The Oklahoma City Thunder? Gone till November (Ball Don't Lie)
The News With every season that ends, for the playoff teams at least, we felt it right to take a look ahead. TNT already has the rights to "Gone Fishin'," and because we're sure that someone, somewhere, still likes that Wyclef song, we're going with "Gone Till November." And, yes, we know the season starts in October. Today? The Oklahoma City Thunder.
Russell Westbrook’s knee injury may have cost his team an NBA title this season, but it could also go a long way towards saving coach and general manager Sam Presti a whole heck of a lot of criticism. To some Oklahoma City Thunder fans, that statement is just piling bad on top of bad.
Scorn for Brooks’ abilities date back two years at this point, and whether they come in the form of complaining about his limited mid-playoff adjustments or overreliance on certain vets, he’s taken quite a bit of heat following two straight five-game finishes to seasons in 2012 and now 2013. Presti, meanwhile, will receive tempered but certain criticism for his choices to ostensibly value contract extensions for Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka over one for Houston Rocket All-Star James Harden.
Both will be back next year, though. Brooks just finished the first year of a four year contract, and Presti has done so well in his first six years with the team that he’s earned several more years of goodwill. Both admirably and staunchly defended themselves (and by extension, the team’s owners) in the wake of the deal that sent James Harden to Houston, allowing for the team’s ownership to skate in the face of paying the luxury tax. On top of that, Westbrook’s season ending injury allows for most to consider the 2012-13 team a once-again championship contender that was just felled by bad luck at the worst possible time.
Tayshaun Prince dunks all over 3 Thunder players on the fast break (Video) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News When the Memphis Grizzlies traded small forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in late January, one of the criticisms of the deal was that they had sacrificed much needed scoring and wing athleticism for the more virtual gain of long-term financial health. Veteran Tayshaun Prince, his replacement, was considered a good player on the wrong side of his career.
The Grizzlies' post-trade performance has silenced most critics, but it's still the case that Prince isn't thought of as an athletic dynamo. On Wednesday night, in Game 5 of the Grizzlies' Western Conference Semifinals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Prince proved that his athleticism deserves some notice.
With just over 7:10 left in the third quarter, Memphis point guard turned a long rebound into a 4-on-3 fast break. Although the numbers were roughly even, Prince found a seam down the middle of the floor, took the pass a step outside the free-throw line, and exploded over three Thunder players for one of the flashiest plays of the playoffs so far. Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and Reggie Jackson have all seen better days.
NBA-National Basketball Association roundup (Reuters)
The News May 13 (The Sports Xchange) - Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen and Miami Heat forward LeBron James highlight the NBA All-Defensive First Team. The NBA announced Monday that Allen received 53 points in the voting while James tallied 52. Each player earned 25 First Team votes. Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (37 points, 15 First Team votes), Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (46, 17), New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (24, nine) and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (24, right) rounded out the first team. ...
NBA All-Defensive Team released, featuring one knockout Memphis Grizzlies defender (Ball Don't Lie)
The News The All-NBA Defensive Team is the perfect honor for a player like Tony Allen. In the grand history of Bobby Jones, T.R. Dunn, and Scottie Pippen, Allen is the type of all-world defender that will never probably win a Defensive Player of the Year award. Because he does his work on the wing, Allen’s in-between game will never be realized along the same lines as someone like, say, teammate and 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. It’s just not in the cards for the in-between guys.
Of course, becoming the Defensive Player of the Year is no quick invite to the All-Defensive Team. For the second straight year, the DPoY lost out on a place with the top team, as Gasol fell to the second (and nearly third) team in favor of Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler. Noah and Chandler (who took in the same lack of All-Defensive recognition as Gasol did, during 2011-12’s vote), tied for the top spot on in the pivot position on the top team, alongside Allen, Oklahoma City shot blocker Serge Ibaka, LeBron James, and Clippers guard Chris Paul.
Yeah. We’re a little confused too.
Behind the Box Score, where the Thunder held on despite Russell Westbrook’s absence (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Oklahoma City 104, Houston 101; Oklahoma City leads the series, 3-0
For the first half of Saturday night’s tilt, it seemed as if the Oklahoma City Thunder would have absolutely no issues moving forward without injured star guard Russell Westbrook, against the Houston Rockets at least. The San Antonio Spurs or Miami Heat are another matter for another month, but early on it appeared as even a Westbrook-less Thunder team was outclassing Houston, especially with Kevin Durant carrying the Thunder to a 26-point lead at one point partway through the second quarter, with 27 first-half points.
