Gregg Popovich's United States team survived an almighty fright in the FIBA World Cup as they claimed a 93-92 overtime victory over Turkey in Shanghai.

Turkey had a chance to hand USA their first preliminary round loss in the competition since 1998 and were one point up in the final 10 seconds.

However, they missed four free throws in the dying embers and Khris Middleton made no mistake with his pair of tries to spare USA's blushes and send them into the second round.

Elsewhere, Joe Ingles' statline of 17-10-9 ensured Australia made it two wins from two in a 81-68 victory over Senegal while Middleton's Milwaukee Bucks team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo's fouled out in Greece's 79-78 loss to Brazil.

USA SURVIVE UPSET SCARE

Even a depleted USA roster was expected to have few issues in the early stages of the tournament, but Turkey came close to pulling off a huge upset against the defending champions.

Popovich's team were five points up in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, yet a 7-0 run from Turkey meant the game went down to the wire. 

A foul on Jayson Tatum at the buzzer gave him three free throws, and USA would have won in regulation had he made them all - but he could only drain two.

Turkey had a five-point advantage in the additional period and twice had an opportunity to go three points up with nine seconds remaining only for Douglas Balbay and Cedi Osman to fluff their lines from the free-throw line.

Middleton kept his cool as USA survived a scare on the court, though Boston Celtics star Tatum appeared to pick up a worrying looking ankle injury at the end.

GIANNIS' GREECE GO DOWN

The NBA's reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had a day to forget as Greece suffered a narrow loss to Brazil that mean the South Americans booked their spot in the second round.

Antetokounmpo had fouled out by the time Greece tried to tie the game up late on and force overtime, but Kostas Sloukas could only make two of his three free-throws with two seconds remaining as Brazil claimed a one-point success.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors center Anderson Varejao led all scorers with 22 points while Antetokounmpo had just 13 in his 28 minutes on court.

Elsewhere in Group F, New Zealand beat Montenegro 93-83.

INGLES COMES CLOSE TO HISTORY AS BOOMERS WIN AGAIN

There has never been a triple-double in a FIBA World Cup but Ingles came close to a slice of history as Australia eased past Senegal.

Ingles was one assist away from a triple-double, contributing nine of their 28 assists as the Boomers warmed up for their clash with Lithuania, who joined them in the second round with a 92-69 triumph.

In Group G, France also moved to 2-0 with a 103-64 thrashing of Jordan, while Dominican Republic kept their unbeaten start intact by beating Germany 70-68.

The day's other game saw Czech Republic defeat Japan 89-76.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell paced the offense as the United States launched their FIBA World Cup campaign on Sunday with an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic.

Mitchell scored 16 points to lead the USA, while Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes added 14. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker got the team off to a fast start, combining for 20 points in the first half. Walker finished with 13 points and Tatum scored 10.

Myles Turner also had seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the US, who forced 15 turnovers.

Mitchell kept his dominating momentum down to the final minutes of the game in Shanghai.

For the Czechs, who played their first World Cup game since 1982, Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky led the team with 17 points.

The USA will play Turkey on Tuesday in Shanghai in a rematch of the 2010 World Championship final. The Czech Republic will face Japan on Tuesday.

Kemba Walker has already had an impact on his new Boston Celtics team-mates, who are thrilled to be playing alongside the point guard.

Walker joined the Celtics this offseason as a part of a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets in which Boston sent Terry Rozier the other way.

The 29-year-old signed a four-year, $140million deal with the Celtics and will be taking over the spot left vacant by Kyrie Irving, who went to the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.

Playing alongside Walker next season will be established Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are thrilled to be welcoming the point guard to Boston.

"I'm just excited," Tatum said at a Team USA practice session in Las Vegas ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

"We've got a good team, it's a new season, everybody's kind of ready to just get going. Last year didn't finish how we wanted, so it makes guys hungry and excited for next season."

"We're going to be positive," Brown added. "Last year, I can't say it can be any worse than that, so coming out and being positive is everybody's mindset."

The Celtics were picked to win the Eastern Conference after going 55-27 in 2017-18, when they finished second in the East and lost in seven games in the conference finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But Boston struggled last season, sliding to 49-33, finishing fourth in the East and losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Walker, meanwhile, missed the postseason for the sixth time in his eight-year spell at Charlotte, and though he made staying with the Hornets a priority in free agency, a deal could not be thrashed out.

He has always stated his love for the city of Charlotte and for his team-mates and the organisation, but it ultimately turned out it was time for him to move on.

However, Walker's loyalty is something that has endeared him to the Celtics squad, according to Marcus Smart.

"We talked a little bit about basketball, but mostly just getting to know each other," Smart said.

"Knowing things that we probably didn't know about one another and just laughing and joking and building that camaraderie up."

Walker echoed Smart's sentiments, but made it clear he still has a way to go before guaranteeing any titles in Boston's future.

