I do not usually write our blog, leaving that task in the capable hands of our bloggers, Jim Park and Dan Malone.
But I also do not usually watch the Olympics on TV, especially not on NBC. I haven’t been on by sofa watching the Olympics since 1992, and back then I believe my sofa might have been a futon. But here I am back in New York after ditching the idea of going to London as uncredentialed media in the hope of becoming credentialed (chronicled in detail here, in Diary of the Uncredentialed, Edition IV), and I am stuck with NBC like the rest of you in America.
It is afternoon here, the commercials are making me angry, and so I am out on the porch doing today’s blog because Verizon has been ducking Park for three days now with his Internet down, and we needed a bench guy.
So let’s have a look around the Web, a broader look than usual, and see what’s up:
From TMZ.com: The police officer who arrested ex-LA Lakers star Matt Barnes waited in an alley for 2 hours … waited for Barnes to exit a restaurant, and then charged the b-baller with felony resisting arrest – even though Barnes never got physically violent … Barnes had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear on a ticket for driving on a suspended license. Sources say Barnes had gone to the DMV, gotten his license reinstated, and mistakenly believed he no longer had to go to court to clear the ticket. Now here’s where it gets strange. Our law enforcement sources say the arresting officer KNEW Barnes had an outstanding warrant as he watched the NBA forward and his baby mama park their car in a lot Monday night — and walk a block-and-a-half to MB Post, a popular restaurant in Manhattan Beach, CA — yet the cop did not approach the hoopster. Instead the officer waited in an alley near the car” for 2 hours before pouncing. We’re told Barnes already had one hand behind his back as he attempted to hand his gf (sic) the keys with his other hand so she could drive home. Sources say the cop grabbed the hand with the keys and the Lakers champ pulled away. The cop then immediately informed Barnes he would be charged with resisting arrest.
- From JasonMcIntyre of TheBigLead.com, commenting on ESPN sending a small army to cover backup Jets quarterback Tim Tebow at training camp: (Hannah) Storm, tanned and toned having just returned from a vacation with 14 girlfriends to Bimini Island, was a rockstar in her own right; on her way to the bathroom, she was repeatedly stopped by fans (off-duty cops, moms, little kids) wanting a photo. It may have had something to do with her short, form-fitting dress, a number that would have had Tony Kornheiser kvetching again.
- From Nick Gibson of SheridanHoops.com, on Team USA’s 83-point beatdown of Nigeria: “So 156 points isn’t the peak. Interesting. You think the locals should be impressed by a measly 156 points? Please. There’s a reason it’s not called Average Britain: In the 1900 Olympics, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers of Great Britain defeated the French Athletic Club Union by 158. It was the first, last and only time cricket was featured in the Summer Games. If Thursday’s beatdown proved anything, it’s that the Team USA’s toughest opponent will be themselves argument is stale. This is not golf. This is basketball, and Russia has a very good basketball team. The best outside the U.S. right now, as a matter of fact. Thursday, that Russian basketball team played similarly undefeated Brazil. After Marcelinho Huertas put Brazil up two with six seconds remaining, Russian coach David Blatt (who hails from Framingham, Mass.) drew up a play for Vitaly Fridzon, who had made only one shot and a free throw up to that point. Blatt’s confidence paid off, as Alexey Shved found Fridzon off the inbounds and Vitaly rose and hit from the corner, even as Leandro Barbosa rolled beneath his feet on a foul that went unwhistled. The miraculous shot gave Russia the 75-74 win and kept them undefeated.
- From David Aldridge of NBA.com Coach Mike) Krzyzewski canceled practice Friday, in part so that the players could get one last opportunity to see some of their athletic brethren in events. Kobe Bryant took in Roger Federer’s tennis match at Wimbledon, while many other players were planning to see Michael Phelps’ last swim meet in Olympic competition Friday night.
- More from Aldridge on the tougher opponents Team USA faces going forward: Even though the Lithuanians are just 1-2 in Pool A after losing Thursday to France, they have talent and NBA experience and — the biggest challenge to this U.S. team — size in the middle. The Lithuanians feature the Raptors’ Linas Kleiza, who’s averaged 16 points a game so far in the Olympics, and NBA-quality depth with the likes of ex-NBAers Darius Songalia and Sarunas Jasikevicius. Their young center, Jonas Valanaciunas, hasn’t played in the NBA yet; he’ll be a rookie this season with Toronto, which drafted him No. 5 overall in 2011. He spent this past season playing for Lietuvas Rytas, making the all-Eurocup team. And Valanciunas isn’t a focal point offensively for the Lithuanians, who shoot it well from the perimeter. But 6-foot-11 skilled players can pose problems for the Americans; even the 6-foot-7 Diogu had success (27 points) in the paint against them Thursday. “Well, we’ve played against Lithuania quite a bit, and I know their coach real well, and one of my former players is on their team, Marty Pocius,” Krzyzewski said. “But Kleiza is the guy they start off with. He’s capable of a big performance. And they’re deep. They’ll play all 12 guys. It’s a country that loves basketball and has had great success, and a lot of pride. They play good continuity stuff, and we just have to be prepared. It’s our next game and you forget about this one and get our fourth win in pool play.”
- From Gery Woeffel of the Racine-Journal-Times: The Bucks are also in talks with unrestricted free-agent center Joel Przybilla, yet another excellent defender who played last season for the Portland Trail Blazers. According to some individuals close to negotiations, the Bucks are clearly the front-runners for his services. The Bucks haven’t been nearly as aggressive in their pursuit of a wing player, though. They did draft Doron Lamb, a shooting guard from Kentucky in the second round. While Lamb is definitely an intriguing prospect, as he exhibited in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, he doesn’t appear ready for major minutes. What’s more, he doesn’t have the size the Bucks are looking for at the wing spot. That has led Bucks officials to explore the possibility of trading for a wing player or signing one in free agency. While they have plenty of time to pull off a trade before training camp by using one of their power forwards as bait, they have been checking out the free-agent market. While the top-shelf wings have already signed with other teams, there are still some solid veterans available. One of them is Mickael Pietrus, who played last season with Boston. … Bill McCandless, Pietrus’ agent, said his client is drawing consideration from several teams. McCandless confirmed he and Bucks general manager John Hammond have had exploratory talks. “We talked about 10 to 14 days ago,” McCandless said. “We’re waiting to see what happens. Mickael would be interested in playing for Milwaukee, absolutely.”
- Got this in an e-mail from Jimmy Shapiro, who reps Bovada.lv: From SportsBook manager Kevin Bradley: “It was a good day for the players yesterday as the USA Men’s basketball team easily covered the spread in their game against Nigeria. Significant late action on the USAwas able to push the final point spread to 43 points after opening at 41.5. By game time yesterday about 70% of the action was on the Americans to cover while 57% was on the over 170.5 game total. Looking ahead to Saturday’s game against Lithuania, we opened with the USA 34.5 point favorites but once again all the early action (82%) was on the American team so that pushed the spread to 35 points. We are still seeing the majority of the action (72%) once again on team USA, so early projections make the book big Lithuania fans this weekend.”
- Myself, I don’t think Lithuania gives a damn about tomorrow’s game against USA. But Raptors fans are going to want to have a look at big man Jonas Valanciunas, and here is a great breakdown how how Valanciumas has fared thus far in the Olympics, from BallDontLie.