The second half commenced, seemingly mid-blowout, and things started to fall apart. You remember LeBron James in Cleveland? Remember how predictable the offense was and how tired James often looked? Sadly, with Westbrook now out for the season , there was some of that going around.
The Rockets roared back, without injured guard Jeremy Lin, by spreading the floor and going with their drive-and-kick game. By nailing 3 after 3 and alternating startlingly poor defensive rotations with some honest to goodness very good ones against OKC, the Rockets came all the way back to take a one-point lead over the Thunder with just over three minutes to go. Just barely clinging on, Durant hit a spectacular 3-pointer (one that bounced three times on the rim, one time nearly over the shot clock, before falling in) and Serge Ibaka saved yet another broken possession with a reverse layup to hold off a Rockets team that just couldn’t hit enough corner 3s to make it work.
NBA-Highlights of Wednesday's NBA playoff games (Reuters)
The News April 24 (Sports Direct) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Basketball Association playoff games. - - - Thunder 105, Rockets 102 Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 29 points apiece as hosts Oklahoma City knocked off Houston to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series. Serge Ibaka had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots as the Thunder followed up their 29-point Game 1 victory. Game 3 is Saturday at Houston. James Harden had 36 points and 11 rebounds and Chandler Parsons scored 17 points for the Rockets. ...
NBA-Highlights of Thursday's National Basketball Association games (Reuters)
The News April 4 (SportsDirect) - Thunder 100, Spurs 88 Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 25 as host Oklahoma City defeated San Antonio to pull within a half-game of the Spurs in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Derek Fisher made a season-high five 3-pointers and scored 17 points and Serge Ibaka had 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Thunder beat San Antonio for the third time in four meetings this season. Oklahoma City will earn the top seed if the teams are tied at the end of the regular season. ...
Thunder still making noise after being shorn of "The Beard" (Reuters)
The News NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are still making big noise in the NBA despite dealing away James "The Beard" Harden and hope their new mix will take them even farther than last year's trip to the Finals. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way and Serge Ibaka stepping up to contribute more scoring punch, the Thunder have not missed a beat, heading the Northwest Division and fighting the San Antonio Spurs for top seed in the West. "I like the way we're playing," three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, who is again leading the league with a 28. ...
NBA-Thunder still making noise after being shorn of 'The Beard' (Reuters)
The News NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are still making big noise in the NBA despite dealing away James "The Beard" Harden and hope their new mix will take them even farther than last year's trip to the Finals. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way and Serge Ibaka stepping up to contribute more scoring punch, the Thunder have not missed a beat, heading the Northwest Division and fighting the San Antonio Spurs for top seed in the West. "I like the way we're playing," three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, who is again leading the league with a 28. ...
The News Ibaka has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for striking Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in the groin area during Sunday's game. The incident occurred with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Thunder's 108-104 win over the Clippers at Staples Center.
Our View NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Stu Jackson announced the fine Tuesday. The league also upgraded the flagrant foul 1 Ibaka's was given for hitting Griffin as the two battled for position in the paint to a Flagrant Foul 2, meaning Ibaka should have been ejected from the game.
Serge Ibaka fined, not suspended, for Blake Griffin groin punch (Ball Don't Lie)
The News On Sunday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka punched Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin in the groin , bringing on a flagrant foul and resulting in a seven-point possession that briefly put the Clippers back on top. It was a surprising decision by the referees, because most observers, including respected color commentator Hubie Brown, thought it deserved a level-two flagrant and automatic suspension. The call ended up making a difference in the game, too, because Ibaka completed a three-point play later that fouled out Griffin and helped lock down the win for the Thunder.
It was assumed that the NBA would follow the game with a suspension, because, again, Ibaka punched Griffin where it hurts. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the league announced that Ibaka will only be fined $25,000 , not suspended. On top of that, the foul was upgraded to a level-two flagrant. So, in effect, the NBA implied that Ibaka should have missed the end of the game and will allow him to play in the next game anyway.
