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Kevin Durant leads U.S. with 23 in 111-74 romp over Argentina (July 23, 2016)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points in Friday's win over Argentina, the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBA/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- New team. Same old result.

Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. men's basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.

A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players who seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

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Should the Celtics consider free agent J.R. Smith? (July 23, 2016)
Chris Forsberg [ Source: ESPN ]

Free agent J.R. Smith is reportedly seeking a contract worth $15 million next season. Greg Shamus/NBAE/Getty Images

When asked last week what areas his team might target while finalizing roster construction, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, "Shooting is always going to be a priority."

The bad news for Boston: The remaining free-agent crop is thin on proven shooters. But there is one particularly polarizing name available: J.R. Smith.

ESPN Insider's Kevin Pelton recently ranked Smith the No. 1 remaining free agentInsider and, while addressing his market, wrote: "The question is whether Smith can find a suitor to force the Cavaliers to pay him what he wants. He doesn't really make a lot of sense for any of the teams with significant cap space remaining, though if the Boston Celtics renounce the rights to Tyler Zeller they could offer Smith a one-year deal worth nearly $12 million to supply shooting they need."

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Meralco targets solo lead (July 23, 2016)
Waylon Galvez [ Source: Manila Bulletin ]

Chris Newsome of Meralco. PBA Media Bureau

The unbeaten Meralco Bolts aim to regain sole possession of first place as they go for their third win against the TNT Katropa today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts are coming off a five-day rest and could be fresh against the Katropa in their 3 p.m. game following hard-fought victories against the Phoenix Fuel Masters and the Alaska Aces.

“It’s a good thing we’re able to survive the weekend,” said Black. “It was tough playing Phoenix and Alaska, especially Alaska because they were fresh… and we came in with just a day rest after our first game.

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Dirk Nowitzki. ESPN

The Dallas Mavericks and face of the franchise Dirk Nowitzki have finalized their expected new deal with another bump in pay that sets up the star forward to earn $50 million over the next two seasons and play until age 40, league sources told ESPN.

Sources said Friday that the Mavericks have tacked an additional $10 million onto the original two-year, $40 million contract that the sides, as ESPN first reported, agreed to earlier this month.

The new pact, sources say, calls for Nowitzki to earn $25 million in each of the next two seasons, though he has said repeatedly that he will decide about playing beyond 2016-17 after gauging how he feels at season's end.

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Mike Cortez takes on 3 defenders. PBA Media Bureau photo

The Blackwater Elite made some key plays down the stretch as they outlasted the Star Hotshots, 100-98, in a tight 2016 Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup encounter on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Eric Dawson made a key basket with nine seconds remaining and JP Erram got a huge block as the Elite notched their first win of the conference.

Erram led Blackwater with 16 points and six rebounds while Dawson finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

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Michael Jordan and the Hornets issued a statement supporting the league, but not all of the ownership team is onboard. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the league's objection to the state's House Bill 2, the league issued a statement supporting the Hornets. However, one of the team's owners is not ready to praise the decision.

Hornets co-owner Felix Sabates sent an email to the team's ownership grouping after the NBA's announcement blasting the league and the Charlotte City Council.

"Shame on those responsible for such a short sighted decision to take the NBA All Star away from Charlotte I always thought this was country that ALL peoples not just a few can determine our future," he wrote in the email that was obtained by the Charlotte Observer.

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San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter. PBA IMAGES

Marcio Lassiter wasn’t shooting the lights out when San Miguel were in a pinch against NLEX, and his 0-of-6 three-point percentage was the stuff of shooters’ nightmares.

Then winning time came and Lassiter dispelled his demons and nailed the game-winner that catapulted the Beermen over the Road Warriors 94-93.

“Honestly every time I take a shot, I believe it’s gonna go in, so that’s why I’ve been able to make so many shots, for me I always know the last shot is not gonna help me with the next shot,” said Lassiter who finished with eight points, on 3-of-10 shooting, and nine rebounds.

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NBA

A sporting goods store in Oklahoma City has taken a drastic move -- marking down some Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys to 99 percent off.

The jerseys, rendered less desirable by Durant's signing with the Golden State Warriors earlier this month, were hanging on a rack this week at an Academy Sports+Outdoors store in town with a sign advertising them for 48 cents. The replica jersey normally sells for $69.99.

No matter how much disdain the community might have for Durant, the jerseys did eventually sell out.

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Why Taulava almost hit Semerad (July 23, 2016)
[ Source: ABS CBN News ]

 Asi Taulava goes for a layup. PBA Media Bureau photo

NLEX big man Asi Taulava nearly hit San Miguel's David Semerad with a slap during their highly emotional encounter in the PBA Governors' Cup on Friday.

Semerad hit NLEX’s import Bill Walker in the third quarter, prompting the Fil-Tongan to confront the Beerman.

“I got to defend my money man,” Taulava said of their import in Spin.ph. “I can’t let him get hurt and let anybody bully him or try to get under his skin. Me and Rico [Villanueva] told him that If anybody tries to hit him, don’t get into a technical because we need him in the game.”

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6 Seyedabolfazl Seyedi (IRI) - 14 Mehran Rezaei (IRI) - Indonesia v Iran, 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship (IRI), Tehran (Islamic Republic of Iran), Group Phase, 22 July 2016

TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - A big third quarter was enough for Korea to roll to a Day 1 victory over Japan while hosts Iran and the other favourites eased to comfortable wins as the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship tipped off.

Korea led 37-29 at half time but then out-scored Japan 35-9 in the third quarter and eased to a 92-72 triumph in Group B. Shin Minsuk nailed five three-pointers and tallied 24 points while Yang Jae Min hit for 19 points and Han Seunghui chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The other two games in Group B saw blowouts. Hosts Iran blasted Indonesia 106-40 as Mohammad Jafari collected 21 points and 9 nine rebounds to lead six players in double figures. Lebanon meanwhile brushed aside Kazakhstan 97-37 in the tournament opener with Salim Alaaeddine scoring 23 points and Mark Alkhoury collecting 18 points and 13 rebounds.

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