USA upset by Mexico in first game of FIBA AmeriCup tournament – NBC Sports

RECIFE, Brazil — Paul Stoll had 15 points and nine assists, and Mexico defeated the U.S. 73-67 on Friday in the opening game of Group C play for both teams at the FIBA AmeriCup.
Fabian James added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Mexico.
Jeremy Pargo led the U.S. with 14 points. Norris Cole scored 11 and Gary Clark grabbed 12 rebounds for the Americans.
Both teams shot 39%. But the U.S. committed 18 turnovers to Mexico’s 13, and was whistled for 22 fouls to Mexico’s 15.
The loss doesn’t knock the U.S. out of contention, though certainly puts the pressure on the Americans going into their final two games in group stage.
There are 12 teams at AmeriCup, broken into three groups of four. The top two teams from each group are guaranteed berths in the quarterfinals, as well as two of the three third-place teams.
That means the U.S. would still likely reach the quarterfinals with wins in its two remaining group games, and would even have a chance by going 1-1 in those contests.
The U.S. is using a roster composed of players who were most recently on either G League teams or international clubs.
The AmeriCup event is separate from the ongoing qualifying for next year’s Basketball World Cup — which serves as a primary path for teams to earn a spot in the field for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Ime Udoka, the coach who in his first season helped the Boston Celtics find their identity and ride that all the way to the NBA Finals, has been suspended by the team and will not coach in the 2022-23 season.
The Celtics officially said the suspension was due to “violations of team policies.” Multiple reports say the violation was a consensual but improper intimate relationship with a Celtics staff member (a transgression because of the power dynamic in play).
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 23, 2022

Udoka released this statement to ESPN:
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Despite rumors he might, Udoka did not resign. Whether he returns to the Celtics or not in future years is not yet decided, he was not given a guarantee he would be brought back.
This is not new to the NBA, Gersson Rosas was fired as the Timberwolves GM for having an extramarital affair with a female Minnesota staff member last year (among other concerns).
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla reportedly will be asked to guide the Celtics (Boston lost its lead assistant last season, Will Hardy, who took over the head coaching job with the Utah Jazz). It’s a lot to put on the 34-year-old coach, a rising star in the industry — he interviewed for the Jazz job this summer — who has been thrust into the spotlight. The Celtics also will be without center Robert Williams to start the season as he undergoes another knee surgery, and they lost reserve forward Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL.
The Celtics’ decision to come down hard on Udoka follows in the wake of — and may in part be a reaction to — the Robert Sarver situation in Phoenix. There, the behavior of the franchise owner — and a light punishment from the league — led to considerable backlash, with players speaking out and sponsors starting to pull away (Sarver has announced he will sell the team).
Udoka, who comes out of the Spurs/Gregg Popovich coaching tree, was hand selected by Brad Stevens to replace him on the bench when Stevens jumped to the front office. It took half a season and a couple of personnel moves, but the Celtics ultimately bought into what Udoka preached to them, finished the season on a 26-6 run, and carried that momentum into the playoffs.
The Celtics enter this season as one of the title favorites, but now have a coaching question to answer in an East that is unforgiving with the Bucks, 76ers, Heat, Nets and more.
Reports from the Clippers’ preseason workouts say John Wall has impressed — and he’s excited to be back on the court. After sitting out all of last season, and having missed all of the 2019-20 COVID/bubble season with a torn ACL and a heel infection, it’s been a long time since we have seen All-Star John Wall playing at a high level.
When circumstance forced him off the court, depression took over his life following his torn Achilles (and subsequent infections), and the death of his mother. Wall says it got to the point he came close to committing suicide before finally seeking help, something he opened up about in a story at the Players Tribune.
“I was this close to taking my own life…
For me, it all happened really fast. In the span of three years, I went from being on top of the world to losing damn near everything I ever cared about. In 2017, I’m jumping up on the announcer’s table in D.C. after forcing Game 7 against Boston, and I’m the king of the city. I’m getting a max extension, thinking I’m a Wizard for life. A year later, I tore my Achilles and lost the only sanctuary I’ve ever known — the game of basketball. I ended up with such a bad infection from the surgeries that I nearly had to have my foot amputated. A year later, I lost my best friend in the whole world, my mom, to breast cancer…
That was when I started going to a really dark place. The thoughts would be playing in my head like… “My best friend is gone. I can’t play the game I love. Everybody just got their hand out. Nobody is checking on me for me. It’s always coming with something attached. Who’s there to hold me down now? What’s the point of being here?”
Wall said his children kept him from going through with it for a while, but even that was almost not enough. Eventually, he admitted to those closest to him he needed help. They got him to a therapist, which started to turn things around.
Wall is the latest in a line of NBA players — DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love are the biggest names — to talk about their mental health struggles. It’s a step in removing the stigma and getting other people, athletes and non-athletes alike, both talk about it and seek help if they need it. Wall stepping forward is a big thing.
And being back on the court with the Clippers, he will have a much louder megaphone to discuss the issue going forward.
While addressing the media on Thursday, the Clippers’ President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said that Kawhi Leonard has been cleared for 5-on-5 work. He also said that Kawhi Leonard wants to do “everything”, but they’re going to be cautious.
“One, he feels great,” Frank said. “Two, his plan is, look, he wants to participate in everything,” Frank said. “And I think three, organizationally, we’re going to be cautious. There will be a step-by-step approach.” (h/t Law Murray)
Kawhi missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2021. The Clippers lost in the Western Conference Finals that year and in the play-in tournament last season. There’s been a “what if” every year since Kawhi and Paul George joined forces in LA.
Frank also said that George is 100% healthy and has had an “extremely productive off-season”. PG missed 43 games last season with an elbow injury. The team has been plagued by injuries for years, but things are looking up as they enter the season.
The team didn’t give an official timeline for Kawhi’s return to the court. However, Kawhi wanting to do “everything” includes the preseason. It may be a very limited sample size, but we could see him play in the preseason. Their first preseason game will be on October 3rd against Portland.
The Clippers have high expectations this season with their star duo back healthy and the addition of Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and John Wall since the trade deadline last season. They will be incredibly careful to avoid their season being derailed by injuries yet again.
We haven’t seen Ben Simmons on an NBA court for more than a year. That will change in the coming weeks.
However, first he opened up to JJ Redick on the “Old Man and the Three” podcast — starting with what happened on the infamous dunk he passed out of in Game 7 vs. the Hawks in 2021, a play Joel Embiid said turned the game.
Ben Simmons and @jj_redick revisit the passed-up dunk in Game 7 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Watch the full episode:
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) September 22, 2022

