Posts Tagged ‘A.C. Green’

The China Experience, And What Comes Next For NBA Overseas

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HANG TIME WEST – The girl — about 5-foot-2 and appearing to be in her mid-teens — was caught in the mosh pit, jostled by enthusiastic fans on the rope line outside the hotel the teams shared in Beijing and overly aggressive security guards who would get unnecessarily physical to control situations. And she didn’t care.

It was the first morning the Lakers and Warriors were in China, last Sunday outside the Ritz-Carlton. She had straight dark hair parted in the middle, down just past the shoulders, black-rimmed glasses with yellow temples, paper in hand. She also had a dark streak from right eye to throat, tears combined with mascara.

She was crying at the chance to see Warriors players, coaches and staffers walk past on the way to the bus to practice, most of whom stopped among the crowd for autographs and pictures. A.C. Green, the former Laker and current Oakland resident on the trip as an NBA ambassador, spent about 20 minutes, or until every one of the few dozen fans who wanted an interaction left happy. It was the teenage girl who spoke up.

“I love basketball,” she said in broken English. “It is the importance of my life.”

The Warriors and Lakers in China was a hard schedule even with the first-class travel, with a series of appearances in the name of NBA public relations when players would rather have had alone time, and it was an unwanted trip for many with the regular season coming fast. But it was undeniably an experience of unique sights and sounds. Just ask Green and the girl with black watery line down her face.

A basketball takeaway? The 14 assists and five steals by Andre Iguodala in Shanghai on Friday. It was exhibition play, and not exactly against the dream Lakers lineup on a night no L.A. starter broke 26 minutes, Iguodala the distributor is intriguing look when Stephen Curry is out, or maybe even when Curry is in and able to play off the ball. Toney Douglas may be listed as Curry’s backup, but Iguodala, the likely starter at small forward or shooting guard, said he feels comfortable at the point. He has experience in the pros, mostly from his 76ers days. If Iguodala can be successful there, Golden State can play very big (Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green, David Lee, Andrew Bogut) as part of several lineup options coach Mark Jackson can deploy with a versatile roster.

Meanwhile, Jerry West delighting in the chance to go mostly unrecognized proved to be short-lived. He received a very loud ovation at the first game, Tuesday in Beijing, when he was brought to center court to be introduced with Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues and Green, and so many fans interrupted West at his seat back in the stands that the Warriors executive was finally moved to the scorer’s table with security close. Team officials are ordinarily not allowed to sit there, but the rules are bent for The Logo in a different continent.

Kobe Bryant left China with his status for the regular season in as much doubt as when he arrived. Bryant has not ruled out opening night, Oct. 29 against the Clippers, and he continues to increase the workout activities in the return from a torn Achilles’ tendon. But he is also underlining patience. As much as he wants to be on the court as soon as possible, Bryant gets the risk of coming back too soon and playing before the injury is fully healed.

The Warriors landed in Oakland at 1 a.m. Saturday with plans for a very quiet Saturday and a light practice Sunday to get re-adjusted to California time, and then for a big week ahead for the entire organization: Talks on an extension for Andrew Bogut could accelerate, with both sides optimistic a deal can get done before or very early into the regular season. A Golden State insider, while cautioning a lot of negotiating remains, agreed with Bogut’s assessment that team and player are starting serious conversations in the same ballpark on dollars and with common ground on length and possible incentive clauses based on games played. There is no deadline, but Bogut, hoping to stay, either wants the contract done soon or table the issue until after the season.

Beijing and Shanghai both have nice basketball facilities, but especially Shanghai, with Mercedes-Benz Arena and a second quality building in another part of town that was used for a Fan Appreciation Day. Shanghai as a whole has a very modern vibe. It has about six million more people in the city itself, yet seems to move smoother and is cleaner than the country’s government center.

One other thing about Beijing: Cabbies make the most ruthless of New York taxi drivers seem timid. It’s probably not only the cabbies, either. Traffic lines are suggestions, yielding to pedestrians an occasional happening.

And finally, there was Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni on Thursday in Shanghai, when asked what kind of restaurant he went to the night before with Yao Ming: “Chinese. But that would be just ‘food’ over here, right?”

For Durable KD, Streak Will Go On Tonight

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Six wins in their last 10 games is a veritable cold snap for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are coming off a 115-110 loss at Cleveland two nights ago. Most notable in defeat, however, was the painful right rib contusion that ailed the league’s top scorer, Kevin Durant.

Feared at best to be a game-time decision for tonight’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks (8 ET, League Pass), a team that has pushed the Thunder to overtime twice this season, Durant told reporters after OKC’s morning shootaround that he intends to be in the starting lineup:

Durant last missed a game more than two years ago, on Dec. 3, 2010, due to a left knee sprain — a span of 175 consecutive regular-season games. That injury cost him two games, and a left ankle sprain the previous month also forced him out of two games. Those four games are the only ones he’s missed since the start of the 2009-10 season.

OK, so he’s not exactly on the heels of A.C. Green‘s NBA Iron Man record of 1,192 consecutive games played or Andre Miller‘s 632-game streak that ended in 2010 due to a one-game league-issued suspension for shoving Clippers forward Blake Griffin. But, hey, give KD time.

