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Links: Washington Wizards center Nene will suit up for Brazil in 2012 London Olympics

Guess I'll see you if we play France, eh Ronny?
Guess I'll see you if we play France, eh Ronny?

Today's links:

  • After removing himself from the Brazil team during the Olympic qualifying tournament last offseason, Nene wasn't sure whether he would be allowed to represent his home country at the 2012 Olympic Games, though I doubt Brazil, which hasn't competed in men's basketball since the 1996 Games, ever seriously considered leaving arguably its best player off the team. [Washington Post]
  • Mike thinks Nene, despite his injury history, should be allowed to play for Brazil in the 2012 London Olympics. I'd like to hear from anyone who thinks a player should be prohibited from what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like representing your home country as an Olympic athlete, especially when your country hasn't competed in your sport since the 1996 Games.
  • Awesome piece here on SportVU, a system of cameras that hang from the rafters of NBA arenas and measure such things as a player's rebounding prowess based on their number of "chances," how far a player runs over the course of an entire game, and how many dribbles a player takes per shot. The Wizards are one of 10 teams using the technology, and I imagine this is what Ted was talking about when, in his blog post announcing Ernie Grunfeld's contract extension, he said, "We now are able to evaluate talent with a unique use of high-speed cameras and an innovative approach to statistics.
  • Uh oh, we got some close matchups in our #QUOTESANITY Final Four. After it inexplicably took the Humblebrag region over "American Jan Vesely," eight-seed "Willing To Die For This" almost pulled an epic upset over top-seed "Can't Say I Do," but fell just 13 votes shy of moving on to the championship game (poll?). We could still have an eight seed in the final round, though, as two seed "Valentines Shorties" currently has the lead over "Likes White Players," but not by much. This poll won't be up much longer, so those of you hoping for the upset have some votes to cast.
  • In his latest "Better Know A Free Agent," Mike wonders whether Warriors wing Brandon Rush is due for a correction after hitting a blistering 45 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
  • If you feel like being depressed, go ahead and read TAI's review of Andray Blatche's 2011-2012 season, including Dan Diamond's apocalyptic prediction that Seven Day Dray will still be with the Wiz when next season tips off.
  • It isn't exactly Rashard Lewis's fault that his 2011-2012 season was an injury-riddled catastrophe, but you folks didn't let that temper your harsh critiques.
  • Video of Jan Vesely's exit interview with the D.C. media. []
  • Here's a pretty thorough scouting report on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. [NBA Draft Blog]
  • Everything pretty much went to script for both the Lakers and Thunder last night, but in the end, Kobe Bryant was just too good, leading L.A. to a 99-96 victory in one hell of a playoff game. He scored 36 points, 14 of them in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers shot 41 of 42 from the free throw line (!!) and big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum both notched double-doubles. Kevin Durant scored 31 points for the Thunder and Russell Westbrook and James Harden both had 21, so it's not as if OKC's stars didn't show up. Meanwhile, the Sixers didn't grab its first lead until the fourth quarter last night but scored the last nine points of the game to surge ahead for a 92-83 win over the Celtics to tie the series up a two games apiece.Recaps: [Daily Dime | Ball Don't Lie | Thunder-Lakers (SB Nation, SI, AP) | Celtics-Sixers (SB Nation, SI, AP)]
  • Kobe pretty much willed his team to victory last night, and in the process might have saved the Lakers' season. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake are doing their best to make Lakers fans forget about Derek Fisher in these playoffs. [TrueHoop]
  • Oh, and Durant took the last shot the Thunder, which should have satisfied all you "Hero Ball" adherents. How'd that turn out, by the way?
  • So with a minute left in the game and the Lakers up by one point, Serge Ibaka gave Pau Gasol a hug, so Gasol gave Ibaka a, well... [SB Nation]
  • The Sixers were pretty bad in close games during the regular season. They've been a bit better in the playoffs. [TrueHoop]
  • The Celtics seem unable to do things the easy way. [ESPN Boston]
  • Les Carpenter writes that the Celtics succumbed to the Sixers' "tricks." [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Andy Hutchins ranks the 16 potential NBA Finals matchups, and curiously keeps the Spurs, which for my money have been the most gleefully blissful team to watch in the playoffs, out of his top four. I do think the NBA has a problem if any team other than the Heat with a healthy Chris Bosh makes the Finals, because I'm not sure the Sixers, Celtics or Pacers would be able to seriously challenge the Lakers, Thunder or Spurs.
  • For those with ESPN Insider, David Thorpe has released his preliminary NBA postseason MVP rankings.
  • We're sorry, Chris Bosh. [Heat Index]
  • Evidently Nick Young played Game 3 (and scored nine points, no less) all hopped up on painkillers due to impacted wisdom teeth that he failed to get taken out at a time that made sense, like, you know, before the friggin' playoffs. In a quote that is oh-so Nick Young, he explained he didn't go to the dentist because he's "scared of those needles." -_-
  • If you haven't received a call from the Charlotte Bobcats regarding their head coaching vacancy, you can expect to soon. [SB Nation]
  • Larry Drew will be back at the Hawks head coach next season. [SB Nation]
  • The kid can obviously play, but I never hopped on the "Kyrie Irving is going to redefine basketball" bandwagon like everyone else seemed too. But holy lord, this is brilliant.
  • Could this picture be any more Snoop Dogg? Answer: No. No it could not. [SB Nation]