"I'm the new guy, they already know each other, so it's just kind of really me and getting acclimated to them and how things go," Walker said.

Jayson Tatum believes he played a big role in the Boston Celtics landing Kemba Walker.

Walker agreed to leave the Charlotte Hornets and sign a four-year, $141million max contract with the Celtics this offseason.

Tatum said he spoke with Walker about the team while they were both in Paris for a Jordan Brand event.

"I'm very excited," Tatum said, via ESPN. "I think I had a big part with him coming here ... I never told him to come, but I told him I would love for him to join the team and told him how it was. Obviously, everybody has to do what's best for themselves, and I'm happy for him."

The Celtics entered last season as the favourites to win the East but finished with a 49-33 record and were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the conference semi-finals.

They lost Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), Al Horford (Philadelphia 76ers) and Marcus Morris (New York Knicks) in free agency but added center Enes Kanter, as well as Walker.

Gordon Hayward is also expected to take a step forward after he struggled last season following a devastating leg injury in 2017-18.

"I just told [Walker] about Boston, the city, the atmosphere, our fans, the culture, the coaching staff," Tatum said. "I answered all the questions he had. I'm excited, and just ready for the season to start and everybody to be around each other and build some chemistry and just get it going."

Walker averaged a career-high 25.6 points, along with 5.9 assists, in 82 games for the Hornets last season. He shot 43.4 per cent from the field and 35.6 per cent from three-point range.

"I'm a winner. I've always been a winner," Walker wrote in a piece for the Players' Tribune last month. "It's who I am – or at least who I strive to be – anytime I step foot on the court. And when I think about my future with this team, and how I'm now going to be playing for the Celtics. I mean, that's why I feel like it's a match made in heaven.

"I want to win here, badly – and I'm excited to prove myself as that type of player in this league. I want to elevate myself into that Boston winning tradition. I want to get this team back on top."

Tatum had a standout rookie season but was inconsistent in 2018-19.

NBA All-Star Saturday Night is fun but it is also something we can learn quite a bit from.

This weekend has been interesting. Young talent was showcased and surprising innovations were made. But there is room for more change.

Here is what we learned from the NBA's All-Star action in Charlotte on Saturday.

 

Tatum is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers

So the Skills competition always seems to come down to the final three-pointer to close out the round and several times on the night players who got to the shot first wound up losing because they could not hit that first attempt.

But as the night went on, people were more and more creative. First, it was Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young thinking smart as he hit a three-pointer with a runner to beat De'Aaron Fox.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was studying everything going on though and he was not going to get beat by the three-pointer in the finals. Against Young, he took a runner — from half-court — to edge out Young for the win.

This challenge is changing before our very eyes.

 

Nets players keep showcasing well

The NBA All-Star weekend is starting to feel like a showcase for the Brooklyn Nets.

First, last season Spencer Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge. Then this year Joe Harris out-duelled three-point specialist Stephen Curry to win the contest. And on Friday, Rodions Kurucs scored 10 points while adding five assists, four rebounds and two threes in the Rising Stars Challenge.

And on Sunday, D'Angelo Russell will make his first career All-Star appearance. Talent is starting to show for the Nets which is probably a pretty good reason why they are in line for a playoff spot with a 30-29 record at the break. The Nets are almost defiantly on the up and up even though few take notice.

 

It's time to change something with the Dunk Contest

There were memorable moments in this year's dunk contest. Oklahoma City Thunder's Hamidou Diallo jumped over Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

Rapper J. Cole nearly threw one down himself after Dennis Smith Jr. threw one down over him.

But overall, once again, the Dunk Contest was a bit of a snoozer. We have seen everything these guys have done before and one of the few 50's on the night came on the fifth attempt in the second round by Smith. 

The anticipation of the dunks is almost the most exciting part of the night now. Something has to change. Whether it be a different format or simply opening up the contest more (would you not like to see Zion Williamson in the contest this year even though he is still in college?) or even allowing the use of professional dunkers to compete against NBA players, something has to change.

We have seen it all at this point, and to be honest, a lot of people are bored with it. Unless you can give us Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon again. Absolutely nothing about that was boring.

NBA All-Star Saturday Night is fun but it is also something we can learn quite a bit from.

This weekend has been interesting. Young talent was showcased and surprising innovations were made. But there is room for more change.

Here is what we learned from the NBA's All-Star action in Charlotte on Saturday.

 

Tatum is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers

So the Skills competition always seems to come down to the final three-pointer to close out the round and several times on the night players who got to the shot first wound up losing because they could not hit that first attempt.

But as the night went on, people were more and more creative. First, it was Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young thinking smart as he hit a three-pointer with a runner to beat De'Aaron Fox.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was studying everything going on though and he was not going to get beat by the three-pointer in the finals. Against Young, he took a runner — from half-court — to edge out Young for the win.

This challenge is changing before our very eyes.