NBA-Thunder's Ibaka fined $25,000 for low blow (Reuters)
The News March 5 (Reuters) - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has been fined $25,000 for striking Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in the groin area, the National Basketball Association said on Tuesday. The incident, which occurred as the two players battled for rebounding position during Sunday's game, was upgraded to a flagrant foul 2 from a flagrant foul 1 after league review. (Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)
Bryant says he would have reacted to Ibaka's shot (The SportsXchange)
The News Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin did not retaliate when he was hit in the groin area by the Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka on Sunday, but it might have been different if the Lakers' Kobe Bryant had been the victim.
Mostly NBA Notes: Kevin Durant in midst of historical fantasy season (Roto Arcade)
The News Kevin Durant has averaged 36.3 points over the past eight games, and despite attempting a whopping 6.3 3pt in January, he’s shooting 53.5 percent from the field this month, also averaging 5.2 apg. He’s shooting 91.0 percent at the line this year while attempting the third-most free throws in the league. In fact, Durant has taken 399 shots from the charity stripe, and only four other players in the league have attempted more than 250. According to Basketball Monster, his impact in FT% has been by far the biggest among all categories (his ft%V is 4.16. Next best is James Harden at 2.55. To put this in perspective, the next biggest gap atop a category is Larry Sanders with a blkV of 4.15. Next best is Serge Ibaka at 3.56). Durant’s 4.4 apg and 1.6 spg marks are both career highs, and he leads the NBA in scoring with 29.6 ppg despite playing alongside a teammate who’s attempted the third most field goals per game this season.
We’ve discussed before just how historical a 50-40-90 season is, but KD’s current marks are 52.0-42.1-91.0. And this has come with extreme volume, as he ranks sixth in FGA, 36th in 3pt and 3rd in FTA. I know you don’t need me to tell you Durant is good at basketball, but his current 1.39 value at Basketball Monster is well ahead of No. 2 ( LeBron James with 0.95). Only two other players have eclipsed the 1.0 mark since BM started tracking this, one being Chris Paul with 1.06 in 2008/09, and the other being Shawn Marion with 1.11 in 2005/06. Put differently, Durant has made a bigger difference in fantasy impact than James this season than James has compared to Nicolas Batum . And using Yahoo’s scoring, Durant is currently No. 1 across the board both in totals and averages for all date ranges: 7 days/30 days/season. It’s almost unheard of and about as impressive as it gets.
People are awesome 2013 (not sure why they added the two fakes, but the rest are legit).
Here’s Russell Westbrook trolling .
Kevin Durant crosses then crushes Clippers to cap Thunder cruise in L.A. (VIDEO) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Things seemed to be going well for the Los Angeles Clippers in the early going of their Tuesday night matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. I mean, not perfectly — All-World point guard and leader Chris Paul wasn't in the lineup, which, even if you love Eric Bledsoe (and we do), you can fairly call suboptimal — but their defense came out turned up, holding OKC's best-in-the-league offense to just four points on 2 for 9 shooting through the game's first six minutes. And while Clippers star Blake Griffin looked both attacking Serge Ibaka in the post and orchestrating the L.A. offense in the early going, Oklahoma City's main man didn't seem nearly as steady, as the combination of Caron Butler's on-ball defense and the expansive threat of active L.A. help held Kevin Durant to a quiet 1 for 3 mark in the opening quarter.
Later, though, he got loud.
... and it quieted down a packed-out Staples Center. (Well, everyone but Matt Barnes, who seemed to pretty loudly wonder where the [expletive] his help defenders were.) As we've discussed , KD's been doing that kind of a lot lately.
Caron Butler blocks Serge Ibaka’s shot off referee Derek Richardson’s face (VIDEO) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Near the end of the second quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers' Tuesday night matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Clippers swingman Caron Butler played some wonderful late-possession help defense on Thunder big man Serge Ibaka. Well, it was wonderful for Clippers fans, at least, but not so much for referee Derek Richardson:
The dodgeball-style doink sent Richardson to the deck; Clippers star Blake Griffin checked on the official, who, thankfully, popped back up and seemed none the worse for wear after the surprise swat careened off his melon. (I wouldn't expect Butler to receive too many friendly calls in the second half, though.)
