Archive for October 2nd, 2017

NBA preseason games against non-NBA opponents are always interesting, in that for the NBA team the event is a mere warmup in preparation for the regular season, while for the non-NBA team it’s a chance to win respect, gain some fame, impress their home fans, and treat the game as an important contest. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

The Sydney Kings’ team website is billing its exhibition game against the Utah Jazz Monday night at Vivint Arena as the “Match Up to end all Match Ups.”

While that’s probably overselling a contest that will take place in early October, the occasion is a historic one, as it marks the first time a team from Australia’s National Basketball League will have taken on an NBA squad.

The game is the opening act of a trio of contests between the NBA and NBL over the next two weeks that will also see Melbourne United play the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brisbane Bullets face the Phoenix Suns.

Kings head coach Andrew Gaze, a legend in Australian basketball who played in five Olympic games and had NBA stints with the old Washington Bullets and the San Antonio Spurs, is confident these contests will have a big impact on hoops in his country, regardless of what the scoreboard may say when the final buzzers sound.

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The Celtics are one of the most legendary franchises in sports, and there will always be some things that set them apart in the eyes of careful observers, whether it’s a look at history, experiencing the atmosphere, or something else. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting on new Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, who already sounds quite at home:

The Celtics have held this annual open practice in the Garden for season ticket-holders since the latter part of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett era, but the experience had a kind of newness for Kyrie Irving last night.

From the crowd, to the banners and the floor — even the nets as it turned out — had a special meaning for the Celtics guard.

“The energy. The energy, man,” said Irving, before going into intricate detail with a unique description of the Garden parquet.

“It has that vintage, intimate, kind of replicated vibe for what the Garden used to look like,” he said of the original Garden. “The misfit of the squares in where they’re placed on the floor. They’re going in opposite directions — the perpendicular one if you know what I’m saying. I just appreciate all that. And then the nets as well as the whole intimacy as well. I just like the whole aura of it.

“It’s nothing like it. It’s nothing like it,” he said. “Even the energy in here, I can feel it. All these fans about to pile in. It’s about to be a great day.”

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Generally, every team that isn’t in a serious rebuilding period aims to make the playoffs. And although it looks like the Knicks are rebuilding, Tim Hardaway Jr isn’t thinking that way. Here’s the NY Post reporting:

When Tim Hardaway Jr. was introduced to the estimated 4,000 fans inside the Garden for Sunday’s Knicks open practice/intrasquad scrimmage, he heard as loud a cheer as there was for Kristaps Porzingis.

If fans still are irate over the contract (four years, $71 million) Hardaway was given in July, they also seemed happy he’s back for a second stint. For his part, Hardaway isn’t thinking about his big payday but another “P”-word — playoffs.

“At this point, I really couldn’t care less,” Hardaway said of the July media/fan backlash. “People need to move on and move forward with that. That’s in the past. We got to get ready for the season. If they’re still harping on that, their mind’s on something else. I’m focused on the team and here to win. I know my teammates and coaching staff and everybody in that front office has to have faith and trust in me that I’m going to go out there and do everything to help the team win.

“My expectation is for this team to make the playoffs.”

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