Posts Tagged ‘Mike Fratello’

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 94) Featuring Mike Fratello

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Fourteen or fifteen games isn’t an ideal sample size, but in a season that moves strictly one day at a time, it’s all we have to go on right now in our evaluations of what’s going on in the NBA.

In an effort to separate the contenders from the pretenders, we enlisted the services of our old friend the Czar, Mike Fratello of TNT, on Episode 94 of the Hang Time Podcast.

He stops by for his first visit of the season and tries to clean up the mess that you see in the standings for both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The Heat, Knicks and Nets are legit, the rest of the teams you see hovering around the top of the standings in the East, however, are still a bit suspect in his eyes.

As an added bonus, he breaks down the whole Los Angeles Clippers/Vinny Del Negro controversy from a different perspective … most coach’s don’t take to Twitter to vent after a tough loss, as Chris Paul did after the Monday’s loss to the Hornets (“a team less talented” … “but well coached”).

You need to tune into Episode 94 of the Hang Time Podcast  featuring Mike Fratello, with your hosts Sekou Smith (who channels his inner Ric Flair during Bragging Rights this weekand Rick Fox. 

Our main man and third member Lang Whitaker has an excused absence, seeing as how he was busy welcoming the latest member of the Whitaker and Hang Time families into the world.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, Sekou Smith of NBA.com 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.

Ex-Hawk Roundfield, 59, Drowns

An idyllic vacation turned tragic when former NBA All-Star forward Dan Roundfield drowned while swimming off the coast of Aruba.

A police spokesman told the Associated Press that Roundfield and his wife swam beyond a protected reef area Monday on the southeastern tip of the Caribbean island. John Larmonie, the police spokesman, said Roundfield, 59, helped his wife to safety after they encountered strong currents but was swept away himself. His body was found underwater, trapped by rocks, about 90 minutes later by a search team.

Julia Roundfield of Detroit, the player’s sister-in-law, confirmed the report of his death to the AP.

Roundfield, a second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1975, signed instead with the ABA Indiana Pacers, then entered the NBA with the Pacers the following year. In 12 pro seasons — three with Indiana, six with Atlanta, one with Detroit and two with Washington — the 6-foot-8 product of Central Michigan averaged 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He was even better in 40 playoff games (15.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and strung together six straight double-double seasons from 1977-78 through 1982-83. (more…)

France Rolls Without Parker On Day 5

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Even without the services of Tony Parker, France remained unblemished in preliminary action at EuroBasket 2011.

Parker’s teammates ruled the roost in Lithuania, knocking off Italy on Day 5 with a dramatic come-from-behind win without their catalyst and best player healthy enough to contribute in the fourth quarter.

But that was far from the only action worthy of our attention …

Great Britain 85, Portugal 73 (Box Score)

Seeing Luol Deng operate as the No. 1 option for a team is quite interesting considering we haven’t seen him do it since his days at Duke. That said, the Bulls’ forward has been more than up to the task for a Great Britain team that needs every ounce of what he brings. Deng dominated Portugal, scoring 21 of his 31 points before halftime. Deng also grabbed 10 rebounds, had four assists, a block and a steal in a complete performance.

This was Great Britain’s first win in an international competition of this stature. And the magnitude of the moment was not lost on Deng, who said, “I will always remember this win as it is my first at a EuroBasket. I think we showed today that we have a great future ahead of us.”

Israel 91, Latvia 88 (Box Score)

Israel saved some face with this win but they still won’t advance out of group play. Lior Eliyahu had a team-high 26 points and Israel pounded Latvia inside, outscoring them 52-36 in the paint. That near-upset of Serbia a couple of days ago seems like more than just a momentary blip now, though.

After never so much as hearing of Latvia’s captain, Janis Blumis, before this competition, he can count us among his biggest fans going forward. He’s absolutely fearless and can shoot it from all over the floor, he scored a game-high 27 points and stroked four of his six shots from beyond the 3-point line, a trait that most of the standouts in international play possess.

Macedonia 72, Finland 70 (Box Score)

Our main man Bo McCalebb and his crew from Macedonia won their third in a row and locked down a spot in the competition’s next phase with this gritty win over Finland. McCalebb led the way with 18 points but it was the physical work done by captain Pero Antic (14 points and 19 rebounds) that made the biggest difference. It was his defensive rebounds in the final seconds that secured the win.