Video via Daily Thunder's Royce Young .
The News Ibaka sat out a second straight game because of a bruised chest Monday.
Our View Ibaka had not missed any games previously this season, and was averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 Ibaka was injured in the third quarter of Oklahoma City's 116-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Thunder's Ibaka not just about defense anymore (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- After the NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder faced a difficult question: If they couldn't afford to keep both league blocks-leader Serge Ibaka and Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, which one would stay?
Heat win Finals rematch over Thunder, 103-97 (The Associated Press)
The News MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James and Kevin Durant exchanged words. Dwyane Wade and Serge Ibaka did a little shoving. Five technical fouls were called, and Russell Westbrook punched a table in frustration.
Serge Ibaka has career night as Thunder trounce Spurs for 11th straight win (VIDEO) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Lots of NBA fans got pretty amped in the hours before Monday night's tilt between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs when we learned that Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson — who had missed nearly a month after fracturing his right pinkie finger against the Los Angeles Clippers, and had earned a $25,000 fine for tweeting a threat to jack up Thunder forward Serge Ibaka the next time they played — had been activated by coach Gregg Popovich. Sure, it was a rematch of last year's thrilling Western Conference finals and a game that was decided on a Tony Parker buzzer-beater earlier this season, not to mention a matchup of two teams with top-10 offenses and defenses and the two best records in the NBA, but forget about all that. Fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight!
Well, unfortunately for any fans who paid for blood, no definitive determinations were made as to whether or not Ibaka is, in Cap'n Jack's parlance, "bout dis life." What was made clear, though, is that Ibaka is a continually evolving player on both ends of the floor, and a growing offensive threat for an Oklahoma City team that most opponents would agree didn't need a heck of a lot more help scoring to begin with.
The 23-year-old Congolese power forward blistered out of the gate on Monday, making his first seven shots and turning in arguably the best game of his four-year NBA career. Ibaka finished with 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting with 17 rebounds, three blocked shots and an assist in 39 minutes as the Thunder whipped up on the Spurs, scoring a 107-93 home win at Chesapeake Energy Arena that was essentially over by the end of the third quarter. Oklahoma City extended its NBA-best winning streak to 11 games, pushed its NBA-best record to 20-4 and got level in its season series with San Antonio, who've dropped three of their lost four — all on the road — to fall to 19-7.
Hit the jump for highlights of Ibaka's big night, plus comments from Serge, Jackson and more.
Ibaka powers Thunder past Spurs in West battle (Reuters)
The News (Reuters) - Serge Ibaka produced a season-best 25 points and 17 rebounds to spark the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder to a 107-93 victory over Western Conference rivals San Antonio on Monday. Usually known for his defense and energy, Ibaka dominated the post against Tim Duncan to help the NBA-leading Thunder (20-4) cruise to their 11th straight win. "Serge was terrific tonight," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant told reporters. "They do a great job of taking the main scorers out of the game. So that's when you have to step up. ...
UPDATE 1-NBA-Ibaka powers Thunder past Spurs in West battle (Reuters)
The News (Adds quotes, details) * Spurs play without injured Ginobili * Thunder win 11th straight game Dec 17 (Reuters) - Serge Ibaka produced a season-best 25 points and 17 rebounds to spark the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder to a 107-93 victory over Western Conference rivals San Antonio on Monday. Usually known for his defense and energy, Ibaka dominated the post against Tim Duncan to help the NBA-leading Thunder (20-4) cruise to their 11th straight win. "Serge was terrific tonight," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant told reporters. "They do a great job of taking the main scorers out of the game. ...
NBA-Ibaka powers Thunder past Spurs in West battle (Reuters)
The News Dec 17 (Reuters) - Serge Ibaka's season-best performance of 25 points and 17 rebounds sparked the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder to a 107-93 victory over the West rival San Antonio Spurs on Monday. Known otherwise for his defense and energy, Ibaka dominated his matchup with Tim Duncan as the NBA-leading Thunder (20-4) cruised to their 11th straight win. Russell Westbrook added 22 and nine assists while Kevin Durant added 19 for Oklahoma City in a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals when the Thunder eliminated the Spurs. ...