 

Nets players keep showcasing well

The NBA All-Star weekend is starting to feel like a showcase for the Brooklyn Nets.

First, last season Spencer Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge. Then this year Joe Harris out-duelled three-point specialist Stephen Curry to win the contest. And on Friday, Rodions Kurucs scored 10 points while adding five assists, four rebounds and two threes in the Rising Stars Challenge.

And on Sunday, D'Angelo Russell will make his first career All-Star appearance. Talent is starting to show for the Nets which is probably a pretty good reason why they are in line for a playoff spot with a 30-29 record at the break. The Nets are almost defiantly on the up and up even though few take notice.

 

It's time to change something with the Dunk Contest

There were memorable moments in this year's dunk contest. Oklahoma City Thunder's Hamidou Diallo jumped over Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

Rapper J. Cole nearly threw one down himself after Dennis Smith Jr. threw one down over him.

But overall, once again, the Dunk Contest was a bit of a snoozer. We have seen everything these guys have done before and one of the few 50's on the night came on the fifth attempt in the second round by Smith. 

The anticipation of the dunks is almost the most exciting part of the night now. Something has to change. Whether it be a different format or simply opening up the contest more (would you not like to see Zion Williamson in the contest this year even though he is still in college?) or even allowing the use of professional dunkers to compete against NBA players, something has to change.

We have seen it all at this point, and to be honest, a lot of people are bored with it. Unless you can give us Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon again. Absolutely nothing about that was boring.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum won the NBA Skills Challenge after nailing a half-court shot on All-Star weekend.

Tatum converted the stunning long-range attempt to beat Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young in Charlotte on Saturday.

With Young ahead of him and preparing to make a shot from beyond the arc, Tatum did not break stride as he nailed the sensational three-pointer.

"I'm just here trying to have fun. I threw it up and it went in," Tatum told TNT afterwards.

Tatum – who has been linked with a move away from the Celtics amid the team's reported interest in wantaway New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis – overcame Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley in the first round.

The 20-year-old forward then trumped Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets before pipping Young in the final.

The NBA released the field of participants for the 2019 All-Star weekend three-point contest, dunk contest and skills challenge.

Stephen Curry will face off against his brother, Seth, in their hometown Charlotte, North Carolina to headline the three-point contest. But they will have to take down the defending champion, Devin Booker.

Dennis Smith Jr.'s explosive hops will be returning to the dunk contest as he hopes to claim the title this time. The field of newcomers should make for an exciting performance.

The skills challenge features De'Aaron Fox, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Trae Young and a host of others.

The trio of events will begin on February 16 at North Carolina's Spectrum Center.

 

Three-point contest

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Seth Curry, Portland Trail Blazers
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Danny Green, Toronto Raptors
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Dunk contest

Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks

Skills challenge

Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics​
De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers​
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum knows his name has been brought up in a potential trade for New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, but he is trying not to focus on the rumours.

Davis will not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded, agent Rich Paul told ESPN. The Celtics have been rumoured to be interested in acquiring the center.

The Celtics have a lot of draft picks and assets and some believe if Boston were to include Tatum in an offer, it would be really difficult for any team to match it.

"It's good to be wanted, I guess you could say that," Tatum told reporters on Wednesday, via The Athletic. "But as I said I'm not a free agent, I don't have any control. So I control what I can control, go out there and play."

Tatum is coming off a year in which he was named to the All-Rookie team and helped bring the Celtics to the brink of the NBA Finals in a seven-game thriller of a series with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

He was the number three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and a valuable asset a lot of teams would love to have. The Pelicans may ask for Tatum in a deal – though that would have to happen in the offseason, because both Davis and Kyrie Irving signed under 'The Rose Rule' after their rookie contracts.

Tatum, 20, is averaging 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in his second season and remains one of the bright young stars in the game.

H is doing all he can, though, to keep it about basketball right now.

"My job is to control what I can control," Tatum said, via MassLive.com. "I've got to go out there and focus on today and just play the game and see what happens."

Jayson Tatum understands just how good Anthony Davis is.

The Boston Celtics are reportedly one of numerous teams interested in acquiring New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

Tatum himself admitted trading him for Davis would be a smart move.

"Yeah, I'd trade me too for Anthony Davis," Tatum told Celtics radio colour commentator Cedric Maxwell and host Adam Kaufman during a CLNS Celtics Beat podcast, via NBC Sports Boston.

Maxwell said before he would trade Tatum for Davis in a heartbeat. Tatum's father took exception to that assessment, but did not exactly disagree.

According to Maxwell, Tatum's father said he would also make the deal, if Jayson was not his son.

The Celtics have a lot of talented players like Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown, but 20-year-old Tatum seems to be the most enticing bargaining chip at the moment.

Boston have struggled to create a proper hierarchy with their personnel at times, but are riding a three-game winning streak and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics will play the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

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