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Friday Bullets

  • The Heat sold LeBron James on stability and loyalty, and because of how he was raised -- with little stability -- that had real appeal.

  • Many suspect there was some tanking in the Russia-Greece game yesterday. Here's what Jay Aych of the Painted Area saw: "Hard to tell if these teams were going all out. At the time of the game, it looked like Spain was likely to be the 3-seed in Group D. The winner of this game would have had to face Spain in the Round of 16. Got the sense that both teams were aware what probably awaited them in the next game if they had won. I would have wanted to play France in the Round of 16, too. But this time, Greece's (possible) tanking might have backfired as New Zealand threw a wrench in their plans. Greece was in a similar situation last year, trying to avoid Spain in the quarters of EuroBasket. Greece got what they wanted, they lost to France and avoided Spain. They were not so lucky this year."

  • There are so many loaded matchups in the round of 16. Greece vs. Spain is a battle of medal contenders, one of whom will go home very disappointed. Serbia vs. Croatia is almost a parody of a politically charged pairing. ESPN's Chris Sheridan tells of Brazil vs. Argentina's subplot: "This game between two bitter, longtime rivals features one of the better subplots of the tournament, with Brazil being coached by Ruben Magnano -- the architect of Argentina's gold-medal-winning team at the 2004 Olympics and the 2002 runner-up team at the world championship (when the Argentines were robbed of the gold medal by a non-call at the end of regulation against Yugoslavia). After losing Andres Nocioni to a sprained ankle on the eve of the tournament, Argentina has been leaning heavily on the low-post skills of Scola, who Brazil will defend with Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao. Brazil will try to force an up-tempo pace as it did in its two-point loss to the United States, and it could come down to who gets a better game from its backcourt -- Marcelo Huertas and Leandro Barbosa of Brazil, or Pablo Prigioni and Carlos Delfino of Argentina. Said Magnano: 'Without a doubt, it is going to be a clasico on our continent.'"

  • So if the U.S. are now the clear favorites, who's second? A vote for the hosts, Turkey.

  • Oh man, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a bit of a brain fart on Jeopardy, and flubs a question about his own appearance in the movie "Airplane." (From the archives, I'm learning, but new to me!)

  • Carlos Boozer assigns himself the job of raising the Bulls' expectations.

  • John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog: "I really enjoyed this Slate article, which uses Kevin Durant as a jumping-off point into how we project things onto athletes. The important takeaway is that it isn’t really all that important whether Durant is or isn’t all the good things people say about him (I think he is); It’s that we’ve been down this road before, whether it was Tiger Woods or LeBron James or Alex Rodriguez or Pete freaking Rose. And it’s fine to praise Durant for doing everything right, which he has. It’s when we get into 'this guy should be more like THAT guy!' when things get dangerous, because what we’re really saying is 'this guy should appear to be more like THAT guy' I mean, if LeBron’s 'I don’t want to go ring-chasing. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a championship' quote from a 2006 interview came right after another high-profile player left his team to go chase rings, he’d have been lionized for it, right?"

  • Many times through the years I have mentioned quant expert and former NBA gambler Haralabos Voulgaris. When I do, it is usually greeted by a few comments doubting the gambling success that he says his quantitative analysis has inspired. Here's a new way to convince people this former skycap has done well for himself: Check out these images of his house, which is now for sale. And in case you're not convinced he really lives in the house in those photos, here he is on a show that is kind of like a gambler's version of "Cribs," showing off things like his dog's treadmill and -- amazing -- the automatic doggie door which is activated by a chip in the dog's collar.

  • If Tyreke Evans can learn to make jumpers, he'll be amazing.

  • Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered: "Ben Gordon’s biggest positive suggesting he should start: his contract. He’s paid like a starter. But that’s not really the best case to make for someone starting. I like Gordon, and I empathize with him -- he produced very well offensively in Chicago and always wanted to start. He left as a free agent largely looking for an opportunity to start. And while injuries cost him a good portion of his season a year ago, if there was one thing we learned about Ben Gordon, it’s that he might just be a guy who is much better suited to coming off the bench."

  • About a year ago I linked to a startup website hoping to do what many have done: To be a one-stop shop helping you find a court to play on near wherever you may be. Courts of the World is still in its early stages, but it's growing like crazy and well on its way. If they can reach critical mass, it would be a super valuable tool for hoops junkies everywhere.

  • Worst moment in Knick draft history?

  • The defensive mistake that cost Argentina a game.

  • The teams that do the best job using the D-League.

  • Snoop Dogg in a Karl Malone jersey. The real trick would be to get Karl Malone in Snoop Dogg gear.

  • Carlos Arroyo almost never attacks the basket and takes a lot of long 2s.

  • Yi Jianlian sits a game, and China loses by 47. Then China got a lucky bounce and made it into the elimination round of the World Championships.

  • Remembering Delonte West, on video, when he wore green before.

  • Is Andrew Bogut going to be OK?

  • Warriors blogger Ethan Sherwood Strauss is here to tell you what you should take away from the World Championships about Stephen Curry: "An NFL game featuring giant dudes you’ll never meet is IMPORTANT; a preseason NFL game featuring those same dudes is an expensive waste of concussions. To generalize, Americans don’t really care about the World Championships, and that’s why the best NBA players don’t care about the Worlds either. That’s why the Miami Heat could school this particular 2010 USA grad school team. That’s why Curry is on the team in the first place. I’ve seen hand-wringing over Steph’s shaky play, an understandably overreactive pose in the in the NBA’s Winter (Summer). But Eric Gordon is playing like an NBA Jam character, and Gordon spent all of last year not improving. Perhaps this is a Tunisian-infused small sample size, and perhaps Gordon’s learning curve actually lives in Turkey. Either way, my analysis of that player is unbudged–he still falls short of Stephen Curry. So enjoy the tournament, don’t scout it." I'm not sure I entirely agree, but I sure love reading Ethan's prose.