NBA

Wade: Miami will be my home forever

By Sports Desk April 10, 2019

Dwyane Wade expressed his gratitude to Miami for allowing him to grow and says "Wade County" will always be his home after his final game at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Former United States president Barack Obama was among those to congratulate Wade on his outstanding career in a video tribute to the Heat legend on an emotional Tuesday night in Florida.

The three-time NBA champion marked the occasion by top-scoring with 30 points in a 122-99 victory that was not enough to take Miami into the playoffs.

Wade, a 13-time NBA All-Star, will make one last appearance in his illustrious career against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday after delivering a message of thanks following his Miami swansong.

"It's meant everything," Wade said. "To be able to come here and be embraced, to find a home, to be able to grow. I think that's the one thing.

"When I was on the court early on and Stan [Van Gundy, former Heat head coach] let me grow, as a player, whether it was mistakes I made in life to whatever it was, this city has allowed me to grow.

"I hope they are proud of what they have helped me become. This city means everything to me. It's forever, forever, forever going to be my home.

"This is the end of the basketball part for me, but [there is] so much more that I want to do in this city, so much we can accomplish together, so I look forward to that."

Wade says whatever comes next cannot compare to life as one of the best basketballers in the world.

"You can't replace this. I remember talking to MJ [Michael Jordan] about it. You've got to obviously find other ways of being competitive, to throw that competitive nature into [something]," the 37-year-old added.

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    Gregg Popovich defended Team USA and hit out at a "ridiculous" lack of respect for other nations at the FIBA World Cup after the reigning champions ended their campaign with an 87-74 victory over Poland.

    A significantly weakened US squad - missing a host of star names but still packed with NBA experience - saw their title defence ended by France at the quarter-final stage earlier this week, before also losing to Serbia.

    That meant Saturday's triumph at Beijing's Wukesong Sport Arena, in which Donovan Mitchell starred with 16 points and 10 assists, was only enough to secure seventh place for the country that won gold at each of the last two World Cups.

    Popovich nevertheless said he was proud of his players' efforts as he firmly rejected some of the criticism that has come the USA's way.

    "Some people want to play the blame game, there's no blame to be placed anywhere," the veteran head coach was quoted as saying by ESPN. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal?

    "That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could.

    "Their effort was fantastic. You give people credit for what they did, and that's it. But it's not a blame and shame game, that's ridiculous."

    Mitchell was one of five players to put up a double-figure points tally in the USA's final game, along with Joe Harris (14), Khris Middleton (13), Derrick White (12) and Harrison Barnes (10). Middleton also contributed six rebounds and half a dozen assists.

    Poland, playing their first World Cup since 1967, were paced by Mateusz Ponitka (18 points), Adam Waczynski (17) and A.J. Slaughter (15).

    The outcome was decided early with Team USA scoring the game's first 10 points and stretching their lead to 14 by the end of the first quarter.

    They led 47-30 at half-time, aided by Poland's inability to hit from three-point range. The underdogs missed their first 13 shots from behind the arc before finally getting one to fall with a minute and 28 seconds to play before the interval.

    Poland did rally in the second half, getting as close as seven points with four minutes and seven seconds left in the third quarter, but the Americans responded with a 9-2 run and ran out comfortable winners.

    Serbia secured fifth spot with a 90-81 victory over Czech Republic later in the day, Bogdan Bogdanovic the star of the show with 31 points.

  • FIBA World Cup 2019: Popovich blasts critics after USA finish seventh FIBA World Cup 2019: Popovich blasts critics after USA finish seventh

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    A significantly weakened US squad - missing a host of star names but still packed with NBA experience - saw their title defence ended by France at the quarter-final stage earlier this week, before also losing to Serbia.

    That meant Saturday's triumph at Beijing's Wukesong Sport Arena, in which Donovan Mitchell starred with 16 points and 10 assists, was only enough to secure seventh place for the country that won gold at each of the last two World Cups.

    Popovich nevertheless said he was proud of his players' efforts as he firmly rejected some of the criticism that has come the USA's way.

    "Some people want to play the blame game, there's no blame to be placed anywhere," the veteran head coach was quoted as saying by ESPN. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal?

    "That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could.

    "Their effort was fantastic. You give people credit for what they did, and that's it. But it's not a blame and shame game, that's ridiculous."

    Mitchell was one of five players to put up a double-figure points tally in the USA's final game, along with Joe Harris (14), Khris Middleton (13), Derrick White (12) and Harrison Barnes (10). Middleton also contributed six rebounds and half a dozen assists.

    Poland, playing their first World Cup since 1967, were paced by Mateusz Ponitka (18 points), Adam Waczynski (17) and A.J. Slaughter (15).

    The outcome was decided early with Team USA scoring the game's first 10 points and stretching their lead to 14 by the end of the first quarter.

    They led 47-30 at half-time, aided by Poland's inability to hit from three-point range. The underdogs missed their first 13 shots from behind the arc before finally getting one to fall with a minute and 28 seconds to play before the interval.

    Poland did rally in the second half, getting as close as seven points with four minutes and seven seconds left in the third quarter, but the Americans responded with a 9-2 run and ran out comfortable winners.

  • FIBA World Cup 2019: Spain & Argentina set to play for gold medal FIBA World Cup 2019: Spain & Argentina set to play for gold medal

    Argentina, looking to win their first FIBA World Cup since the inaugural edition in 1950, will contest the final on Sunday against a Spain side that needed double overtime to progress from the last four. 

    Spain advanced to the title game with a pulsating 95-88 victory over Australia, erasing a double-digit deficit in regulation to hand the stunned Boomers their first loss of the tournament.

    Marc Gasol fuelled Spain's win in the first World Cup elimination game to go to double overtime by scoring 33 points with six rebounds and four assists. Ricky Rubio added 19 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds as Spain outlasted a Patty Mills-inspired Australia.

    Mills poured in 32 points and Nic Kay came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 11 rebounds for the Boomers.

    Gasol, who won an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors in June, has a chance become only the second person to add a World Cup crown to an NBA championship in the same year.

    Lamar Odom did the double in 2010 with United States and the Los Angeles Lakers. After the Lakers bested the Boston Celtics in seven games that year, Odom stood atop the podium three months later in Istanbul with his USA team-mates hoisting the Naismith Trophy.

    "I just cherish every moment for what it is. I don't try to double up. I want to give the maximum for every occasion. It is two completely different situations. I'm going to give my best to win a World Cup for Spain," Gasol told FIBA basketball.

    Argentina, having stunned Serbia in the quarter-finals, continued their incredible run in China with an 80-66 victory against France in Friday's other semi-final, with seemingly ageless Luis Scola, 39, and Facundo Campazzo leading the way. Argentina last played in the final in 2002, coming up short against Yugoslavia.

    "They were just the better team tonight," France's Rudy Gobert said. "From the first to the last minute, they were more aggressive and played more as a team... It was complete domination."

    Spain have a chance to join the United States, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Brazil as only the fifth country to win multiple FIBA World Cup trophies.

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