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Doc Rivers explains why European come ‘better prepared’ to NBA than U.S. prospect

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Doc Rivers wasn’t only a successful basketball player who competed during 14 campaigns in the NBA, mostly representing the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks, but he also accomplished plenty during his 25 years as a coach. 

This season he gave coaching a break and accepted a new job as a basketball analyst, which gives him a very refreshing perspective on the modern game. He recently warned U.S. players, as more and more international propects are dominating the league.

During an interview with Bill Simmons, he made clear comparisons between European athletes and the ones raised in the United States, saying that the foreign prospects come better prepared into the NBA.

“They’re competitors, and a lot of our young players are not. They play six games in a day. They come into the league, and they want to put on a show,” he said.

He then recalled an interesting anecdote with a Wolves legend: “Kevin Garnett always told my story in the locker room because I would walk in every time we played in LA, every single time [I would say], ‘This is not a show, this is a competition. Anybody here that wants to put on a show for the Hollywood actors, you’re not playing tonight.’”

He was then asked to remember how those international players performed back when he competed, and how they would fare against the ones entering the league today. He didn’t recall them being so strong as they are now.

“They all were soft,” he laughed just thinking about it. “When you saw a foreign guy, you had a good game. That’s like the Larry Bird thing. ‘You put this guy on me? This is embarrassing.’”

Once he had a meeting he had with several people from the NBA and had this same conversation. “One guy who charts the games says that the American players in the summer, high school kids, play six games a week, and they have one practice. The European players have one game a week, and they have six practices. The second part is because you have all these games, you stop being competitive,” Rivers shared.

Rivers recalled already seeing the issues in the youth development system when he was coaching his son Austin

The 62-year-old revealed he’s been witnessing issues with the U.S. youth development system for quite some time now, even back when he was coaching his own son Austin.

“I watched Austin play growing up. It hurt him. Number one, this stupid ranking stuff. ‘You’re the number one player in the country.’ Who knows where you’re at? Number two, you play three of four games in a day. It used to drive me crazy because Austin, at halftime, would not even take a shot. He would just sit,” Rivers reminisced.

It is important to also notice that all last five league MVP has been won by international athletes, and it seems this season will suffer the same fate. Doc insists that they must match the European youth development system before it’s too late.

“It has to be fixed because we have the talent. The players are far more talented than we ever were. It ain’t even close, but they don’t know how to play,” he concluded.





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LeBron James has 668 30-point games, 2nd most in NBA history

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has recorded 668 30-point games across his 21-year playing career, the second most in NBA history, according to the Basketball-Reference database.

This includes both playoff and regular-season games. Only Michael Jordan (671) retired with more 30-point games. Jordan accomplished this feat in just 15 seasons.

James leads Wilt Chamberlain (557), Kobe Bryant (519), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (504), Karl Malone (489), Kevin Durant (456), Jerry West (424), Oscar Robertson (410), and Elgin Baylor (403).

Among active players, James leads Kevin Durant (456), James Harden (365), Stephen Curry (343), Giannis Antetokounmpo (277), Damian Lillard (267), Russell Westbrook (256), Anthony Davis (220), Joel Embiid (204), DeMar DeRozan (201), Devin Booker (199), and Luka Doncic (188).

James’ 668th career 30-point game is arguably his most impressive. It was earned Wednesday night.

At 39 years old, he scored 34 points and helped the Lakers overcome a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 116-112 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The 20-time All-Star scored 19 of his 34 points in the final frame.

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James hit a season-high seven 3-pointers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers led 98-77 in the opening minute of the final period. James hit five of his season-high seven 3-pointers while outscoring the Clippers by himself 19-16 in the fourth. He either scored or assisted on 11 of the Lakers’ 13 baskets in the last quarter.

