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Team USA is ‘playing against Poland for 7th place’ bad (no offense Poland)

We have that and more in Friday’s NBA newsletter.

2019 FIBA World Cup - Serbia v USA Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Team USA lost again on Thursday, this time in the consolation bracket to Serbia, a team many thought would be the team to knock Team USA out of the proper bracket. But Serbia faced the same fate as the Americans -- knocked out by a better team in the quarterfinals -- and took the loser’s bracket game seriously. They led by 25 after one quarter. The United States raged back but still lost. They will now play Poland for the honor of seventh place on Saturday.

In a wonderful story on Team USA’s lost summer for the New York Times, Marc Stein reports that Gregg Popovich — crestfallen at the results — asked to leave a Team USA leadership meeting early on Thursday. Brian Windhorst on the mood and reality of this version of Team USA. Jonathan Tjarks writes that it’s time for the next generation of American stars to step up. Jerry Colangelo is not-so-subtly lashing out at players who initially committed to play but then changed their minds. The guy knows he needs those players to commit and show up next year, right? Lashing out with veiled threats doesn’t seem like the best way to get them.

Meanwhile, in the semifinals, Spain beat Australia behind a Marc Gasol explosion. Argentina and France will face off for the other championship game slot later Friday morning. We’ll have a title game preview on Saturday on

Aces in the Sky

I asked SB Nation’s intrepid Matt Ellentuck to explain why he’s so excited for Sunday’s WNBA playoffs knockout game between the Chicago Sky and the Las Vegas Aces. Here’s Matt:

Sky-Aces on Sunday evening is the knockout round game we deserve. Chicago’s the fast-paced group of star-studded guards and wings who can outrun anyone. Las Vegas is the team of elite bigs able to work anyone in the post. They’re polar opposite, and absolutely hate each other. Who can forget the Liz Cambage-Cheyenne Parker on-court scrap that resulted in a LOT of social media beef?

If you’re just jumping in to watch the WNBA playoffs, this is the game that’ll get you hooked. There’s three All-Stars on each side. Courtney Vandersloot, debatably the best passer of all time; Allie Quigley, a sharpshooter; and Diamond DeShields, the most athletic wing in the league, for Chicago. For Vegas, Cambage is one of the league’s best bigs, and at 6’8, she’s nearly unguardable. She’s surrounded by last year’s Rookie of the Year, A’ja Wilson, and a flamethrower from deep in Kayla McBride.

Elite talent in a do-or-die game between two teams that absolutely can’t stand each other. Let’s go. Watch on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET Sunday.


The story behind the biggest brawl in WNBA history.

A history of worn items banned by the NBA.

What does Team USA’s failure say about the Boston Celtics?

I absolutely adore the idea of Spencer Dinwiddie hawking bonds off of his guaranteed contract with the Nets, like he’s Captain America in The First Avenger. Support the Nets, buy a Dinwiddie Bond today!

The problem with applying Mamba Mentality to 12 year olds.

Rob Mahoney ranked the top 100 players in the NBA, a difficult and interesting task.

Kelly Dwyer explains why, in fact, the Bulls wouldn’t have 50-0 if they’d brought everyone back in 1999.

The Spurs need FIBA Patty Mills this season.

James Herbert talked to a happiness expert about Kevin Durant.

The Clippers have high, high hopes for the season. But, uh, is Ivica Zubac their starting center?

Be excellent to each other. We’ll be back on Monday.