When you get outrebounded 44-27 it’s usually hard to keep the game as close as Finland did. Tuuki Kotti was the only player to log minutes for Finland and grab five or more rebounds. They had a chance to steal this game late but Antic came up with two crucial defensive rebounds in the last few seconds to seal the win Macedonia’s win.

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Macedonia Upset Highlights Day 4

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 4 of Eurobasket lacked both star power and marquee matchups, but it was still an eventful day in Lithuania, as teams from Group C and D got back to work after a day off.

Finland 92, Bosnia and Herzegovina 64 (Boxscore)

Fueled by an efficient and balanced offense, Finland picked up their first win of Eurobasket and gave themselves a fighting chance at advancing to the second round with a blowout victory. They shot 55 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers in about 70 possessions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina entered the game with the fourth-best offense through the first three days of Eurobasket, didn’t get much beyond Henry Domercant‘s 25 points. And by getting crushed by 28 points, they put themselves in a tough position to win any kind of tie-breaker.

Ukraine 67, Bulgaria 56 (Boxscore)

Mike Fratello got his first win as the Ukraine’s coach thanks to a stifling defense that held Bulgaria to just 28 percent shooting from the field. On the other end of the floor, Stiven Bertt and Oleksandr Kolchenko combined for 35 points on 13-for-19 shooting.

The Ukraine took control with a 10-2 run early in the second quarter. The kept increasing their lead through the third quarter, but a 13-2 run got Bulgaria to within seven with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the fourth. That’s when Kolchenko stemmed the tide with a three.

The win moves the Ukraine into fourth place in Group D. And they can move up one more spot (and put themselves in position to advance to the second round) with a win over Georgia on Sunday.

Macedonia 72, Greece 58 (Boxscore)

This one was a bit of a shocker, and it made things very interesting in Group C. Greece shot just 31 percent from the field, including an atrocious 4-for-19 from 3-point range. And you have to wonder if this is a sign that their run as one of the best teams in Europe is coming to an end.

Despite the Greeks’ poor shooting, it was just a one-point game at halftime and again early in the fourth quarter. That’s when Macedonia went on a 11-1 run to take control. Bo McCalebb scored eight of the 11 points on the run and led all scorers with 27.

Antonios Fotsis was the only guy who could make a shot for Greece, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-13 from the field. Ioannis Bourousis recorded a double-double, but made just two of his 11 shots.

Slovenia 87, Georgia 75 (Boxscore)

Slovenia recovered from an ugly start (they trailed 28-15 early in the second quarter) and put Georgia away in the fourth quarter with some clutch 3-point shooting. Jaka Lakovic led the way with 22 points, all from the line or beyond the arc. With Goran Dragic (1-for-8) struggling, Saso Ozbolt gave Slovenia a big lift, scoring 21 points off the bench.

Georgia shot better from both inside the arc and beyond it, but 21 turnovers did them in. Zaza Pachulia led his team with 22 points, but grabbed just two rebounds in 31 minutes.

Despite the absence of Boki Nachbar and a few other contributors to last year’s World Championship squad, Slovenia stands at 3-0 in Group D, with games against Belgium (0-3) and Russia (3-0) remaining. Georgia still controls its own destiny. They’re now tied for third in Group D with the Ukraine and Bulgaria at 1-2, and will play them each in the next two days.

Croatia 87, Montenegro 81 (Boxscore)

It was a three-man show for Croatia, who got big performances from Ante Tomic (26 points and eight rebounds), Marko Popovic (23 points) and Dontaye Draper (12 assists) and held on for an important win.

Croatia took a 15-point lead with a 14-3 run to start the third quarter, but Montenegro climbed all the way back to within three in the closing minutes of the fourth. It looked liked they’d have a shot to tie it, but Draper rebounded his own miss and Tomic stopped the bleeding with a short jump-hook off a pick-and-roll with Popovic.

Matched up with Draper, Omar Cook dished out eight dimes for Montenegro, but shot just 1-for-5 from the field. Nikola Pekovic also had just one field goal. Montenegro was led by Goran Jeretin, who scored 18 points off the bench.

