August 15, 2016, 8:32 pm
This was the final day of the group stage in Rio and the three games on the slate certainly shook up the standings. Lithuania and Argentina had nothing to play for besides seeding but the other four teams in action all had a shot at advancing into the medal round. The games were less entertaining in actuality than they looked on paper, but Day 10 still had its moments.
Brazil 86 vs. Nigeria 69
Spain 92 vs. Argentina 73
Croatia 90 vs. Lithuania 81
Brazil 86 vs. Nigeria 69
Brazil kept their hopes alive by picking up a necessary win and eliminating Nigeria in the process. Brazil controlled most of the game and pulled away late with a big 23-8 run in the final quarter to earn a 17 point victory.
Brazil actually got off to a slow start thanks to a 1-10 mark from deep in the first quarter. Nene, as he did all day long, kept his team afloat with 3 big offensive rebounds in the quarter. He was part of an all out assault on the offensive glass that corralled in 20 offensive rebounds; even if follow up opportunities were missed it wore out Nigerian defenders and produced long stretches where Nigeria simply couldn’t get into any type of offensive rhythm. Nene finished with 19-7-4 as well as 3 steals and a block. He’s really come on after a slow start to the tournament and made a handful of nice dishes as the hub of the Brazilian offense today. A chunk of those passes went to Alex Garcia (#10), who racked up many of his 13 points on quick cuts to the rim. Marcelo Huertas was his usual crafty self with 12 points and 11 assists and has shown really well in Rio so far.
Brazil went with a different rotation today, trotting out big man Rafael Hettsheimeir (#30) who went for 12-6 with 3 triples. He was the entirety of Brazil’s three point attack in the first half and did well to keep them within shouting distance when the normal sources of offense dried up. Vitor Benite (#8) had another great second quarter with 10 points on 4-6 shooting (he ended with 15 total); this after he scored 13 points in the second quarter against Argentina on Saturday. Augusto Lima, the usual backup big man, picked up a DNP-CD today but might be needed against Team USA if Brazil can sneak into the medal round.
Nigeria just couldn’t keep up with Brazil’s second chances and shot themselves in the foot with a slew of sloppy turnovers in the second half. They had a chance in the third quarter when Brazil’s offense sagged when Nene hit the bench but turnovers kept Brazil’s lead in the 7-11 range. Josh Akognon (#8; 16 points, 3 triples) and Ben Uzoh (#4; 15-4-2) led the way and really picked up the slack for a starting backcourt that struggled mightily. Michael Umeh (#5) and Ebi Ere (#7) combined for just 14 points on 12 shots and committed 5 turnovers compared to 3 assists. Umeh came into the game got but just didn’t have his shot today.
Ekene Ibekwe (#15) flashed more great rim protection, blocking three more shots while deterring a few other looks at the rim. Ike Diogu (#6) had his hands full with Nene and struggled to the tune of 9 points on 3-8 shooting. It was a tough end for Nigeria but they had some very nice moments throughout their tournament. The first-time FIBA Afrobasket Champions acquitted themselves well on the Olympic stage.
Brazil Nigeria Points Nene 19
Rebounds Nene 7
Hettsheimeir / Felicio / Huertas 6
Uzoh / Umeh / Ibekwe / Diogu 4
Assists Huertas 11
Uzoh / Umeh / Aminu / Diogu 2
Ere / Oguchi / Gbinije 1
- More great blocks from Ibekwe; tournament’s block leader
- Fran dropping Ben Uzoh triple double knowledge!
- Nene with 3 offensive boards in Q1; kept Brazil afloat with second opportunities early on
- Alade Aminu (#14) has stretches of great activity but then disappears
- Nice 2nd unit production from Brazil; Benite wasn’t used often in the first two games but earned more time if they advance
- Brazil’s offense really sagged when Nene sat down to end Q3; it’s amazing how polished a passer he is when he gets the chance to show off
- Nigeria seems to just fire up bad shots if the play gets busted; didn’t seem like they re-set too many times
- Really good showing for Nigeria all things considered
June 18, 2019, 10:44 pmKevin Love - F/C - Cleveland Cavaliers
According to Brian Windhorst, Kevin Love has been in some trade talks and the chances that he's on the Cavs next season are 50/50.
