#BTHype Throwback: Magic Johnson All-Stars tour Australia

magicjohnsonaustralia

In 1995, Magic Johnson bought out a team of former NBA and NCAA players to Australia for a 5 game exhibition series against the Australian Boomers.

Thank to the awesome advent of YouTube, especially user illusiv13, all 5 of these games are now on the interwebs!

Magic’s team of stars included 2 x NBA Champion and former All-Star Mark Aguirre, MA’s Pistons team-mate John Long, former Laker Mike McGee and Lester Conner.

The series was a whitewash, with the visitors winning the series 5-0. However, Magic didn’t disappoint. Despite not playing in the Sydney game (which I attended) due to a calf injury, he was the same old Magic showman throughout. The defining moment was when he dropped 38 points and 11 rebounds whilst basically playing on one leg in the fifth game in Perth.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the 5 games below. Plus, for the Aussies, as this is an SBS broadcasted series, i’m sure you’ll get a kick out of Les Murray presenting basketball.

Game 1: Adelaide – Magic Johnson All-Stars 113 – Australian Boomers 98

Game 2: Brisbane – Magic Johnson All-Stars 106 – Australian Boomers 99

Game 3: Melbourne – Magic Johnson All-Stars 114 – Australian Boomers 112

Game 4: Sydney – Magic Johnson All-Stars 97 – Australian Boomers 94

Magic didn’t play in this game due to sustaining a calf injury in Game 3 in Melbourne.

Game 5: Perth – Magic Johnson All-Stars 117- Australian Boomers 109 (Overtime)

Joe Ingles recommends you stay off the road when Dante Exum is driving

joeinglescar

Joe Ingles is never short of a quote about how he and Dante Exum are fitting into life in the NBA.

Back in January, Believe The Hype’s Jamieson Welsh spoke to Ingles and Exum about the fact that, much to the jokingly disdain of Joe, he had to drive Dante around to practice and to games over the first part of the season.

At the time, Ingles said “Well… First of all, I don’t like him at all. I had to pick him up because he had no drivers license. Which is pretty pathetic at the age he was”

“I had no say” piped back Exum.

“I know you didn’t have a say, you’re 15 years old!” Ingles proclaimed.

Well, it seems like things have changed and now Exum has FINALLY found his way to the DMV so it looks like taxi duties could be a thing of the past for the older Jazz Aussie.

danteexumWhen Jamieson caught up with Ingles this week (for a chat that appears on Episode 269 of the Podcast) prior to the Utah Jazz’s 88-84 loss to the Washington Wizards, he followed up from the January banter to find out whether or not ‘Uber Joe’ is still driving around his fellow Aussie.

“Nah, he’s got his license now which is nice.” said Ingles.

However, Ingles wasn’t finished there. Jamieson asked the Australian captain about whether or not it’s safe to be on the road when Exum is driving.

“I’d still watch out, he’s only had it for three months… I would stay away [from the road when he’s driving]” said Ingles, jokingly but also showing an ere of caution.

“He’s driving some big trucky thing… It’s not ginormous, but for a 19 year old it’s probably pretty ginormous.”

Dante’s been thrown into the deep end in a lot of situations so far on his American journey. I’ve got full confidence that he’ll pick up steering a “ginormous” SUV with as much ease as he’s picked up steering the Utah Jazz, who are 17-9 since he took over the starting point guard duties on January 22. However, for the time being… #BTHype-ers in Salt Lake City should follow Ingles’ advice and stay safe on the roads.

Hear more from Jamieson’s chat with Joe Ingles, plus his interviews with Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert on Episode 269 of the Believe The Hype – NBA Podcast.

Episode 269 – Harden than you think

jameshardenstirringthepot

On today’s episode of Believe The Hype, Tom, Benyam and Jamieson chat about the future, both short and long term, of the Oklahoma City Thunder with the news that Kevin Durant may miss the rest of the season, James Harden‘s 50 point performance, the “tank race” to the #1 Draft Pick and the Utah Jazz’s turnaround.

