Luol Deng, Pau Gasol to play in NBA Africa Game


Luol Deng, Pau Gasol to play in NBA Africa Game

The NBA's ever-expanding global reach continued Thursday when the rosters were revealed for the NBA Africa Game, the league's first ever exhibition in the continent.

Headliners include former Bulls forward Luol Deng, eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul and Bulls center Pau Gasol, who all will participate in the Aug. 1 game at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Deng, a South Sudan native, will captain Team Africa, comprised of both players born in Africa and second-generation African players. Gregg Popovich will coach the team that also includes Al-Farouq Aminu, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Boris Diaw, Gorgui Dieng, Festus Ezeli, Serge Ibaka and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

[MORE: Jerry Colangelo talks Rose's chances of making Olympic team]

Paul, the NBPA president, will captain Team World, which also includes Bradley Beal, Kenneth Faried, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Jeff Green, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Nikola Vucevic. Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins will coach the squad.

For Gasol, the two-time NBA champion said in a press release it was an easy decision to take part in the game.

"When I heard about the NBA Africa Game I jumped at the chance to participate," he said. "The continent of Africa has a special meaning for me through my foundation. I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans and taking part in activities in the local community."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game, along with NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo and NBA Africa ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon. 

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut


Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.