The News OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two weeks after being called out by San Antonio's Stephen Jackson, Serge Ibaka got his payback. The Oklahoma City forward bullied the Spurs as he led the Thunder to a 107-93 victory Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Thunder stay atop West, thump Spurs 107-93 (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Serge Ibaka tied his career-best with 25 points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 107-93 Monday night for their 11th straight win.
Thunder win 10th straight, 113-103 over Sacramento (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 113-103 on Friday night for their 10th straight win.
Away from all the fines and drama, the San Antonio Spurs have the NBA’s best record (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Out of nowhere, out of quite literally 15 years of acting the nice guys and go-to role models, the San Antonio Spurs are suddenly a bunch of bad dudes. The team was fined a quarter of a million bucks for benching four starters and rakishly reporting to the media that the benchings were set in motion in order to rest starters in anticipation of a season that could last until June. Soon after, a Halloween photo surfaced featuring All-NBA good guys Tim Duncan and Tony Parker pointing toy guns at a party-goer dressed as NBA ref and longtime Duncan adversary Joey Crawford , earning boos for its lack of tact but understanding for the knowledge that we all do stupid things at Halloween parties.
And then there was Stephen Jackson's Friday night on Twitter, dishing insults to Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka that were inscrutable to seemingly everyone but his team and the NBA, who promptly fined the forward .
Through it all, the Spurs pay the nonsense absolutely no mind. And, following Monday's road victory over the Houston Rockets, the team stands at 18-4. That's the best record in the NBA, with a winning percentage that would bleed out to 68 wins if sustained throughout an entire season. Sixty-eight wins, in a season that ends in the year 2013 . A full decade after the "too old" Spurs shocked some by downing the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the second round and taking their second NBA title.
Coach Gregg Popovich shrugged, and spoke to the great Mike Monroe :
"It's drama to other people, but things happen, and we move on," Popovich said after his team's morning shootaround before the Spurs' 134-126 overtime victory over the Rockets. "We don't even discuss it. Nobody even talks about it.
Spurs’ Stephen Jackson fined $25K for threatening tweet about Serge Ibaka (Ball Don't Lie)
The News The speech might be free, but the bail costs money.
San Antonio Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson has been slapped with a $25,000 fine "for issuing a hostile statement directed to Serge Ibaka in a Twitter message," the NBA announced Sunday. The announcement by NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson followed a Sunday statement issued by the Spurs organization condemning the 34-year-old guard/forward, who has played for seven teams during a 12-plus-year NBA career.
"The recent public comments made by Stephen Jackson are absolutely unacceptable, can not be tolerated and do not reflect the standards held by the San Antonio Spurs," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said in the statement .
Those "public comments" came Friday night, following the Oklahoma City Thunder's nationally televised 114-108 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. Late in the fourth quarter, Thunder forward Ibaka and Lakers forward Metta World Peace got a little bit physical with one another while battling for rebounding position following a free throw. There was grabbing of jerseys, blowing of whistles and separating by teammates; beyond that, as ESPN color commentator Jeff Van Gundy said, "That was nothing."
Jackson, though, didn't appear to agree. Shortly thereafter, he posted a tweet — since deleted, natch — indicating that he doesn't find the 23-year-old Congolese big man's shows of physicality particularly believable, and would let him know so the next time the two meet:
Somebody tell serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That's a promise. He doin 2 much.
NBA-Spurs' Jackson fined for Ibaka statement (Reuters)
The News Dec 9 (Reuters) - The NBA have fined San Antonio's Stephen Jackson $25,000 for threatening Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka on Twitter, the league said on Sunday. Ibaka was involved in a confrontation with Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace on Friday which led Jackson, a friend of Peace's, to issue a threat to Ibaka on the social networking website. The San Antonio Spurs said they supported the punishment. ...
Ibaka scores 25, Thunder beat Pistons 105-94 (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Serge Ibaka scored a career-high 25 points, Kevin Durant chipped in a season-high 25 points and 13 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder broke in their new alternate jerseys by beating the winless Detroit Pistons 105-94 on Friday night.
Thunder get starting 5 back, beat Nuggets 108-101 (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- James Harden returned from an injury to score 16 points, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka also had 16 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Denver Nuggets 108-101 in a preseason game Sunday night.