Russia 79, Belgium 58 (Boxscore)

Russia remained perfect at Eurobasket with a comfortable win over Belgium on Saturday. The Russian bench, led by Vitaliy Fridzon‘s 22 and Andrey Vorontsevich‘s 17, scored 53 of their team’s 79 points. Starters Andrei Kirilenko (nine points on 3-for-3 from the field), Timofey Mozgov (seven points on 3-for-6) and Victor Khryapa (six points on 3-for-5) weren’t terrible, just quiet. Kirilenko (seven) and Khryapa (10) did combine for 17 rebounds.

Belgium shot just 19-for-52 from the field and just 14-for-26 from the line. They’re now 0-3 and would need to beat Slovenia or the Ukraine to avoid going home without a win.

 

Turkey, Spain, France Roll on Day 2

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – They say styles make fights in boxing.

Same goes for basketball, in our opinion. And we can’t think of a better one than what we’ll see when Turkey and host team Lithuania lock up Friday. It’s certainly one of the most intriguing games, along with the Germany-France matchup, of the first phase of EuroBasket 2011.

But before we get a chance to enjoy that one, we have to catch up on all the Day 2 happenings. Our roundup …

Turkey 90, Great Britain 61 (Box Score)

It’s pretty obvious after just two games that Turkey has everything you need to make some serious noise in this competition. They have a strong inside presence, led by Omer Asik, Oguz Savas and bolstered by the likes of Enes Kanter. They have plenty of long-distance firepower, courtesy of Omer Onan and Emir Preldzic. And they have the sort of savvy veteran presence (that would be you, Hedo Turkoglu) necessary to survive a crisis. This one was over before it got started.

  • An early 3-point barrage (4-for-7) was the difference for Turkey as they rushed to a 17-3 lead and never looked back. Onan was 4-for-5 from deep and Preldzic 2-for-3. They led the winners in scoring.
  • Much like Dirk Nowitzki used to do in some of these competitions, Luol Deng will have to settle for being the most talented player on the court most nights. Great Britain isn’t quite deep enough or simply good enough to match a team of Turkey’s caliber.
  • Turkey went off on a 13-0 run in the second quarter, including nine from Kanter, and used a relentless 20-4 run to blow the game open. Kanter did his best work during that stretch, scoring nine of his 11 points. His offensive game is much more advanced than we realized. He was also one of four players to score in double figures for the winners.

France 85, Israel 68 (Box Score)

Watching Joakim Noah do his dirty work never gets old for us. The same fire he displays when playing for the Bulls was on display in France’s rout of Israel. Noah’s nine points and nine rebounds served as a nice tone-setter for a team that looked much better on Day 2 than it did in the opener. With Chris Kaman and Germany up next, followed by games against Italy and Serbia, France will need every bit of energy Noah can muster in the coming days.

  • Tony Parker is a cut above most any other point guard he will face in the competition and the first two days have done nothing to change our minds about that. Parker was knocking down shots from everywhere and his 21 points and eight assists led the way.
  • Mickael Gelabale, you might remember him from his NBA days in Seattle, looked good. He finished with 13 points and made all three of his shots from beyond the 3-point line.
  • France doesn’t have the most physically intimidating frontcourt rotation. That said, a combined 11 points and 16 rebounds from Boris Diaw and Kevin Seraphin is a luxury plenty of teams would love to have.

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Donuts For Rubio In EuroBasket Opener

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Twelve games in one day is a bit much to chew on when you’ve been away from live game action for nearly two months.

We’re admittedly a little rusty around the hideout.

But we can’t thank the basketball gods enough for delivering us this smorgasbord of hoops when we needed it most. Day 1 of EuroBasket 2011 was filled with action and plenty of surprises, both good and bad.

In case you were worried, Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t lost a step since his triumphant playoff run and Finals MVP showing. Pau Gasol looked good and rested. And the host nation team, Lithuania, didn’t disappoint in their opener.

There was even a Ricky Rubio sighting this morning, although I’m still trying to figure out how he pulled off the performance he did. In fact, Rubio stole the show here at the hideout, posting donuts across the board (save for a couple of steals) in 16 uninspiring minutes in his international debut as a bona fide NBA player.