Furthermore, Jamieson catches up with Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert for a chat about the Jazz’s recent form and also Joe Ingles for a chat about the Jazz and why you should be NOWHERE near the road when Dante Exum is driving now that he has a drivers license.

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

Download:

Joel Freeland: Cricket, soccer and the NBA

By Roscoe Whalan

NBA players from Great Britain are a rare breed – between Luol Deng, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Robert Archibald, Steve Bucknall, John Amaechi and Joel Freeland… you can almost count them on one hand.

So, you’d be forgiven for not knowing who Joel Freeland is.

Earlier this week when I caught up with him, another reporter said to me, “I cover the NBA and I don’t really know who he is”.

“It’s tough… it’s not a sport that’s known over there [Great Britain] and there’s really no coverage of it at all,” Freeland told Believe the Hype.

Instead, the market in the UK is first and foremost soccer – a sport Freeland used to play before badly breaking his leg when he was 16.

Of course, there’s also cricket despite England’s disastrous performance at the Cricket World Cup.

“I don’t follow cricket at all so I wouldn’t be able to comment on that,” Freeland said with a laugh.

Indeed, Freeland’s one of the lesser known entities in the NBA but at 6’11 there’s no mistaking his basketball credentials – nor is there any doubt thathe would’ve been some supermarket shelf-stacker growing up in Farnham, south of London.

His rise to the NBA hasn’t been stratospheric. It actually took him six years from being drafted to debuting in the NBA.

Drafted 30th overall back in 2006 (the same year as teammate and star forward LaMarcus Aldridge), by the standards of the rest of his draft class, he’s surprisingly successful. In fact, just 12 first round picks from that draft class remain in the league.

This season, his third in the NBA, Freeland’s been a quiet revelation putting together some of the best basketball of his career.

Back in December in the absence of center Robin Lopez, Freeland started eight games and averaged 5 points, nearly eight rebounds and one and a half blocks per contest in around 22 minutes per game while anchoring the Trail Blazers’ defense.

“I think I started the season off good, doing what I needed to do. I got good playing time,” Freeland said.

But a shoulder injury derailed his subtle breakout.

“The injury was a setback but it happens, you know, there’s nothing you can do about it and I’m feeling good and I’m happy to be back and just waiting for chance to get to play again,” Freeland said.

joelfreeland2

Besides his own injury, Freeland says the season has been tough for the Blazers, adjusting to the recent loss of Wesley Matthews to injury and integrating the recent addition of Arron Afflalo.

“At the same time we’ve got a great group of guys who know how to play basketball, you know. We’re more of a veteran team now and we don’t make as many mistakes as we used to”.

Freeland’s slowly building his reputation as a fearless enforcer. Last week the old soccer skills cost him a one-game suspension after head-butting Detroit’s Shawne Williams.

Now he’s trying to work his way back into the rotation before the playoffs begin.

“As long as I’m doing the things that got me on the court in the first place I’ll be fine, you know, and that is defense, running the court, rebounding, doing all the stuff that players don’t normally like to do,” he said.

Maybe then he’ll start getting recognised for his success back home in the UK.

Roscoe Whalan is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the East Coast, based in Washington for believethehypeNBA.com this season. Follow him on Twitter: @RoscoeWhalan7

Steven Adams’ local TV commercial is as Kiwi as it gets

One minute of Steven Adams explaining why you should join BancFirst only using New Zealand slang is as great as you would expect.

I don’t live in Oklahoma, but you better believe i’d be doing my banking with BancFirst after this. Kevin Durant may have his fancy BBVA Compass commercials, but after this commercial, I can only assume he will also be switching banks.

via: Eye on Basketball

Swaggy P and 2 Chainz go shopping for expensive s**t

two-chainz-sneakers

In the most recent edition of GQ’s ‘Most Expensivest Shit’, 2 Chainz and Swaggy P stop by RIF.LA for some sneaker shopping, including checking out a pair of Jordan’s that’ll set you back  a cool $25,000.