“I just spun and I’m assuming Trae Young is gonna come over quicker. So I’m thinking he’s gonna come quickly and I see Matisse Thybulle going and Matisse is athletic and gets up so I’m thinking, ‘Okay, quick pass, he’s gonna flush it’ not knowing how much space there was that happened. It happened so quickly that you just make a read. And in the playoffs, you need to make the right decisions majority of the time. And for that moment. I mean, it happened and I was like, Okay, f***, now we gotta go make another play.”
Simmons then owned how bad it looked in replay (although he didn’t talk about how it looked like a guy who didn’t want to get fouled because of his struggles at the line).
“Yeah, it was terrible. I was like, when I look at it now I think, man, punch that s***. But it didn’t happen. And I was okay, that I can live with it, okay. I mean, everyone’s trying to kill me over one play.”
Simmons opened up in the podcast about other areas, like when coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of practice.
“I just was not in that place to play. Like, I wasn’t, I just couldn’t do it. And you’re getting kicked out that that practice that day actually spoke to Doc Rivers before practice. I was like, ‘Doc, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready, please. Just understand that.’ I tried to let him know prior. Then he’s like, ‘Well, I’m gonna put you in any way.’ And he told me to get in. I looked at him. It was like one minute into practice. Like, ‘you get in.’ And I’m like, ‘first of all, no one’s doing that, you’re doing this on purpose.’ And that’s how it felt to me like, ‘okay, so it seems like everyone’s just trying to f*** me now.’”
And how the talk of him not having a good jump shot got in his head.
“I didn’t really realize that early on in my career because this started building up and I’m like, ‘They’re saying I can’t. Should I not? I’m f****** confused now… It did f*** with me a lot. But I kind of found peace in a place where I’m just like f*** it, it’s basketball.”
Simmons’ level of play and fit is one of a gym full of questions for the Brooklyn Nets to answer as they head into training camp next week. If everything clicks this team is a title contender, but the lineup of questions runs out the door and around the block, and Simmons is a big one.


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