U.S. women's basketball team seeking 'feel-good game' against Nigeria after 2 losses


ESPN 17 July, 2021 - 08:33pm 6 views

Who will replace Bradley Beal?

2020 Olympics: JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson replace Bradley Beal and Kevin Love on the USA Basketball men's national team. The team has made some last second replacements befoe heading off to Tokyo. Bullets Forever2020 Olympics: McGee, Johnson replace Beal, Love on USA MBB team

Why is Bradley Beal leaving Team USA?

Love's withdrawal comes a day after the U.S. team announced that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal would miss the Olympics because he was in health and safety protocols. Love would have been trying for a second Olympic gold medal, having played for the Americans in London in 2012. Los Angeles TimesMcGee and Johnson to replace Love and Beal on U.S. team

The Team USA men's basketball team acted quickly in naming replacements for Bradley Beal and Kevin Love with the Olympics right around the corner. San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson and Denver Nuggets big man JaVale McGee have been added as replacements, the team announced Friday.

Beal was placed into health and safety protocols earlier this week, and it was determined that he would not be able to travel with the team to Tokyo, Japan for the Olympics. His quarantine also caused Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant to be placed into health and safety protocols, and also led to the cancellation of Team USA's exhibition game against the Australian national team on Friday.

Love is opting out due to a lingering right calf injury that hampered him throughout the 2020-21 NBA season. Love pulled out as he felt he wasn't at his peak performance to compete in the Olympics. While Johnson and McGee certainly don't make up for the production that Beal alone would've provided on offense, a decision needed to be made quickly with Team USA's first game just nine days away against France on July 25. 

Johnson has impressed the Olympic staff as he's been training on the USA Select Team in Las Vegas alongside the team that will be heading to Tokyo, and McGee will add some much-needed depth in the frontcourt. Johnson is already in Vegas and has been training alongside the Olympic players, so bringing him onto the roster was an easy move. McGee, who spent this past season playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Nuggets will travel to Vegas on Saturday.  

McGee has had a journeyman career in the league, playing for seven different teams over his 16 years. He's also a three-time champion between his two rings with the Golden State Warriors and winning the title with the Lakers in the Orlando bubble last season. Standing at 7-feet tall he provides great length and rim protection for the U.S. 

Although Johnson is only in his second year in the NBA, he had a breakout year with the Spurs after getting more opportunity in San Antonio. He averaged nearly 13 points, six rebounds and two assists while starting all but two games this year. There's also the obvious Gregg Popovich connection in this decision as the Team USA coach has spoken glowingly about Johnson while coaching him in San Antonio for the past two years.

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USA call JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson into their Olympic basketball team

MARCA.com 18 July, 2021 - 03:00am

The Nuggets and Spurs players come in to replace Beal and Love

Both McGree and Johnson have been called in to cover for the absences of Bradley Beal and Kevin Love.

Johnson is coming into the setup to replace the Washington Wizards' player, and has experience of working under Popovich before during their time together in San Antonio. Last season, he started 67 of the 69 games he played and averaged 12.8 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists.

McGree, meanwhile, is stepping up to replace the Cleveland Cavaliers player and averaged 7.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.

WATCH: What's been going wrong with Team USA in exhibition play ahead of the Tokyo Olympics?

Celtics Wire 18 July, 2021 - 03:00am

Why has Team USA struggled so much in exhibition games so far despite having far and away the most talent on paper of any team competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

After dropping two of their first three friendlies held in Las Vegas, Nevada before losing a pair of stars to USA Basketball’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, is it fair to wonder whether the U.S. National team will medal at all, never mind take home the Gold? And what is behind the non-viral problems the team has been dealing with against ostensibly less-talented squads?

New England sports journalist emeritus Bob Ryan and NBA analyst John Goodman tackle exactly these questions in the latest edition of their eponymous CLNS Media podcast.

Check it out for yourself in the video embedded above to hear them troubleshoot Team USA, talk NBA Finals, and more.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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In Photos: The amazing Women's Olympic Basketball journey of Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird

FIBA 18 July, 2021 - 03:00am

COLORADO SPRINGS (USA) - Legendary duo Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird are preparing not only for their fifth Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament, but they are also chasing their fifth gold medal when they appear at Tokyo 2020.

Here is the story of the USA backcourt pairing and their incredible Olympic journey over the past 17 years.

Taurasi made an instant impression on her Olympic debut after coming within one rebound of a double-double with 12 points and 9 board in USA's opener against New Zealand in a commanding 99-47 success. 

While  Taurasi was playing her first major global tournament for her country at senior level, Bird had already tasted gold two years earlier at the 2002 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.  The playmaker also started strongly in Greece with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.

As the curtain fell on the action in Athens, both players celebrated scooping their maiden gold medal as USA eased past Australia 74-63 in the title game. This was just the start of a meteoric rise on the international stage for the pair.

While Taurasi only finished third top scorer for her team at this event, she still posted some huge and timely contributions like always, most notably dropping 21 points in the Semi-Final against Russia - a country where she spent much of her time winning trophies in club basketball at Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje and UMMC Ekaterinburg with Bird.

As was becoming customary, USA landed another title without any of their opponents laying a glove on them. Taurasi and Bird claimed consecutive Olympic gold medals as their team cruised past Australia 92-65 in the Final. It also put them back on top of global basketball, after they failed to win the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2006 when the Opals occupied the top podium step.

With two positive experiences of Athens and Beijing already in the books and on the resume, it was the British capital that was the scene for Taurasi and her colleague gunning for the hat-trick of gold medals. 

And so it materialized for Taurasi and Bird as USA finished their campaign unbeaten with a convincing 86-50 win against first-time Finalists, France.

The champions were so dominant that no team even got within 18 points of them throughout the tournament. The offensive power was far too much for their opponents to handle as the USA smashed past the 100-point mark dix times - including their 101-72 win against Spain in the Final.

Meanwhile Taurasi top-scored for her team, pouring in almost 16 points per game, She reached double-digits in 7 of the 8 games, netting 17 points in the title clash against Spain.

Now we're all waiting to see what Chapter 5 in Tokyo might hold for these two legends of the women's game.

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CJ McCollum Unloads Harsh Reality Hounding Team USA

ClutchPoints 17 July, 2021 - 06:55pm

C.J. McCollum is all out in support of Portland Trail Blazers teammate Damian Lillard and Team USA, but he’s also in touch with the reality that this squad is facing.

Losing two of their three exhibition games to date coupled with the exit of two original roster selections, Gregg Popovich and co. are met with some unfamiliar adversities ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Blazers guard spoke his mind in his “Pull Up with CJ McCollum” podcast, saying:

“Team USA has definitely struggled out of the gate … The major issue is they haven’t had a lot of time to practice. Essentially just having five to seven days to play together as a team, to kind of go through plays, from a chemistry standpoint understanding spacing, you have a lot of players on the court who are trying to get used to each other.”

As Team USA’s coaches and players try their best to crack the chemistry issue, things took a turn for the worse when Kevin Love and Bradley Beal’s names were taken out of the lineup for different reasons. San Antonio Spurs youngster Keldon Johnson and Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee were slotted in to replace the two All-Stars.

As of writing, Team USA is ranked third overall in FIBA’s list, behind Spain and number one ranked Australia.

McCollum isn’t wrong in pointing out these concerns. Lillard, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and co. are able to do a lot of things on the floor so figuring out how to make them work best together is actually a good problem for Team USA’s coaches.

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