Thunder top Bobcats 120-98 in home preseason debut (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Andy Rautins scored 20 points, Serge Ibaka added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Charlotte Bobcats 120-98 in a preseason game on Tuesday night.
The News Ibaka has agreed to a contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing back another key contributor to a team that made the finals last season.
Our View General manager Sam Presti announced Saturday that Ibaka had agreed to a multi-year extension but did not provide details, citing team policy. Yahoo! Sports first reported he deal is for four years and $48 million. Ibaka's signing could pivotal in the future of the franchise, which already has All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook locked into expensive, long-term contracts.
Ibaka's new deal with Thunder reportedly for $48M (The Associated Press)
The News OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka has agreed to a contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing back another key contributor to a team that made the finals last season.
BDL/Fourth-Place Medal Live Chat: Team USA vs. Australia in Olympic men’s hoops (Ball Don't Lie)
The News If you're an NBA fan counting down the seconds until the start of the 2012-13 season, you need to be in front of your television/streaming video conduit of choice on Wednesday. The four quarterfinal matchups in the Olympic men's basketball tournament — lovingly previewed on Tuesday at Y! Olympics blog Fourth-Place Medal — will feature a boatload of NBA talent, and not just on Team USA. The day's first game will see Group B winners Russia — who feature the recently signed Minnesota Timberwolves tandem of Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved, as well as Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov — take on a Lithuanian team are led by the Toronto Raptors duo of forward Linas Kleiza and promising young rising rookie center Jonas Valanciunas, who will make his NBA debut for the Raptors this season.
France vs. Spain will be a star-studded affair, with an NBA-heavy Spanish side (Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Jose Calderon, plus several former NBA pros now playing in Europe) squaring off against a French squad led by the San Antonio Spurs trio of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and new import guard Nando De Colo, plus Portland Trail Blazers swingman Nicolas Batum and developing Washington Wizards big man Kevin Seraphin. And Brazil vs. Argentina ought to be a barn-burner, with the incomparable Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola leading fellow NBA'ers Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni into battle against a Brazilian team that's anchored up front by Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao and Nene, and that gets its scoring punch from NBA vet (and current free agent) Leandro Barbosa.
And then, of course, there's the main event of the day — the 5:15 p.m. ET matchup between Team USA's galaxy of stars and an Australia team led by Spurs point guard Patty Mills. The U.S. is heavily favored, but the tough, hardscrabble Boomers won't just hand over a trip to the semifinals.
Join us back here at 5 p.m. Eastern time for a joint BDL-FPM live chat of USA vs. Australia and watch two talented teams vie for a trip to the Olympics' final four. (Just a reminder: We won't be able to get to every question or comment, though we'll try our best, and please remember to keep things PG-13 and civil. Much obliged.)
Take the jump to chat:
Oklahoma City Thunder 2012-13 TV Schedule (Yahoo! Contributor Network)
The News After finishing the 2011-12 NBA season with a 47-19 record and first in the Northwest Division, the Oklahoma City Thunder hope to succeed during the 2012-13 regular season with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka. This season, the Thunder have 30 nationally-televised games, including 10 games on TNT, 10 on ESPN, five on NBATV, and five on ABC.
The News BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - Spain's Serge Ibaka is more used to fierce defense but is bubbling with excitement as he bids to show his newfound attacking instincts in his first Olympics. "It's different, very different. I'm enjoying it," Ibaka, from the National Basketball Association's Oklahoma City Thunder, told Reuters on Wednesday. "Like last night." The 6-foot-10 Ibaka, the NBA leader in blocked shots the last two seasons and a member of the league's All-Defensive Team, scored 16 points for Spain against the U.S. ...
Hakeem Olajuwon wants to work with Serge Ibaka (Ball Don't Lie)
The News At the end of June , we noted that New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire has plans to work with Houston Rockets legend and master of the post Hakeem Olajuwon this summer. It's the latest in a long line of high-profile consultations for Hakeem, with stars like Dwight Howard , LeBron James and Kobe Bryant visiting for a few sessions.
Up until now, these players have sought out Olajuwon for help. However, perhaps spurred on by the success of previous training, Hakeem wants to reach out and help a young player improve his post skills: Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka. From Darnell Mayberry for The Oklahoman (via SLAM ):