Masai Ujiri taunts Brooklyn before Game 1

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There’s plenty of reasons to love Masai Ujiri. Success basically follows him wherever he goes. From being able to pull together a perrenial Playoff team in the loaded Western Conference during his stint in Denver, to completely turning around the Toronto Raptors from being a lottery team to Atlantic Division Champions in less than 12 months… The man oozes success & likeability.

Well, today, Ujiri had his WWE Face moment when addressing a packed Maple Leaf square prior to the Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets Game 1 tip-off at the Air Canada Center.

After telling the crowd he’s got to leave the stage & head to the game… He dropped this (f)bomb:

The only thing that could have made this moment better, would have been if Ujiri just dropped the mic & walked off the stage, rather than handing it across to Tim Leiweke. Overall, I give Ujiri a 8.5 for this. The execution of the mic-drop would have taken this up to a 10. If the Raptors picked up a victory, then this moment would have sat right behind Pat Riley guaranteeing back-to-back Lakers Championships in ‘happy-with-it’ NBA podium moments.

This isn’t the first bit of pre-series taunting that Raptors Nation has put on the Brooklyn Nets. Yesterday, the Toronto Sun, so ‘happy with it’ that the Raptors were back in the Playoffs, ran what could only be described as the greatest front-page of a tabloid paper since English Paper News of the World published this.

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During half-time, Ujiri apologised for the comments:

But it seems like this wasn’t going to be the end of it… As collaborated by Ben Golliver at SI.com’s Point Forward, the comment was the talk of the locker-rooms after the game, which the Nets won 94-87:

“We have his back,” Amir Johnson said, according to the New York Post. “I’m with him 100 percent so if he said ‘f ‘em,’ I say ‘f ‘em.’”

USA Today Sports reported coach Dwane Casey’s reaction: “That’s Masai. That’s why our team plays like that. He’s a fiery guy. That should represent how we feel.”

Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to play off Ujiri’s comment.

“I don’t even know who their GM is,” Kidd said, according to Raptors.com.

Ujiri & the city of Toronto may have won the pre-series battle. But, so far the Brooklyn Nets are 1-0 up in the war. Something tells me, this battle of words isn’t quite over just yet.

via: Sports Illustrated

Episode 172 – NBA Playoffs Preview

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THE PLAYOFFS ARE HERE, YOU GUYS!

On today’s episode of Believe The Hype, Tom & Benyam are joined by NBA Australia Editor Simon Legg to preview the 1st round match-ups of the Playoffs. The boys break down all 8 series & give their predictions for how they are going to play out. Furthermore, the boys chat about what potential break-out stars we may see over the next couple of months.

Follow Simon on twitter at @Simon_Legg plus catch him over at NBA Australia through @NBA_AU & au.NBA.com.

Don’t forget that that you can follow us on twitter @traread & @benyamkidane and using the #BTHype tag to ask questions to be answered in next weeks episode.

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Aussie Update – Volume 10

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By JT.

A round-up of news featuring our top Aussie ballers.

Sports Illustrated with an excellent feature on Ben Simmons.

* Dante Exum signs with adidas.

* Michael Regan from Catapult, the Australian athletic tech company, joins TrueHoop for a fascinating discussion on what the NBA can learn from other sports such Aussie Rules football in relation to resting players and injury prevention.

* Andrew Bogut is likely out for the season with a fractured rib. Devastating.

So, if he suffered the initial blow in a game against the Nuggets last week, then why was he playing in this game against the Blazers (with the aide of a pain-killing injection) when the Warriors had already secured a playoff berth? He should have been shut down until the postseason (I mean, even the Atlanta Hawks were resting their key guys down the stretch). They’ve dropped the ball again.

* TrueHoop’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss on what the Bogut injury means to the Warriors.

* An NBA.com feature on Patty Mills.

* Ben Simmons was named Junior Player Of The Year by MaxPreps.

* Aron Baynes soaking up the Texas sun.

* At number 25 on Zach Lowe’s list of the things he liked and didn’t like from the 2013-14 season, is Patty Mills’ pull-up 3s in transition. Check this: “Patty Mills does not care what the score is. He does not care if there are three defenders already back on defense. He does not care if a teammate is open under the rim. He does not care if Gregg Popovich might cut him out of this summer’s wine-tasting tour. If Patty Mills is bringing the ball up in transition, he is going to pull up for a 3-pointer, and you are just going to have to accept it.”

* The guys over at TrueHoop TV Live had an interesting discussion about Andrew Bogut’s value (at the 34:25 mark). Worth a listen.

Andrew Gaze and Luc Longley weigh in on Patty Mills’ future.

JT is the former Editor of the now defunct NBAMate. One of Australia’s original & most successful NBA blogs. You can find him on twitter @JThoopin.

Jamieson Welsh – Fox Sports Radio (16th April)

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Every Tuesday, #BTHype’s US Correspondent Jamieson Welsh jumps on with Steve Bortstein at Fox Sports 1340 AM 93.9 FM New Mexico to talk the latest news out of the NBA.

This week, Jamieson talks about the disparity between the Eastern & Western Conferences, the Los Angeles Clippers form in the back half of the season & whether they are contenders, teams in the East & West that may be able to surprise Indiana, Miami, San Antonio & Oklahoma City, the San Antonio Spurs system & it’s ability to get the best out of it’s personnel, Mike D’Antoni’s future at the Lakers & more!

 Jamieson Welsh is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the West Coast for believethehypeNBA.com this season. Follow him on Twitter:@theejamieson

Episode 171 – Coaching Carousel?

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On today’s episode of Believe The Hype, Tom & Benyam dedicate most of the episode to coaches. The boys chat about the future of Rick Adelman in Minnesota & chat about what non-Playoff coaches may be on the hot-seat. Furthermore, the boys chat about the future of Mark Jackson in Golden State & whether a first round exit may mean his demise. Also, the guys discuss Andrew Bogut’s injury, the Mount Rushmore of soft-drinks, Kevin Love’s future in Minnesota plus the regular segments, Player/Rookie of the week, Tweet of the Week & Into The Toolshed!

Don’t forget that that you can follow us on twitter @traread & @benyamkidane and using the #BTHype tag to ask questions to be answered in next weeks episode.

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Iman Shumpert comes up with the two awesome plays

Iman Shumpert, one of the league’s most inconsistent, yet entertaining players came up with two phenomenal plays in the Knicks 109-98 win over their Big Apple rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.

First he drops Paul Pierce with a mean crossover and step back jumper in the third quarter, only to ramp things up in the fourth, with a vicious off the back board alley-oop.

Enjoy!