Thursday, August 14, 2008
First Cup: Thursday
Team USA has beaten Greece 92-69. Dwyane Wade was once again magnificent with the ball, and the defense looked good even against a respected offense. A good day for Coach Krzyzewski's team.
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Between practices and games, the U.S. basketball team doesn't have much free time, but most of the players -- among the most immediately recognizable athletes at the Games -- are taking advantage of the opportunity to appreciate the Olympics as spectators, even if it means being mobbed by their own fans in the stands. 'I heard my mom took a picture with LeBron,' Michael Phelps said. 'Having those guys here is pretty special. You can kind of hear them starting cheers and getting everybody going. It's pretty neat.'"
- Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post: "... this 24/7, camera-clicking, name-chanting worship of [Kobe] Bryant by the local masses at the Olympics might be the strangest foreign love affair with a U.S. pop icon since the French decided Jerry Lewis was a comic genius."
- Michael C. Lewis of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Coach Brian Goorjian had called it 'D-Day' for the Aussies, knowing that a loss to Iran ultimately would keep them from the quarterfinals for the second straight Olympics. Now, they have at least a slim chance of advancing, but they probably have to beat Russia and the Jazz's Andrei Kirilenko on Saturday. 'It's been very demoralizing the last couple of days,' Andrew Bogut said, 'just walking around the village seeing the Argentines walking around all happy, and the Croatians, and so on. Obviously, they deserved the wins, there's no doubt about that, but it's kind of demoralizing in that sense.'"
- Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee: "The Ron Artest trade is hours from being finalized, but in typical Geoff Petrie fashion, the Kings basketball president will twist and turn until the swap with the Houston Rockets is official. He never wavers. He always sweats until the agreement has been approved by the league attorneys, which is expected to happen about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday."
- Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times: "While acquring Luke Ridnour may have surprised some observers, trading Mo Williams didn't. The Bucks have been shopping Williams all summer -- despite the fact he was coming off an outstanding offensive season in which he had averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 assists. But Williams played abysmal defense and some of his teammates quietly complained about his selfishness on the court, often-times neglecting to pass the ball to teammate and taking a shot himself. 'The Cavs have had their eyes on Mo for a long time,' said Mark Bartelstein, Williams' agent. 'They talked about him when he was a free agent last summer.'"
- Gary D. Howard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "No. Luke Ridnour is not as good a basketball player as Mo Williams. And Damon Jones can't even dribble. Still, this is a very good move. Wait a minute, G., you're talking out of both sides of your mouth! What I mean is the point guard position on the Milwaukee Bucks has been upgraded because of one simple fact: Williams and Michael Redd just did not work. At all. We're talking about no chemistry whatsoever, no conversation on the court, and they barely even passed the rock to each other."
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: "Oklahoma City's NBA team traded for Desmond Mason on Wednesday, keeping the streak alive. Mason has been part of every Oklahoma City NBA season in history. Two years with the Hornets, now the inaugural season with the Not-the-Sonics. And this news checks in at somewhere between marvelous and fabulous for OKC. Mason is the kind of player, and person, every franchise can use."
- Harlan Goode of The Washington Times: "Jeff Green has heard the new uniforms will be Oklahoma Sooners crimson. Or maybe orange, in honor of Oklahoma State. Or perhaps some combination of both. As for the team's nickname, he has heard rumors of forces of nature, Great Plains fauna, feudal vassals and officers of the law. 'I like the Marshalls,' Green said, eschewing Barons, Bison, Thunder, Energy and Wind - the five other potential nicknames for the franchise formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics. 'It's pretty cool. The whole cop thing, being in charge. It's interesting. But I really don't care which one it is.' The former Georgetown player learned to adjust during his turbulent rookie year in the NBA."
- Sarah Rothschild of The Miami Herald "Q: Dwyane Wade has looked impressive in the Olympics. What is your take? Alonzo Mourning: 'D-Wade and I had a long conversation (before he left). He understands the responsibility that he has as a (Heat) team leader, as a franchise player and I think he has accepted that responsibility and he did that by taking a different approach this summer and taking care of his body. You can see that he's coming back stronger than ever. He has his explosiveness back. He's only 26, so he's got a lot of good basketball in him. I think his maturation process (has progressed) towards him educating himself and understanding what he has to do to take care of his body to endure the rigors of the season, and accept responsibility on both ends of the court.'"
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "What apparently prompted the confidence that Goran Dragic is coming to Phoenix was the same event that prompted the Dragic-to-stay reports in Slovenian and Spanish stories earlier this week. Remember when Dragic made the comments about staying to Slovenian reporters and they were picked up by Spanish media? It turns out Dragic was coming out of the offices of Geoplin Slovan, his original Slovenian club (not the one that Tau loaned him to last season). He was there to sign a release document that allows Tau to negotiate a buyout with Dragic. That action is prompted by the court case that Geoplin Slovan won earlier this summer in Slovenia, where it was ruled that Dragic was under contract to play there when he signed his contract with Tau. That ruling has enabled Geoplin Slovan to negotiate for a percentage of any buyout Dragic agrees to signing with Tau. That is just one of the 'red tape' hurdles that we've been hearing about to slow the process of Dragic coming to the Suns."
- Sarah Rothschild of The Miami Herald: "Longtime Heat fan Sarah Wiseman is known to tell family members she can't talk when Heat games are on TV. She had plenty to say Wednesday afternoon, as Heat center Alonzo Mourning surprised her during her 102nd birthday celebration at the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital at Douglas Gardens. Wiseman, who turns 102 on Saturday and is believed to be the oldest living Heat fan, met the team's eldest player. Mourning, 38, gave Wiseman one of his No. 33 jerseys with her last name stitched on the back, led the singing of Happy Birthday for the dozens of guests and invited her to a Heat game this season."