Windhorst mentioned that it's hard to find the right deal for Love, who is set to start a 4-year $120 million contract this fall, but that's a much bigger chance of him leaving than had been recently reported. The Cavs likely have some summer deals to make, but as it sits now, the fantasy values of Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic would be on the rise with a Love departure.
Source: Aaron Goldhammer on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 10:01 pmBobby Portis - F - Washington Wizards
Bobby Portis, who will likely become a restricted free agent after the Wizards extend a qualifying offer, is expected to be pursued by at least 5-10 teams once free agency begins.
Among the teams that are reportedly interested in Portis are the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and the Knicks among others. If the Wizards extend the $3.6 million qualifying offer to Portis, they will have the chance to match any contract offer Portis receives from another team.
Source: NBC Sports
June 18, 2019, 8:55 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Marc Stein of The New York Times is reporting that the Nets believe they are the favorites to land Kyrie Irving in free agency.
Irving to the Nets has been on overdrive the past few weeks, and it's looking almost certain that Irving will be on the Nets, Lakers or Knicks come July 1st. D'Angelo Russell may be playing elsewhere next season if the Nets acquire Irving in free agency. Stay tuned.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 8:20 pmRob Pelinka - Team - Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are aggressively pursuing the purchase of second-round picks in Thursday’s draft.
In addition to trying to unload additional bench players, the Lakers would like to acquire a few second-round picks to round out their roster with minimum salary players. If the Lakers can get any late picks, it will give the team even more breathing room in free agency. The Lakers’ master plan after signing LeBron James last offseason is starting to shift into high gear.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 8:13 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are trying to expand the Anthony Davis trade to open up a max salary slot on July 6, by offering up Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to additional teams.
The Lakers got their guy in AD, but they also want more wiggle room for another max guy and role players to fill out their roster. It seems that the team will do whatever it takes to get that third max player spot, aside from moving Kyle Kuzma. It seems very likely that another team will join in on the deal.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 7:56 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, since the season ended, Kyrie Irving has been communicating forthrightly with Celtics' officials both privately and publicly signaling that he will leave the team in free agency.
It has been widely expected that Irving would leave the Celtics for a bit now, with the Nets being the team most analysts are pegging Irving end up with. With the news that Al Horford is going elsewhere, there is little reason to believe that Irving would stick around. We should have an official update on Irving's intentions soon enough.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 7:35 pmAl Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics
Sources close to Al Horford have told Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that his camp is no longer discussing a new contract with the Celtics and he is expected to sign a 4-year deal elsewhere.
A few short months ago the Celtics were pegged as the favorites to land Anthony Davis, and forming a new big three of there own. Flash forward to now, and Davis is on the Lakers, and it looks like both Horford and Kyrie Irving are set to leave. The Celtics couldn't have foreseen a worse start to the offseason.
Source: Steve Bulpett on Twitter
June 18, 2019, 7:03 pmJames Jones - Team - Phoenix Suns
First-year GM James Jones said that there are more than six good players in the draft and that the Suns are comfortable staying put at number six.
Jones has a point, and if the team believes that they don’t need to move up to get the difference-maker that they’re targeting then staying put is the logical choice. If the Suns stand pat, they’ll be looking at drafting one of Darius Garland, Coby White, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Jarrett Culver. Garland or White would fill the most glaring team need at PG if they’re still available.
Source: AZ Central
June 18, 2019, 6:52 pmDavid Griffin - Team - New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are considering trading the 4th overall selection to acquire more picks.
One team that comes directly to mind is the Hawks, who have been rumored to be offering a trade package including the 8th and 10th selections to move up in the draft. The Hawks also have the 17th pick in the draft. Another team with multiple first rounders is the Celtics, who hold the 14th, 20th and 22nd picks. The Pelicans have also been rumored to be trying to move up to the 2nd pick in the Draft. We'll have to wait and see if there is any fire to all of this smoke.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
June 18, 2019, 6:39 pmTed Leonsis - Team - Washington Wizards
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis denied the team's reported interest in Raptors GM Masai Ujiri saying, "Any reports that we have interest in Masai Ujiri as a candidate are simply not true, and we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process.”
Ujiri is a former Executive of the year, and his Raptors just won the NBA Championship thanks in large part to the bold moves he executed in the past year. It is hard to believe that a team like the Wizards wouldn't want to make a pitch to the man who is at or near the top of his profession, but that is silly season for you. As for Ujiri, he'll have no shortage of pursuers should the Raptors grant teams permission to speak to him.
Source: Washington Post