Chicago native Anthony Davis holds his own in U.S. opener

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Chicago native Anthony Davis holds his own in U.S. opener

LAS VEGAS No, it isnt the same as hometown hero and Bulls point guard Derrick Rose playing in the Olympics. But since the All-Star and former league MVP cant compete due to his torn ACL, No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis member of the rival Miami Heat Dwayne Wade, another Windy City resident, will also miss out on the experience, due to his own recent knee surgery is as close as Chicago will get to a mens basketball player representing the city in London.
Of course, its not set in stone yet, but now that Clippers All-Star power forward Blake Griffins spot is reportedly jeopardized due to a torn meniscus suffered in Wednesdays scrimmage according to reports, the recent recipient of a five-year, 95-million maximum contract will miss the Olympics, but be ready for Clippers training camp Davis, the lone big-man alternate that was left off the original Team USA roster, looks to be London-bound. His performance in Thursdays Team USA exhibition debut didnt hurt his chances either.
After not practicing with the national team Davis practiced Tuesday with the Select Team; his own ankle injury initially appeared to take him out of the running the former Kentucky All-American sat for the first three periods of the contest against the Dominican Republic, a team guided by his college coach, John Calipari. It seemed as if he wouldnt see any action, then he started the fourth quarter and showed the potential that made observers consider him the lone franchise-changing player in the draft.
I was telling him he doesnt get a summer league. In actuality, this is his first NBA game. Hes such a great kid. Were having fun over there with him, but I told him, at the same time, go out there and play hard, show everyone you belong to be here and that youre not here just because youre the No. 1 pick, and he was great and he did a great job, said Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul, whose teammate is the injured Griffin. Ironically, Paul began his career in New Orleans, where Davis will play for the Hornets.
He was hurt during training camp, but we all watched him play in college, just like everyone else. Hes got a lot to learn, but what better team to be on than this one to learn how to play, Paul added.
Upon checking in, Davis looked to have a case of the jitters, but eventually found his groove and got on the board by showing off the ball skills a steal, then pushing the ball the length of the court and getting fouled on a layup attempt he retained from his days at Chicagos Perspectives Charter School. After it looked it looked like he would exit the game midway through the stanza, he was inserted back into the contest alongside center Tyson Chandler and power forward Kevin Love, so he was essentially playing on the wing.
Then, he put his package of skills on display, hitting a left-handed jump hook in the paint, snagging an offensive rebound and finishing a put-back layup and lastly, converting a four-point play after getting knocked down in the process of making a three-pointer, getting a rise out of both the crowd and his superstar teammates. And while he wasnt completely flawless, he showed that his hype was justified. Sure, he wasnt Team USAs go-to guy the Hornets hope hell develop into in New Orleans, but the flashes of brilliance show that the 19-year-old is ready for the big time, just a few years removed from being a complete unknown.
Great experience. Guys told me just relax and breathe. Have fun, its just a basketball game. I started getting a feel for things, said Davis, who arrived earlier Thursday afternoon after being informed that morning that his services were needed. Just play basketball. I saw the ball go in for the first time and I felt good.
Blakes still on the team. Im just filling in until he gets healthy, wait for Blake to get healthy. Im not on the team; Im still an alternate. I hope Blake gets a speedy recovery, make sure everythings fine with him and hope its all fine, continued the South Sider. Im still filling in until they tell me differentI just filled Blakes spot for tonightIm not sure. Nobodys given me any indication of what Im doing, so hopefully I find out tonight.
Carmelo told me just take a deep breath and its just like college. Youre out here just playing ball. If you really love this game, youre going to be nervous, but when you step on the floor, but youre supposed to have fun. If you love this game like you say you love it, just go play ball and thats what I ended up doing. And it was good to beat Coach Cal.
Chimed in Paul: He can definitely contribute. He hadnt practiced with us, so he came to pre-game meal and just came over here and just came over here, and he came out here with NBA vets, so Id say thats pretty good for the rook.
Again, USA Basketball wouldnt commit to Davis being on the teamGriffin will get a second opinion on his knee injurybut its evident that if he is added to the squad, hell hold his own and not just be the 2012 version of Christian Laettner from the original Dream Team.
I was excited to finally get the opportunity to play, but its still kind of upsetting that Blake went down. Im just trying to make sure that hes healthy, make sure everything goes well, said Davis.
I feel like I learned something today, he added. "KD, LeBron, Melo, Russ, Kobe, all of them clapping, cheering for me and Im supposed to be cheering for these guys. Theyre cheering for me.
I was just trying to enjoy it all.

Watch: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah misses everything with this free-throw attempt

Watch: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah misses everything with this free-throw attempt

We all remember Joakim Noah's twisty-turny tornado shooting style from the free-throw line.

It was funny, and it worked better than you might expect, with Noah's unconventional shooting style from the charity stripe going through the net better than 73 percent of the time over a five-season span from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

But things haven't gone so well there for Noah in his first season with the New York Knicks. Entering Monday night's game, Noah was shooting just 42.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Well, things might've hit rock bottom Monday, with this nasty-looking free-throw try from Noah that missed everything.

Take a look:

Say it ain't so, Jo.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Excluding Jimmy Butler, who should Bulls trade?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Excluding Jimmy Butler, who should Bulls trade?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Phil Rogers (mlb.com) join Kap on the panel. Super Bowl LI is set. Can Bill Belichick slow down the Falcons historic offense? Will Tom Brady be able to pick apart Atlanta’s D?

Plus besides Jimmy Butler, who should the Bulls trade? And after winning in Columbus, is this the year Northwestern goes dancing?

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: