Hello and welcome back to another exciting edition of 990WBOB’s NBA Notebook. It's been a busy week with the FIBA Tournament wrapping up and teams getting ready for the 2014-15 season. As Opening Night is just a month away, here are some of the things that are happening with the NBA today.
USA Takes the Gold
On September 14, 2014 the United States took on the Serbia in the FIBA Championship Final. The US were coming off a drubbing of Lithuania in the semi-finals while Serbia was riding high after it’s nail-biting victory over France in the other semi-final game. The two teams met in the finals with US looking to repeat as champions and Serbia trying to ride their momentum to glory. But in the end one team could only win.
In a dominating performance, the United States defeated Serbia 129 to 92. For the first 3 quarters the US scored 30+ points, including a halftime score where it was 67 to 41. It was only into the fourth quarter that the attack was called off. But by then, the game was out of reach. The US out shot Serbia 57.7 FG % to 48 FG %, including going 24-for-29 at the free throw line.
Eight out of the 12 players on the US score 10 points or more in the contest. PG Kyrie Irving lead all scorers with 26 points on 10-for-13 shooting in 24:30 minutes of play while teammate and Captain SG James Harden pitched in with 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 21:17 minutes of play. C DeMarcus Cousins led all rebounders in the game with 9 rebounds (to go with his 11 points and 2 blocked shots), while PG Derrick Rose lead the US in assists with 6. Rose, however, was the only one on the team to go scoreless.
On Serbia’s side, only 4 players broke into double-digit scoring. Teammates F Nikola Kalinic and F Nemanja Bjelica each scored 18 points while SG Bogdan Bogdanovic scored just 15 points. Milos Teodosic, the guard who helped Serbia defeat France with his 24 points in the semi-finals, was limited to just 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 23:30 minutes of play.
With that FIBA championship, the US Men’s team has won its second consecutive FIBA Championship title and its 5th overall, tying them with Yugoslavia all-time for most FIBA Championship Titles. And they did it without the star power of players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, or a Carmelo Anthony. Hats off the guys in the red, white, and blue and enjoy as much as the glory while it lasts.
Kings Retire Stojakovic's Jersey
It was over 18 years ago when the Sacramento Kings were searching for that key outside shooting presence. In the 1996 NBA Draft, they selected a young Croatian small forward named Peja Stojakovic. It would be another 2 years before he joined the club in the 1998-99 NBA Season. But once he did, he was one of the many players (along with teammates G Mike Bibby, C Vlad Divac, F/C Chris Webber, F Hideo Turkolu) that helped revitalize and put Sacramento back on the basketball map.
From 1998-2006, the Sacramento Kings went on an 8 year run where they made the playoffs each year. During that span, Stojakovic played a huge role in the team’s success. From 2000-2006, he averaged +20 points per game 4 out of the 6 years, shot only below .400 3 point shooting once (.382 in the 2002-203 season, and had a run from 2000-04 where he shot over .470 field goal percentage. Stojakovic was a 3 time NBA All-Star with the Kings (2002-2004) and was named All-NBA Second Team.
However the relationship between Stojakovic and the Kings came to an end during the 2005-2006 season when he was traded to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for SF Ron Artest (Metta World Peace’s first/original name). Stojakovic the proceeded to bounce around between the New Orleans Hornets, the Toronto Raptors, before finishing up his career in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks.
During his time with the Kings, Stojakovic played 17,723 minutes in 518 games. He scored 9,948 points (18.3 ppg), grabbed 2,581 reounds (5.0 rpg), and had a .461 field goal shooting percentage, including a .398 3-Pt field shooting percentage. He also is the franchise’s leader in 3-Pt shots made (1,070), 3-Pt shots attempted (2,687), and free throw percentage (.893).
Stojakovic’s #16 jersey now joins C Vlade Divac (21), PF/C Chris Webber (4) and SG Mitch Richmond (2) as the fourth jersey to be retired by the Kings since the team moved from Kansas City, Kansas to Sacramento in 1985.
Justice is Served
It just seems that 2014 was a year that was not good to be Indiana Pacers’ SG/SF Paul George. Aside from his team getting knocked out in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row, sustaining a season-ending compound leg fracture,
On April 28 this year, George had his Indianapolis home burglarized while he was away playing in a playoff basketball game. His parents were the ones who first discovered what had happened and called the police. When the police arrived, they found that the burglar had stolen many valuable items stolen including George’s platinum All-Star ring (valued at $15,000).
For a few months now, the Indianapolis police and Paul George could not find who had committed the crime. Then today earlier in the morning, some good news finally floated towards his way. Earlier in the morning, Indianapolis police arrested the man who broke into George’s house in April. The culprit was 43-year-old Michael Lewis of Whitestown, IN.
According to police reports, Lewis did not target the NBAer’s home. Rather it was just a random act by somebody trying to make a big score. George has yet to receive the items that was stolen from him but he at least found some closure and some justice for what had happened.
The Fate of Atlanta
Last week, the whole buzz around the beehive was the racial comments made by Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry and the ‘poorly-worded’ e-mail by Hawks CEO Bruce Levenson. Now Ferry has taken a leave of absence and Levenson sold his team share. But now there’s more fuel to this growing fire.
Ed Peskowitz and Todd Foreman, Levenson’s business partner from the Washington D.C.-based offices of the Hawks’ parent company Atlanta Hawk LLC, decided to follow Levenson and plan to sell their shares of the Atlanta Hawks. This means that 50.1 % of ownership of the Hawks has now become available. Already there have been reports of 6 potential buyers for that share. To make things interesting, there have been reports that NBA Hall of Famer and the Hawk’s all-time great Dominque Wilkins has been toying with the idea putting in his own big for ownership.
But with that much of ownership being available to be bought, fear is creeping into the minds of the people of Atlanta that the Hawks will take flight and leave Atlanta. Already they saw their NHL team, the Atlanta Thrashers, fly up to Winnipeg Canada to become the Jets and the Atlanta Braves move out to play baseball in the suburbs
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke with the Associated Press about what has happened in the past few days and the future of the team. He was quoted as saying that:
“We also have an interest in making sure that the new buyer wants to keep the team in the city and in the city. Let me be clear what that means — in the city and in the city. That means that a prospective owner that receives my support, and I believe the support of the Atlanta City Council, will make a long-term commitment to keep the Atlanta Hawks in the city of Atlanta and will make a long-term commitment not to move the franchise.”
It was also reported that Reed said that the city of Atlanta would give concessions to any new Hawks owner(s) in hope of keeping the basketball team within the city.
Support WBOB Sports