More on that later in the rundown of games we saw … (some more than others) …

Serbia 80, Italy 68 (Box Score)

You know it’s going to be a good competition when you tip off group play with a game like this one. Italy chewed into an 18-point deficit in time to make Serbia work for this one in the fourth quarter. Serbia made just nine of 26 shots from beyond the 3-point line to Italy’s 2-for-17, another advantage for a team that finished as the silver medalist in this competition in 2009. Having superior depth is what made the difference for Serbia as they got 30 points off the bench in the win.

  • Italy’s 18-10 lead early on didn’t hold up, not with center Andrea Bargnani contributing just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half (he came off the bench). He warmed up after halftime and finished with a game-high 22 and nine rebounds. Danilo Gallinari turned his right ankle midway through the third quarter and came out of the game a couple of minutes later. He did return in the fourth.
  • Milan Macvan came off of the bench for Serbia and dropped 10 second-quarter points as they erased that early deficit. He chipped in with four more during an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter to help put the game away. He found all the holes in the Italy’s zone defense, making six of his seven shots from the floor. As we learned from the Dallas Mavericks during the playoffs, bench play is often the difference between winning and losing in a tournament setting.
  • Serbia’s starting guards, Milos Teodosic and Milenko Tepic, put on a show of their own. They combined for 30 points and 12 assists and combined to shoot a wicked 6-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line.

Spain 83, Poland 78 (Box Score)

One Gasol is enough to keep defending champion Spain in the hunt for a repeat title. Having two, however, is a luxury that no doubt every other team in the competition would love to have. Pau Gasol scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as Spain had to hold on to squeeze past Poland in the final seconds to win their opener. Marc Gasol finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes of action.

  • Rubio was still the one guy we were most eager to look at in this game and something was clearly missing from his game. He missed a wide-open, second-half layup and was not a factor in his limited minutes on the floor. Piling up zeros across the board the way he did after all the hype that has accompanied him the past months (and years) was definitely a disappointment.
  • Seeing Serge Ibaka work as a role player behind the Gasols was interesting, especially after seeing him play such a huge role for a Thunder team that made its way to the Western Conference finals during the NBA playoffs. Ibaka was his usual workmanlike self, though, scoring seven points on 3-for-4 shooting in his 14 minutes.
  • HT-fave and former Hang Time Grizzlies point guard Juan Carlos Navarro is always a welcome sight on the court. We jokingly nicknamed him the “Stockbroker” a few years ago (the logic being that he’d look like a Wall Street-type in street clothes). It’s a term of endearment for a player that always shows up the way he did against Poland (23 points). His free throws and a crucial 3-pointer in the final seconds were the difference in what turned out to be a much tighter game than most expected.

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The (FIBA) Games Must Go On

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Mike Fratello has spent decades making himself comfortable on the basketball court wherever he’s been. But Fratello has always felt especially at ease in the baby blue and gold he wore at Hackensack High back in his native New Jersey.

Those North Jersey roots were on Fratello’s mind as he prepared his latest team for EuroBasket 2011, where Ukraine’s national team will sport the same colors this week as they attempt to chase one of the top spots in the tournament and the spoils that come along with being one of the best teams in European basketball.

“I do feel very comfortable putting the old blue and gold on,” Fratello said with a chuckle. “Plus, this competition is as big as it gets right now in the game of basketball, given the circumstances with the lockout and everything else that’s going on right now in the NBA.”

You’ve read about it all summer, this wave of NBA talent that will hit foreign soil to play ball if the regular season is delayed because of the lockout.

You won’t have to wait around to see NBA talent in action now. With EuroBasket in Lithuania Aug. 31 through Sept. 18 and the FIBA Americas being played in Argentina Aug. 30 through Sept. 11, there will be plenty of familiar faces on display, including reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and Clippers center Chris Kaman leading the German team in EuroBasket. Brothers Pau Gasol of the Lakers and Marc Gasol of the Hang Time Grizzlies headline the Spanish team.

