was superb, as he didn’t allow Serbia’s sharpshooter any room to rise and fire. Joffrey Lauvergne chipped in with 12 points off the bench and looked good in a secondary scoring role but still has work to do as a defender. Boris Diaw was in triple double territory with 11-9-8 and ran the offense masterfully while he was on the floor. He grabbed a key offensive rebound late in the fourth and was a huge part of France’s second win of the tournament.
Serbia came out with a new look starting lineup perhaps in an attempt to take advantage of a weak French bench. Nikola Jokic started instead of leading scorer Miroslav Radujlica (#13). It’s a curious rotation decision, but maybe Serbia wanted Jokic’s range to pull Rudy Gobert out of the paint and free up Radujlica to take on weaker defenders. Jokic picked up four first half fouls but played extremely smart in the second half in grabbing some timely boards and making good passes to offset his lowly 2 point output. Radujlica was still a force, finishing a team-high +18 with 16 points on 7-9 from the floor. Milos Teodosic (#4) went for 10 points and 9 assists and helped spark a late 3rd quarter surge. Serbia did well to chip away at the lead but were done in by some poor final possessions. Bogdanovic froze in the closing seconds but did chip in three first half triples to get Serbia back in it. While they drop to 1-2 with the loss, Serbia still seems like a safe bet to advance to the medal round.
France Serbia Points De Colo 22
Batum / Diaw 11
Bogdanovic / Teodosic 10
Rebounds Diaw 9
Markovic / Radujlica / Stimac 3
Assists Diaw 8
Heurtel / Batum 3
Four with 1
Nedovic / Bogdanovic 2
- Radujlica ate Joffrey Lauvergne alive for a stretch of the fourth quarter and it’s a bit surprising that Rudy Gobert didn’t check back in earlier to wall off the paint.
- Teodosic can’t guard a lick; he’s a nice offensive player but gives everything back right away
- De Colo feasted on Teodosic late, attacking him at will and getting no resistance
- France turns the ball over way too much to be a gold medal threat
- Diaw’s passing is impeccable; he’s like a massive point guard for the French
- First half free throws; France 11-13, Serbia 1-2
- Parker was quiet but showed up in the clutch; sticking him in the corner doesn’t seem like the best way to use him but he was in the right place at the right time to nail a very tough shot in crunch time
June 25, 2019, 6:55 pmNikola Vucevic - C - Orlando Magic
Per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavs like how Nikola Vucevic fits alongside Kristaps Porzingis, but his expected salary would cost too much for the Mavs to sign.
The Mavs will enter free agency with a ton of cap space, but after the expected max contract that they'll extend to Porzingis, they may be more inclined to spread the wealth around or target Kemba Walker than committing a max contract to Vucevic. Vucevic had a career year as an All-Star for the Magic this past season, but his next destination remains a crapshoot.
Source: Dallas News
June 25, 2019, 6:38 pmJimmy Butler - SG - Philadelphia Sixers
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Rockets' ideal plan in free agency is to get Jimmy Butler by a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers.
Butler is going to be a sought after commodity once free agency opens as the Sixers, Lakers, and others are also going to be looking to ink him to a long-term deal. Butler regained his level back to max contract level after his play during the playoffs this season. The Rockets don't have any cap space to sign Butler outright, so they'll have to get a commitment from him to take a pay cut, while also getting the Sixers to agree to help facilitate a deal. This is going to be interesting.
June 25, 2019, 5:08 pmKhem Birch - C - Orlando Magic
The Magic have extended qualifying offers to C Khem Birch and F Amile Jefferson, rendering both restricted free agents ahead of free agency which is set to begin on June 30th.
Birch, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 12.9 minutes per game this past season, is seemingly a priority for the Magic to bring back, and now they'll get the opportunity to match any contracts he may fetch from other teams. Jefferson was in the G-League for the majority of the season, where he was very productive. Both may take on larger roles, should they stay with the Magic, as star C Nikola Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent.
Source: Magic PR on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 4:58 pmJR Smith - SG - Cleveland Cavaliers
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers could eventually take a look at signing J.R. Smith should he be released by the Cavs, or traded and bought out by another team.
