NBA

Wade happy to set sail into retirement with 'Banana Boat crew' watching on

By Sports Desk April 11, 2019

Dwyane Wade says he can retire a happy man and expressed his gratitude to the rest of the 'Banana Boat crew' for being courtside at the Miami Heat legend's swansong on Wednesday.

The three-time NBA champion ended his illustrious career with a triple double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 113-94 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony were there to witness Wade's last hurrah.

Wade felt it was a fitting that his close friends were reunited for his last NBA appearance.

"Obviously, it means a lot [to have them here]," Wade said. "They know that I will always be there for them, especially in a moment like this.

"No matter what I'm doing, I will be there for their last game. It was cool to see those guys over there. I'm glad they came, but at the same time I wish they weren't here because the whole time they kept telling me to shoot, shoot, shoot.

"But it was great. We've got a brotherhood. Those are my brothers."

Wade added: "For me I'm happy with this season. Unfortunately for the organisation, our team, we weren't in position to make the playoffs, but I'm happy to say I completed it.

"I almost messed it up when I fell on the scorer's table. But it's been great. I'm thankful for it and I can retire and be happy about my career, my body of work and everything I've been able to accomplish."

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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

    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.

  • 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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