Spurs star Manu Ginobili and Rockets star Luis Scola are the biggest names for the host team in Argentina. Mavericks point guard Jose Barea and Celtics point guard Carlos Arroyo will run the show for Puerto Rico while Hawks All-Star center Al Horford will team up with Kings swingman Francisco Garcia and Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva for the Dominican Republic.

Our nearly two month hiatus from basketball as we know it comes to a momentary end this week with the game itself back on the global stage with national teams on both sides of the globe vying for those coveted early invites to the London Olympics. Every game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

Automatic bids to the Olympics are at stake for the top two teams in each competition. Four more teams — the third through sixth place finishers from EuroBasket — will also earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July. Three more teams — the third through fifth place finishers from FIBA Americas — will earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July.

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An Upset Winner For DPOY?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – “And the 2010-11 Defensive Player of the Year award goes to …”

It’s April Fool’s day folks.

You know it’s Dwight Howard‘s award until further notice. But the Czar, Mike Fratello, brings up some very good points about the five quality candidates he has on his DPOY ballot.

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode 47)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – While everyone else spends all their time discussing all of the problems our friends in Miami are dealing with these days, here at the hideout we’re all about solutions.

We don’t like seeing Chris Bosh in pain. We don’t like hearing Erik Spoelstra clarify his comments from the day before because whatever he said was misinterpreted or blown completely out of context. And we certainly don’t want to pile on the Heat while they’re down, that five-game losing streak is nothing to play with these days.

So we’ve gathered an expert crew to help us sort through the issues facing the Heat, including top professionals in their respective fields that have the knowledge and experience that make Episode 47 of the Hang Time Podcast one of our most diabolical efforts to date.

TNT’s Mike Fratello, the Czar himself, stops by to talk share his perspective as a former coach, noted sports psychologist Dr. Rick Van Haveren also lends his expertise and we wrap up with the analytical perspective from our main man and NBA.com’s numbers guru John Schuhmann. In addition to that star-studded crew, both NBA TV and TNT’s Chris Webber and Lakers star Ron Artest make special guest appearances (you have to listen to fully comprehend) to discuss the Heat’s current state of affairs.

With the Lakers and Heat set to get busy tonight on TNT, you don’t want to miss this one.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our super producer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Jazz In Need Of A Miracle?

Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s a good thing there are a few days between games in this Lakers-Jazz series, per at least one man keeping an eye on things.

Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune has seen enough after two games, two tough wins for the home team.

He’s convinced the Jazz need more than the humans in the uniforms can provide:

It’s been a theme throughout the Jazz’s postseason, a kind of tent-revival, chapter-and-verse call for a little belief, a little faith in the face of untimely injuries, a short roster and long odds. Make that a lot of belief, a lot of faith. Somebody — was it the ’69 Mets? — once said that those two agents are precisely what precedes the miracle. Sometimes, they produce it.

Tuesday night at Staples Center was not one of those times.

The Jazz believed, and believed some more, they huffed and they puffed, and never quit, but, at the end of Game 2, there was only a double-barreled blast of disappointment and defeat, again, at the hands of the Lakers, 111-103.

Hallelujah went to hell.

Alongside Kyrylo Fesenko‘s game.

Ever notice how Mehmet Okur suddenly transforms into a much better player when he doesn’t play?

It was the eighth straight playoff loss for the Jazz here in L.A. in the last three postseasons. It was the 10th playoff loss overall through that span to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

So, how’s everybody doing now? Do the Jazz yet trust that they can beat the Lakers?

“I hope so,” said Deron Williams, “or else we’ll be going home early.”

They’re going home for a bit of hope in Game 3.

Williams said something before Game 2 that sounded even more ominous, that sounded more like concession than confidence, though he wasn’t necessarily intending it that way:

“The better team is going to win this series.”

We all know what that means.

The Lakers were the better team Tuesday night, just like they were Sunday afternoon, by just a few numerical breaths.

Gordon might be on to something.

The gap between the top and bottom in the Western Conference is razor-thin compared to what it is between the top and bottom in the East.

The Lakers keep leaving the door open (same as they did against the Thunder in the first round), but their opponents either can’t seem to take advantage of it or don’t have the tools to take advantage.

Maybe it is time for a higher power to go to work in someone’s favor … or maybe the Jazz just need a trip home for a couple of games.

We shall see!

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