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Joel Embiid’s NBA debut was a much-deserved reward for 76ers fans

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After two years of nothing but Joel Embiid tweets and Shirley Temple rumors, the former No. 3 overall pick actually played in a basketball game Tuesday night. 

Embiid simply playing was a massive first step, but the ability he flashed in 13 minutes brought even more excitement, and was a much-deserved reward for fans who never questioned the process. (Quietly, Dario Saric also had a nice little debut, scoring 10 points—including two threes—in 18 minutes.)

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Not only did Embiid leave the game unscathed, he was positively awesome to watch. Embiid showed all the skills that made him such a highly touted prospect. A buttery turnaround J from the post. The ability to step outside and connect from long distance. Intimidating defense in the paint. Embiid was the complete package. Sam Hinkie definitely streamed Embiid’s first start in a local Palo Alto coffee shop, and I imagine him screaming, “The Embiid-ening, it’s happeninggggg!!!,” much to the dismay of the other customers. And I don’t blame him!

Now, of course, come the obvious caveats. It was only preseason. Embiid hardly played more than one quarter and neither team was taking it that seriously. Embiid will certainly have to prove not only his talent, but also his durability during the regular season. Unfortunately, he can’t wipe out his injury history with only one game, and the 76ers should still be slightly cautious about bringing him along.

More than anything, I was happy to see Embiid play without getting hurt. It’s admittedly a little morbid, but whatever unfortunate curse the 76ers have been operating under had me worried Embiid was going to go down after completing a simple post move.

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Speaking of that curse, on Tuesday it was the confirmation that No. 1 pick Ben Simmons suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot—the same injury that wrecked Kevin Durant’s 2014–15 season. It’s shocking how much bad luck the 76ers have had with their top picks. Nerlens Noel missed his rookie year with an ACL injury. Jahlil Okafor ended last year on the bench after tearing his meniscus, and he remains out of the lineup. And, of course, Embiid happened.

It was certainly a long back road for Embiid, who missed the end of his only season in college due to a stress fracture in his back. Before the 2014 draft, Embiid broke his foot, which led to multiple surgeries that ultimately caused him to miss two full seasons. In addition to the injuries, Embiid had to carry the weight of expectations, become the poster child of Hinkie’s process and fight reports of immaturity while many wondered if he would become the NBA’s next lost big man.

But Embiid and the 76ers are on the right track, and having a couple veterans around this season should help ease the pressure ever so slightly on their young core. If Embiid has another game or two like Tuesday’s during the preseason, it may even be time to start wildly overreacting.

Source: www.si.com

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Injured Aminu Out For 2-3 Weeks

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D’Tigers guard, Al-Farouq Aminu, has been ruled out for two to three weeks after he sprained his right ankle, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.

Aminu who missed the Portland Trail Blazers’ 113-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Friday morning has suited eight times this season in the NBA.

The 27 year old was on crutches before the Portland Trail Blazers’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers game at the Moda center.

In his place, Noah Vonleh was listed as the starter for the game which was the Portland Trail Blazers’ fifth win in nine games.

Despite his injury setback, Aminu took to Twitter to applaud every fan who wished him well.

“Great win and thank you to everyone that has been wishing me well,” he tweeted.

So far this season Aminu has recorded 75 points, 65 rebound and 14 assists and six steals in 242 minutes for the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Oladipo Named NBA Eastern Conference Player Of The Week

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Indiana Pacers Nigerian forward, Victor Oladipo, has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in the NBA, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.

The former Oklahoma City Thunders guard and former Indiana University All-American, Oladipo led the Pacers to a 101-83 rout of the Sacramento Kings Wednesday morning – their fourth win of the NBA season.

Oladipo becomes the 12th player in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honor. He added 14 points and four rebounds in the encounter.

So far this season, Oladipo has led the Pacers in scoring in each of their first seven games this season. He currently ranks eighth in the NBA with a scoring average of 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over the last three games.

New Orleans’ Pelican star DeMarcus Cousins, was also named Western Conference Player of the Week.

The 25-year-old Oladipo praised his compatriot Ike Anigbogu, the youngest player in the NBA for scoring his first career points in the NBA after five games.

19-year-old Anigbogu who was the Pacers second-round pick scored four points in the five minutes he played.

Anigbogu scored his first points of his professional career on a pair of free throws. He later knocked down a jumper, then sent the Pacers’ veterans on the bench into hysterics with an emphatic block of Kings guard Frank Mason in the closing seconds.

“I’m proud of him (Anigbogu),” Oladipo told the Pacers official website.

“A lot of guys do a lot of the cheering. (The starters) got to do the cheering today. It’s an awesome feeling.

The Pacers travel to Cleveland for a clash against the LeBron James led Cavaliers on Thursday morning.

Completesportsnigeria.com

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Occansey excited about giving Cote d’Ivoire supporters the opportunity to watch national team at home

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ABIDJAN (FIBA Basketball World Qualifiers) – Cote d’Ivoire head coach Hugues Occansey feels his team will do everything in its power to reach the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers.

If they do, their supporters will have a chance of watching their heroes play home (and away) games in a battle for one of the five spots for African countries for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

Occansey, who played for France’s national team in the 1980s and 1990s before turning his hand to coaching, looks forward to the challenge Cote d’Ivoire are set to embark on.

« We are happy to be one of the 16 African nations to compete in the World Cup Qualifiers. This is a good opportunity for us to get closer to our fans throughout Qualifiers and I really want to congratulate FIBA for this great initiative. »

It’s been over four years since Cote d’Ivoire last played a major tournament on home soil, as the country staged FIBA AfroBasket back in 2013. Occansey would like nothing better than to give local supporters an opportunity to relive a magical atmosphere like the one displayed on that occasion.

As hosts of FIBA Africa’s premier competition, Ivorian fans not only sold out the Palais des Sports de Treichville each time the « Elephants » stepped out onto the court but they also celebrated the game of basketball with choreographed dances, traditional chants and an impressive spirit of fair play after Cote d’Ivoire fell short to Angola in the Semi-Finals.

s part of FIBA’s new calendar and over a four-year cycle from 2017 through 2021, national teams will play regular official games to qualify for the China 2019 and the FIBA Continental Cups 2021 starting in November.

It is not lost on Occansey what it would mean for Cote d’Ivoire to reach the second round of Qualifiers for China 2019.

« It would be great to play official games at home. For us as coaches, every (Qualifiers) window is an opportunity to give our talented players based around the world the chance to represent the national team. That was not possible under the previous system. »

In order to advance to the second round of the World Cup Qualifiers, Cote d’Ivoire would need to finish in the top-three of Group D, which includes Senegal, Mozambique and the Central African Republic.

While Cote d’Ivoire did hosted the second round of FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 against Benin and Burkina Faso, there is nothing like the prospect of taking on the continent’s powerhouses in Abidjan.

The « Elephants » last played at the FIBA Basketball World Cup seven years ago in Turkey, where they defeated Puerto Rico to return home with a 1-4 record.

Source: Fiba basketball

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