Smith is likely to become a free agent one way or the other by the end of the month, and the Lakers will be looking at cheap floor-spacers to fill out their roster. Smith and LeBron James are familiar with one another after winning a championship together with the Cavs, and it looks like Smith to the Lakers is a real possibility.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 4:00 pmKristaps Porzingis - PF - Dallas Mavericks
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Mavs will meet with restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis (torn ACL) once free agency opens on June 30th, and the team will offer him the full five-year, $158 million max contract.
This was expected ever since the Mavs traded for Porzingis mid-season while he recovered from his knee injury. Porzingis is fully expected to sign with the Mavs and become reigning ROY Luka Doncic's running mate for the foreseeable future.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 3:54 pmJordan Clarkson - PG - Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavs combo guard Jordan Clarkson changed agents and signed with Klutch Sports and Rich Paul.
Clarkson is likely to be a trade target for competitive teams ahead of next year's trade deadline, as a quality player on an expiring contract. Clarkson will enter free agency next offseason looking for the best deal possible.
Source: Joe Vardon on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 3:46 pmJulius Randle - PF - New Orleans Pelicans
Per Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Pelicans forward Julius Randle and the Knicks have mutual interest as free agency approaches.
The Pelicans drafted their PF of the future in Zion Williamson last week, and will seemingly let Randle walk in free agency as they are unlikely to pay him what he deserves. After a productive finish with the Lakers in 2017-18, Randle had to settle for a one-year deal from the Pelicans last summer. After another productive season on an expiring contract, it looks like at least one franchise is ready to invest in Randle as their PF of the future. Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 threes to boot this past season and makes for a good mid-round selection in drafts next season if he finds himself in a similar role.
Source: The Undefeated
June 25, 2019, 3:32 pmAndre Iguodala - SF - Golden State Warriors
Speaking about Kevin Durant's injury situation during this year's playoffs, Andre Iguodala said that he fractured his left leg against the Rockets in the 2018-19 playoffs and the Warriors listed him out with a "left lateral leg contusion.”
There has been a lot of smoke in regards to how the Warriors dealt with Durant's injury, as it did not appear to be as minor as the team led the public to believe when he injured himself backpedaling after a made basket. A non-contact injury is always a major red flag, but the Warriors called Durant's initial injury a "first-grade calf strain," which is the lowest graded injury designation. Weeks later, when Durant rushed back to help his team out of a 3-1 Finals deficit, he fully ruptured his Achilles in only 12 minutes of action. This is all just speculation, but this revelation from the 2015 NBA Finals MVP is an alarming development for a franchise who could seemingly do no wrong the past half-decade. The league may take a deep-dive into these claims soon enough.
Source: NBC Sports
June 25, 2019, 3:14 pmD'Angelo Russell - PG - Brooklyn Nets
The Lakers, who are also working towards setting up meetings with a defensive specialist and a floor-spacer, have a set meeting with D'Angelo Russell when free agency opens.
The Lakers drafted Russell at #2 overall in the 2015 NBA draft and subsequently traded him to the Nets a few years ago as a way to get Timofey Mozgov's horrendous contract off their books. He has since blossomed into an All-Star selection this past season as the leader of the Nets' push back into relevancy. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Russell and the Lakers would mend their previous relationship, but it remains to be seen if anything will come of it. If it is any consolation to Russell, Magic Johnson, the man who traded Russell to the Nets, is no longer with the team.
Source: Fred Robbins on Twitter
June 25, 2019, 2:29 pmMitch Kupchak - Team - Charlotte Hornets
In what will play a major role in all personnel decisions, the Hornets are determined to avoid the luxury tax next season, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
If true, then this will have a major effect on free agency as the Hornets are unlikely to extend the supermax to Kemba Walker this summer. While Walker has said publicly that he is willing to take less than the supermax, it would be hard to see him stay with the Hornets for anything less as he is sure to garner interest from many teams with much better odds at competing for a title. The Lakers, Mavs, and Celtics are just a few of the many teams that will be looking into Walker once free agency opens up, and they all have brighter presents or futures ahead than the Hornets current outlook. There have been rumbles that Walker would head elsewhere next season for a few weeks now, and this report adds even more smoke to the fire. Free agency opens in less than a week.
Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter