Tagged in: basketball

Rick Pitino hired as Greece´s national team coach

Rick Pitino is back in the coaching world after settling to take over as head coach of Greece’s national team. 

This marks Pitino’s first head-coaching gig since he turned down an offer to return to Panathinaikos in June. He went 10-9 and made the playoffs before being swept 3-0 by Real Madrid in his lone season with the team. 

The 67-year-old American coached Greek club Panathinaikos last season and guided the team to victory in the country’s cup competition before returning to the United States. He persists popular among Greek fans despite his outspoken criticism of smoking and rowdy behavior by spectators at games.

Pitino has served as head coach of the Puerto Rican national team in 2015 for the FIBA Americas Championships. That squad progressed to the second round in the tournament but was unable to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. 

Per Dionysis Aravantinos of EuroHoops.net, Thanasis Skourtopoulos will remain as Greece’s head coach for the EuroBasket tournament in February with Pitino taking over for the pre-Olympic tournament in the summer as the country attempts to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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Taking over the Greek squad could give Pitino an opportunity to coach reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who most recently played for his home country this summer in the FIBA World Cup.

The Greek basketball federation said Friday that Pitino will be formally presented on Monday, when details of his agreement will be announced.

”Really honored to be coaching the Greek National team,” Pitino wrote on Twitter. ”Have a lot of work and preparation ahead but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo both play for Greece and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Greeks narrowly missed out on reaching the quarterfinals at the World Cup in China in September. Pitino spent much of his career jumping between the college ranks and the NBA, coaching the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks as well as Kentucky and Louisville.

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Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic

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The road trip continues tonight as the Raptors (5-0) take on the Magic (1-4) at Amway Center in Orlando. Toronto is coming off impressive back-to-back wins out West over the Mavs and Thunder to enter tonight’s contest as one of two undefeated teams left in the league, alongside the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Orlando’s record is deceiving, having played some good basketball and lost two games in overtime to top-ranked teams in the Rockets and Thunder.

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Despite moving to 5-0 for the first time with Wednesday’s 103-98 win at Oklahoma City, Casey is trying to keep Toronto even keel after back-to-back Atlantic Division titles led to first-round playoff defeats.

The Raptors will try to continue their success at both ends, averaging an Eastern Conference-best 106.0 points while allowing 95.6. They’ve also held their last three opponents to a combined 25.9 percent shooting in the fourth quarter.

Toronto will certainly have to keep an eye on Evan Fournier in this meeting. A night after putting up a career-high 30 points in a 103-94 win at New Orleans, he had 29 and helped limit James Harden to 6-of-22 shooting in Wednesday’s 119-114 overtime loss at Houston.

Fournier, who averaged a career-high 12.0 points last season, is scoring a team-high 20.6. He’s made 55.4 percent from the field and 9 of 21 from 3-point range in his last three. Fournier has played well in his past five games against the Raptors, averaging 17.8 points.

Probable starters

Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, Jonas Valanciunas.

Orlando: Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Evan Fournier, Dewayne Dedmon.

Key matchup:Evan Fournier vs. Kyle Lowry/Cory Joseph.

Need to know:

  • The Raptors are off to their best start to a season but still have a ways to go to equal their biggest winning streak. They ran off nine straight in 2001-02
  • Nikola Vucevicwon’t play on Friday night. The team’s centre is out with a bone bruise on his right knee. Dewane Dedmon is expected to start in his place
  • Orlando is 1-4 but has fallen in a pair of very tight games this season. The Magic went to double OT with Oklahoma City on Oct. 30 and took the Rockets to overtime on Wednesday. They are losing their games by an average of 3.5 points
  • Mississauga’sAndrew Nicholson, now in his fourth year as a pro with the Magic, has seen action in one game this season.

 

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Chicago Bulls vs Charlotte Hornets

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Chicago Bulls (3-1) at Charlotte Hornets (0-3)
NBA Basketball: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm (Time Warner Cable Arena)
The Line: Charlotte Hornets +4 — Over/Under: 193

The Chicago Bulls look for their second road win to get off to a fast 4-1 start. The Chicago Bulls are averaging 99.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting and allowing 95 points on 39.6 percent shooting. Jimmy Butler is averaging 19.5 points and six rebounds while Nikola Mirotic is averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Pau Gasol is grabbing 7.8 rebounds and Derrick Rose is dishing 5.5 assists. The Chicago Bulls are allowing just 24.7 percent shooting from deep and have won 11 of their last 14 regular season games when allowing less than 100 points. The Bulls are playing as well as you could have hoped under new coach Fred Hoiberg. Kirk Hinrich is questionable with a toe injury.

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The Charlotte Hornets need a win after a tough 0-3 start to the year. The Charlotte Hornets are averaging 93.3 points on 39.1 percent shooting and allowing 98.3 points on 44.7 percent shooting. Kemba Walker is averaging 16.3 points and 5.3 assists while Nicolas Batum is averaging 13 points and 7.3 rebounds. Marvin Williams is grabbing nine rebounds and Jeremy Lin is dishing 3.3 assists. The Charlotte Hornets are getting just 58.7 points from their starters and are one of six teams that is shooting under 40 percent. The offensive struggles for the Hornets have clearly carried over from last season. The good news is that four of the Hornets last five wins have come on their home court.

The Bulls are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Hornets are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Bulls are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Charlotte.

Pay attention to Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes in this game, too. Kaminsky, despite limited playing time so far, has almost unquestionably played better than Hawes so far, and it’s only a matter of time before the rookie overtakes the veteran in minutes. There might not be a better time to illustrate the difference between the player’s abilities early in the season than this game, where athletic big men will have to play a large role no matter what.

The Hornets have played well so far, but not well enough to earn a win just yet. Despite playing against perhaps the biggest challenger for the Eastern Conference title, the Hornets will have a pretty good shot to get their first win of the season on their home court.

Observations

▪  Bulls big man Joakim Noah has bought into coming off the bench, which allows the Bulls to start Nikola Mirotic at power forward, where he’s is a classic “stretch 4.”

▪  If the Hornets don’t win tonight, there is a distinct possibility they could start the season 0-6, facing a tough trip to Dallas and San Antonio.

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Steph Curry says Obama talked a lot of trash during their round of golf

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Sounds like NBA MVP Stephen Curry needs to work on his golf game. The NBA champion told Jimmy Kimmel Tuesday that he and his dad lost a golf match to President Barack Obama on the 18th hole.

As if the the President watching you putt wasn’t enough, you’ve got Secret Service agents looming. That’s pressure.

President Obama is known to take his sports \very seriously, and he carries that competitive streak to the golf course.  The president drove Curry around in the golf cart, Curry said. When it came time to actually golf, Curry told Kimmel that Obama engaged in trash talk to distract his golfing partners.

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The president was talking trash, oh my goodness,” said Curry. Kimmel was confused. “How do you talk trash in golf?” he asked. “Like what, specifically, did he say?” Anything to get inside your head and throw you off your game, Curry replied. When Kimmel said that didn’t sound very relaxing, Curry laughed: “Well, there’s 25 Secret Service agents at every hole, so I couldn’t relax at all.”

According to Curry, Obama and Allen’s team won.

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