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Popovich sees Australia as Cup threat

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Team USA coach Gregg Popovich sees Australia as a title threat at the upcoming World Cup in China.

He'll soon find out how much of a threat when the teams meet Thursday in the first of two exhibition games in Melbourne. A record Australian basketball crowd of 50,000 is forecast for the match at Marvel Stadium. The second game is set for Saturday.

"Huge, huge threat," Popovich said of the Boomers. "They are one of the teams that can win the whole thing, without a doubt. I'm not saying that because I'm here. It's just a fact."

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USA World Cup camp a bonus for Celtics

Red, white and blue. The colors of USA Basketball.

Except this summer, green - Celtics green, to be precise - would work on that palette as well.

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Ex-Cavs coach Blatt diagnosed with MS

PIRAEUS, Greece (AP) Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

In a statement posted Monday on the website of Greek club Olympiakos, Blatt said he was diagnosed with condition, which attacks the central nervous system, "a few months ago" and has experienced fatigue, weakness in his legs and balance problems.

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Hawks promote GM Schlenk to president

ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Hawks have given general manager Travis Schlenk an extra title: president of basketball operations.

Owner Tony Ressler announced the promotion on Monday, saying he is "extremely pleased with the direction that Travis and our entire basketball operations team has us heading as a franchise."

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Warriors' Curry helps revive Howard golf

WASHINGTON (AP) What started as an innocuous conversation during a public event has evolved into a golf partnership between NBA star Stephen Curry and Howard University.

The two-time NBA MVP announced Monday that he is helping Howard re-establish a golf program. Curry is providing a donation that will allow one of the country's most prominent historically black universities to launch Division I women's and men's teams for the 2020-21 academic year.

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Bird wants tattoos removed from mural

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Larry Bird likes the mural but not the tatts.

A lawyer for the former NBA star has asked an artist to remove certain tattoos from a large painting of Bird on an Indianapolis multi-family residence. The tattoos include two rabbits mating on his right arm and a spider web on a shoulder.

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Fox withdraws from USA national team

LOS ANGELES (AP) De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings surprisingly withdrew from USA Basketball's national team Saturday, meaning the Americans now have 13 candidates for the 12-man World Cup roster.

Fox told USA Basketball of his choice a few hours before the team was to fly to Australia for final preparations for this month's tournament in China. Fox was in the team's plans for the Australia trip, and it was believed he would have been a strong candidate for the World Cup squad.

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Tsai buys rest of Nets from Prokhorov

NEW YORK (AP) In a record sale for a U.S. sports franchise, the co-founder of Alibaba agreed to buy the remaining 51 percent of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center for about $3.4 billion, two people with knowledge of the details said Friday.

Joe Tsai already had purchased 49 percent of the team from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in 2018, with the option to become controlling owner in 2021.

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USA beats Spain in World Cup exhibition

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) This was a week of wake-up calls for USA Basketball, some provided by unheralded G League players in practice and now more offered up by the Spanish national team.

The Americans learned from both.

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Lakers C Cousins tears ACL in left knee

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins is facing rehab from another major injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers have endured their first big problem of a season with championship expectations.

Cousins was diagnosed Thursday with a torn ACL in his left knee, an injury that could sideline the six-time All-Star big man for much - if not all - of this coming season. Cousins' agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management, said a timeline for surgery is being discussed.

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