In five-plus seasons, Durant has played in 427 of a possible 441 games. He missed a career-high eight games in his second season, including seven in a row with a sprained right ankle.

Durant was in considerable pain following Saturday’s loss at Cleveland, OKC’s fourth defeat in its last seven road games. Durant was inadvertently kneed in the back by Cavaliers guard Alonzo Gee in the third quarter. Durant left the game, but returned early in the fourth quarter and scored 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the final period to give him 32 points with 11 rebounds.

After receiving treatment for some time after the game, he gingerly walked out of the arena, appearing to be in quite a bit of discomfort to observers. Durant downplayed the injury to reporters: “If I can play, I’m all right. I was good. I came (back) in and played so that’s all that matters.”

And he will tonight. So, too, will Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who is coming back from a two-game absence with a right adductor strain. Nowitzki had been one of the legendary iron men in the league really until this season when he missed the first 27 games after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19.

He’s now played in just 18 of the Mavs’ 47 games and is averaging 14.8 ppg, his lowest mark since his rookie season and nearly seven points worse than last season when he missed four games early on with issues in the same right knee. He missed nine games in 2010-11 when he sprained his right knee during a game at OKC.

In his 15th season, Nowitzki has missed just 74 games with 29 coming this season. He missed six or fewer games in 12 consecutive seasons and a good number of those came at the end of the regular season for additional rest before the start of the playoffs.

Tonight, however, while Durant runs his consecutive games played streak to 176, Nowitzki’s resets again at one.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 97) Featuring A.C. Green And Marc J. Spears

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’re one of those late shoppers in need of a go-to gift or stocking stuffer, we’ve got you covered with Christmas just days away.

Actually, former NBA “Iron Man” A.C. Green provides a clutch assist on the perfect hoops gift with his latest book, Elves Can’t Dunk, copies of which will be disseminated throughout NBA locker rooms from Los Angeles to Washington.

All holiday jokes aside, Green dropped some words of wisdom on us with his first visit to the Hang Time Podcast for Episode 97 featuring both Green and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

We solve more than just your shopping problems, of course, as we debate the state of the basketball union in Los Angeles (is it a Clippers or Lakers town right now?); Ricky Rubio‘s return and what that means for the Minnesota Timberwolves; the Golden State Warriors and the revival of Bay Area basketball; And, of course, Jeremy Lin‘s return to Madison Square Garden.

Get all that and more in Episode 97 of the Hang Time Podcast with your hosts Sekou Smith, Lang Whitaker and Rick Fox.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business, Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

The All-Green (Week) Team

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Dream Team had its ticket to immortality punched earlier this week with the Hall of Fame announcement.

But what about the Green Team?

Surely you didn’t think we’d forgotten about Green Week around here, did you?

Like Suns All-Star point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash, we’re serious about environmental causes here at Hang Time.

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That’s why we’ve spent all of Green Week thinking long and hard about who could make HT’s All-Green (Week) Team.

With only four Greens currently on rosters (Danny, Jeff, Willie and Donte Greene), we couldn’t limit it to just active players. We had to spread this thing out a little bit and study up on the history of Greens in the NBA.

So without further ado,we offer up the GREEN TEAM:

Jeff Green, 2007-present

The Thunder forward is hands down the most productive Green in the league today. Drafted the same year as Thunder All-Star and MVP candidate Kevin Durant, the 6-9, 230-pound former Georgetown star is one of the league’s most underrated players. But that shouldn’t last much longer now that he and Durant have helped guide the Thunder to the playoffs.

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A.C. Green, 1985-2000

Best known as a Laker and the NBA’s original “iron man,” A.C.’s stellar 16-year career included an All-Star appearance and his playing in more consecutive games (1,192) than any other player in NBA or ABA history. He played every regular season game in 15 of his 16 seasons. Lost in the shuffle is that Green played on two championship teams with the Lakers.

Sidney Green, 1983-1992

The fifth pick in the 1983 draft out of UNLV, Green played for six teams during his decade in the NBA. He has the distinction of being the Bulls’ last pre-Michael Jordan (No. 3 in 1984) high lottery pick. A Brooklyn native, Green went into the coaching ranks after his playing career ended, working mostly at the college level before taking a coaching position with the Bulls last year. Strange as it sounds, he’s best known these days as the father for former Florida star and one-time NBA point guard Taurean Green.

Rickey Green, 1977-1991

A point guard out of Michigan, Green scored the five millionth point in NBA history in 1982, while a member of the Utah Jazz. Green had his best pro seasons with the Jazz, in 1982-83 and played in the All-Star Game the following season. Green was a bit of a nomad during his career, playing for eight teams in 14 seasons. And even though he was drafted by the Warriors, he spent the bulk of and his best years in a Jazz uniform.

David Greenwood, 1979-1991

And you thought Sidney Green was a victim of circumstance being drafted the year ahead of MJ. Greenwood is the player that was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 1979 draft. The Bulls lost a coin flip for the No. 1 pick to the Lakers, who selected Hall of Famer Ervin “Magic” Johnson with the top overall pick. Greenwood had a solid 12-year career but never quite measured up to the man chosen ahead of him.

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