“It’s just a feeling when you feel like everything you put up is going in,” James said. “I just kept it consistent. I wasn’t taking ill-advised shots. And I stayed in the course of the offense. My teammates did a great job of continuing to find me, and I just tried to dictate the tempo, dictate the game. … It’s just a zone. Can’t really describe it. Wish you could stay in it forever.”

Before Wednesday’s game, NBA teams had lost 866 straight games when entering the fourth quarter trailing by at least 19 points.

Through 52 games (all starts) this season, James is averaging 25.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.3 steals, and 35 minutes per contest. Plus, he is shooting 52.6% from the field, a career-best 40.8% from 3-point range, and 73.6% at the foul line.

The four-time MVP has notched 30 or more points in 14 games this season. In his 21st season, he has also logged 17 double-doubles and three triple-doubles. James put a season-high 40 points at Oklahoma City on Dec. 23.

James is the only NBA player to have a 40-point game and a triple-double against all 30 NBA teams. He is just 40 points away from becoming the first player to reach 40,000 career points as well.





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Heat vs Nuggets Odds, Picks, & Predictions (Feb. 29)

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Tonight, the Denver Nuggets (40-19, 26-31-2 ATS) host the Miami Heat (33-25, 29-28-1 ATS) in the first meeting of the 2023-24 NBA season; preview, odds, picks, predictions, and injuries for the Heat vs Nuggets matchup are here. Sportsbooks show Denver as a 4.5-point favorite at home. BetOnline odds are below.

Heat vs. Nuggets Game Preview

  • 🏀 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Matchup: Miami Heat @ Denver Nuggets
  • 📅 2023-24 NBA Regular Season Game Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024
  • 🕙 What time is Heat vs. Nuggets Game: 10 p.m. ET
  • 🏟 Where is Heat vs. Nuggets Game: Ball Arena | Denver, Colorado
  • 📺 TV Channel(s): TNT
  • 💻 Free 2023-24 NBA Season Game Live Stream: Jazz Sports
  • 🎲 2023-24 NBA Season Game Odds: Heat +4.5 (-110) | Nuggets -4.5 (-110)

Heat vs. Nuggets Odds

Heat vs. Nuggets Predictions

Miami is aiming to keep its six-game road win streak alive when the Heat face Denver. The Heat have gone 18-12 away from home this season. Bam Adebayo is averaging 20.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game with Miami.

The Heat are 8-2 in their last 10 games, averaging 111.3 points, 44.8 rebounds, 26.6 assists, 8.1 steals, and 3.4 blocks per game while shooting 47.8% from the field.

Miami ranks fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets are 23-5 at home and remain just two games back for the top spot in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic is averaging 25.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 9.3 assists for Denver.

Denver is 7-3 in its past 10 contests, averaging 113.8 points, 46.1 rebounds, 31.3 assists, 7.6 steals, and 5.8 blocks per game while shooting 48.8% from the floor.

Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Nuggets hold a 62.5% chance of defeating Miami. The reigning champs will have a better time against the Heat if Jamal Murray (possible rest) plays. If not, an upset could be in the cards.

Miami is one of the hottest road teams in the league right now.

Heat vs. Nuggets Injuries

Miami Heat Injury Report

PF Kevin Love (heel; downgraded to out) | SG Josh Richardson (shoulder; out indefinitely) | C Thomas Bryant (out; suspension) | SG Tyler Herro (knee; questionable) | SG Dru Smith (knee; out for the season) | PF Orlando Robinson (back; upgraded to probable)

Denver Nuggets Injury Report

PG Jamal Murray (possible rest; questionable) | SF Vlatko Cancar (knee; out indefinitely) | SF Julian Strawther (injured head; questionable)

2023-24 NBA Betting Trends

  • The Heat are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games.
  • Miami is 5-0 SU in its past five contests.
  • The Heat are 1-10 against Denver in their previous 11 matchups.
  • As for the Nuggets, they’re 9-1 in their last 10 home games.
  • Denver is 5-1 at home versus Miami in its past six meetings inside Ball Arena.
  • Lastly, the total has gone under in 13 of the Nuggets’ previous 17 contests.