Basically the show is rich people doing cool stuff you’ll never get to do, which is fun, but watching 2 Chainz analyse outrageous sneaker shopping prices in the above setting is worth the watch.

“I would never, ever f*** my money up like that” [2 Chainz, on spending $25k on J’s]

Exum and Gobert: I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine

EXUM

Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert started the 2014/15 season on the Utah bench, both guys contributed sporadically at both ends, but were not central to what the Jazz were doing. That’s because the Jazz weren’t 100% sure what they were doing. They sure as hell do now.

Often the pair would get in the game together and unleash a flailing blanket of limbs and defensive commitment which gave the Jazz second unit an identity centred around the attributes of these raw long-limbed youngsters. They stood out in the second unit, not just for their defence, but the way their games would consistently compliment each other as they slowly built a nice one-two combination.

As Exum would dribble at the top of the key, he would looks for a roll or baseline move from Gobert to get the big man an easy bucket. The combination was effective and aesthetically wonderful. Exum’s lightning first step and Gobert’s finishing at the rim were the highlights of the second unit…along with those well-timed Joe Ingles cross-court passes.

Now that the pair have been promoted to the starting unit, we are seeing the two link up more and more, but now it’s on the other side of the ball where we’re seeing things work at a frighteningly high and rapid level.

It’s no coincidence the Jazz’s meteoric rise in defensive competence has paralleled with the promotion of the Stifle Tower and ‘I need to think of a cool defensive nickname for Exum’

Gobert’s defence has been monstrous since the All-Star break where the Jazz have allowed just 89.7 points per 100 possessions, the best mark in the league.

Oh yeah and plays like this:

But it’s not just what Gobert does inside the paint, its what his presence allows Exum to do. Exum’s defence has been terrific since the All-Star break, the Jazz are posting a  defensive rating of 88.9 when Exum is on the floor!!!! A lot of the Jazz’s best five-man units defensively include Exum and Gobert.

Small sample size, but this one’s outrageous.

Exum’s foot speed and scrambling recovery were the first two things to stand out. His opponent would often lose him, but then all of a sudden, Exum would be back in position and blocking your three-point attempt.

A reluctance to over-commit on the perimeter and have your man blow by you has created plenty of these scenarios, but now we’re seeing a much more aggressive Exum when it comes to gambling on steals, picking passing lanes and generating transition buckets.

Dante is becoming better and better at this, but the security of playing in front of one of the best rim protectors in the league, gives you a confidence to ‘go for it’ more, knowing you have a back-up plan to potentially clean up any scraps.

“Knowing Rudy is behind me and be able to be that rim protector, that helps me out to be a bit more disruptive on the defensive end,” Exum said in a teleconference with the Asian media today.

“I can take a few more gambles so he’s definitely a good asset to have on the team.”

We have seen this kind of confidence and gambling on defence from a lot of point guards recently, but they all have a common thread, an astounding big man to have their back. Westbrook has Ibaka, Curry has Bogut and Chris Paul runs with DeAndre Jordan, it’s no coincidence they are two of the top three in the league in steals per game and Paul eighth.

It’s not just Exum and Gobert, the whole Jazz team has bought in, but more importantly, they have had enough time around each other so the increase in communication and awareness is obvious. With plenty of new faces on the roster this season, chemistry was always going to take a while and swingman Joe Ingles believes the team has really settled into itself as far as getting everyone on the same page.

“I mean we haven’t done anything different [lately] or anything like that, I think its more the group getting to know each other, having more time together and having more time with the coaches in the system,” Ingles said.

“Obviously there’s a few new pieces from last year, including the coach. Things just take time and I think we’ve gotten better over the season slowly.”

With five new, young faces playing key roles on this team, along with a wily young coach in Quin Snyder, the Jazz haven’t completely figured it out, but if this recent period doesn’t make you think they are heading down the right path, then I don’t know what will.