Friday, August 3, 2012
By Henry Abbott
- Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and James Harden take the beach volleyball court against the best women's pair ever and lose. It all happened moments before Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings took the court for a late-night Olympic match (which they won 21-14, 21-19 over Czechs Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova). Jon Ackerman quotes Walsh on NBC's website: "At first I'm like, 'Gosh, we got to be focusing,'" Walsh said. "But when you're so intense, once they're there and you're getting their energy, it's such a welcome distraction. Because we're out there, (the previous match) went three games again, and we're just waiting and waiting and waiting so it's a good distraction… They're awesome and they have magic about them and I want to take some of that magic."
- This whole highlight reel is full of wonderful stuff, especially Kobe Bryant finding Kevin Durant on the break. But 2:37 in is some magic, when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, former UCLA teammates, combine for something special against Nigeria.
- A lot of basketball camps have themes like flight or dreams or rising etc. Tony Allen's camp -- the Chicago version ends today -- has the theme of "grit and grind." Now those are lessons you can use on and off the court.
- For some reason, the trampoline coach GIF at the end here just slays me.
- I do not believe any and all performance enhancing drugs should be allowed, simply because I don't believe fans want competitions to be decided by things they don't intuitively understand. (You win with working out, caffeine, ibuprofen, etc. everyone gets that. You win 'cause some team in some lab tweaked a molecule we'll never identify ... well, people have never shown an interest in buying tickets to root for people in lab coats. The standard, to me, is and ought to be: Elite athletes can use tools that are commonly available. That's also a good approximation of what's tolerably safe, and a standard that can evolve. If there comes a time tens of millions use human growth hormone, or testosterone gel, that's when I'd welcome them in the NBA or at the Olympics.) All that said, we have to acknowledge that testing technology will likely always lag behind cheating technology, a loophole that is pointed out strongly here.
- Nigeria did have a serious highlight against Team USA, thanks to George Mason point guard Tony Skinn.
- Think there might be more moves to come? It says here the Rockets have nine power forwards right now.
- What if they photographed basketball, and other Olympic sports, as lustily as they do beach volleyball? (Via kottke and I guess kind of racy, but nothing that isn't already commonplace in beach volleyball.)
- A prediction the Timberwolves and Jazz will make the playoffs in the West this year, over the Mavericks, Warriors, Hornets, Rockets, Blazers, Suns, etc.
- Timofey Mozgov is a foul machine, but very productive when he is on the court.
- That guy using his putter to chip the ball out of the sand by the side of the freeway? That's Jeremy Lin. And later: Massage of fire. His website is getting interesting.
- People were aghast at the tanking in badminton, but it's selective outrage. There has been plenty of "not trying our hardest" at these games and in sports generally. The Japanese women's soccer team, British cycling ... and, as SheridanHoops Chris Sheridan points out, some could be coming in hoops, too: "Over in Group B, the jockeying is to finish 1st or 3rd. If you finish 2nd, you will likely have to play the Americans in the semifinals. Going into the final two games of pool play, Russia and Spain are tied at 3-0, and those teams play each other tomorrow. Should Russia defeat Spain, a tank alert should go out for Monday. That is when Spain will play Brazil with 2nd place in the group at stake. Whoever wins would be on track to play the U.S. in the semifinals. Whoever loses gets to avoid Team USA until the final." When there's a strategic advantage in playing poorly, expect it. It's a failing of the rules, as much as anything.