Projected Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG Tyler Herro | SG Terry Rozier | PF Duncan Robinson | SF Jimmy Butler | C Bam Adebayo

Projected Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG Jamal Murray | SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | PF Aaron Gordon | SF Michael Porter Jr. | C Nikola Jokic

Free NBA Expert Picks

Through 58 games, the Heat are 23-9 as favorites, 10-16 as underdogs, 17-12-1 ATS away, and 9-21 over/under away. The Nuggets are 37-13 as favorites, 3-6 as underdogs, 14-13-1 ATS at home, and 11-17 over/under at home. As stated above, Denver is 5-1 in its last six home matchups with Miami.

Our betting experts here at Basketball Insiders are projecting the Nuggets will win, the Heat will cover the spread, and the point total will go over 213.5. Since both contenders’ point total has gone under in recent games, this meeting could be the one exception. Miami and Denver can score a lot of points.

Pick the Nuggets to win! The Heat’s 1-10 record against the Nuggets in their past 11 meetings is shocking. However, Miami has covered the spread in their last five games played this month. If you are new to sports betting, check out our handicap betting guide.

More NBA picks and predictions are on the main page.



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Scottie Pippen admits that Michael Jordan is the one and only GOAT

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Ever since the airing of The Last Dance, many players from the Bulls dynasty expressed their disappointment by the way they were portrayed in the docuseries. One of the most outspoken was Scottie Pippen, who criticized Michael Jordan and insisted that he would’ve not been able to achieve what he did without the team around him. 

Despite this ongoing feud, the Hall of Famer still recognized his former teammate’s greatness in a recent interview. The former big man is currently in Australia to announce the “No Bull” Tour, alongside fellow stars Horace Grant and Luc Longley.

In an interview on Australia’s the Today Show, host Karl Stefanovic dared to ask: “It’s hard to make comparisons but from where you were standing playing, was Michael the best, the greatest ever?”

Pippen didn’t hesitate to answer affirmatively. “Oh, for sure. I mean, you look at the MVPs that he was able to achieve. But I think it was all brought from us being successful as a team. Obviously, someone’s gonna bring those accolades home. But yeah, he was the greatest player, definitely, in basketball,” Scottie explained.

Last year, when he first voiced his discontent over The Last Dance, he even went all the way to call LeBron James “the greatest statistical guy to ever play the game of basketball” during a podcast appearance in May.

“And there’s no comparison to him. None. So does that make him the greatest player to ever play the game? I’ll leave that up for debate, because I don’t believe there’s a great player because our game’s a team game, and one player can’t do it,” the Bulls icon shared.

During the same podcast, he recalled Jordan as a “terrible player” before he joined the team in Chicago. “I saw Jordan play before I came to play with the Bulls. You guys saw him play. He was a horrible player. He was horrible to play with,” Pippen said. “He was all one-on-one, he’s shooting bad shots, and all of a sudden we become a team and we start winning and everybody forgot who he was.”

In Australia, the Hall of Famer even dedicated some praise for The Last Dance docuseries as an educational tool

It seems Pippen finally decided to judge the Netflix docuseries in a realistic manner, as he finally admitted it was very entertaining and could even be considered an educational tool to show people the greatness in basketball.

“I thought it was special,” Scottie started out. “I thought it was a special moment for us to really relive some of the greatest times in basketball history. More so, have an opportunity to see what team basketball was really like. I think during the pandemic, everyone sitting at home, it was more like an educational tool to let people see how great the game can be if it’s played the right way. If there’s sharing of the basketball, there’s unlimited things you can achieve.”

The former center’s biggest criticism of the series was mostly due to the fact that it seemed as if Jordan was credited with all the Bulls’ success during their 90s dynasty. “They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates,” he wrote in a 2021 memoir.

“Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product. The doc couldn’t have been released otherwise. He was the leading man and the director,” he insisted.





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