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What remains for
28-08-2018 09:15 AM
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What remains for
chenyan94
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Goran Dragic is going back to his native Slovenia in a few weeks for the summer. There’s a couple of weddings the Miami Heat guard needs to attend Eduardo Escobar Minnesota Twins Jersey , a trip scheduled with his wife to Paris for a fashion show and probably even some pickup basketball to remind his friends that he’s an NBA All-Star and they aren’t.

And there will be some celebrating.

Winning the European title last summer is still a huge deal to Slovenians, which means Dragic’s homecoming will be a huge deal as well. He was recently voted as the most influential Slovenian, a poll conducted by media in that country who picked people from the sports world to the top six spots. No. 7 was U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, and No. 8 was Slovenian President Borut Pahor.

Leading that list shows what Dragic’s countrymen think of him, especially after he led the nation to probably its proudest sports moment.

”As soon I go out with my family, walk around the town, probably that’s going to be the time I’m going to start realizing how much that was a big deal,” Dragic said. ”We’ll see.”

”We’ll see” is a mantra of sorts for Dragic’s summer.

Even though Heat President Pat Riley said no one on the roster is untouchable if the right deal comes along, Dragic has made clear that he wants to stay in Miami – and let his bosses know as much. He raves about his house, the one with the newly upgraded landscaping because he intends to be there for a long time. He likes the makeup of the locker room, and has too many favorite restaurants in Miami to count.

Plus, he’s very much a fan favorite.

Out for dinner this week, Dragic was approached by about a dozen people seeking autographs or selfies – plus one who wanted him to have a video chat with a child home studying. Dragic never complained, routinely getting up from his soup, salad Michael Dickson Color Rush Jersey , broiled snapper and cappuccino nightcap to accommodate every request.

”This is where I want to be,” Dragic said. ”Everything here, it’s the way I want it.”

He’s not going to touch a basketball for a little bit, in desperate need of some time off. Eurobasket – the tournament where Slovenia beat Serbia for the gold medal – went into mid-September, and Dragic didn’t get to Miami until the day before training camp. He basically hasn’t had a break from playing for a full year, and paid the price for that this season with the Heat.

Dragic was an All-Star for the first time, but dealt with nagging injuries, and soreness in his right knee limited him considerably in Miami’s five-game playoff loss to Philadelphia.

”I felt it the whole season,” Dragic said. ”Mentally I was OK but physically I had minor injuries. You know those injuries, if you keep playing they never go away. But it was nothing serious that I could not play. You’re always battling against your thoughts, against your head. But if you’re asking me if I would do it again … yeah.”

Thing is, he won’t be doing it again.

Slovenian officials came to Miami this season begging Dragic to reconsider his decision to retire from the national team, and he declined. The only thing that will lure Dragic back into the international game is if Slovenia makes the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which won’t be easy especially if he isn’t going to partake in qualifying.

He’s also been asked to consider running for political office, which is an absolute non-starter for Dragic. But summers in Slovenia are still very important http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/aut...aks-jersey , both for relaxation and to remind his kids of their heritage.

”My country, they give me everything,” Dragic said. ”I was in school there. They make me (the) person I am now. I have friends, family, we always as a family we’re really tight. I always cherish my ancestors, my grandpa, great-grandpa, what they did for us, especially my dad who moved from Bosnia. He started a new life in Slovenia so basically I grew up there.”

He plans on returning to the U.S. around mid-August, a month or so before training camps open for the 2018-19 season.

And he’s desperately hoping he’ll remain in Miami.

”I think we have all the pieces here,” Dragic said. ”I think I’ll be better. I think we’ll be better. I want to see how good we can be.”




HOUSTON — So much of what the Houston Rockets have become under coach Mike D’Antoni focuses on the volume of 3-pointers taken and the influence their perimeter proficiency has offensively.

And even with a preponderance of evidence undergirding their dramatic improvement defensively, the Rockets’ reputation remains cleaved to 3s and offensive efficiency, so much so that following the defensive clinic they orchestrated in Game 4 on Sunday in Salt Lake City, some Rockets were first greeted with queries on how many 3s they missed in their 100-87 win.

While at some point the narrative will change, the Rockets aren’t at all misguided. They stand one victory shy of clinching their Western Conference semifinal series with the Utah Jazz Authentic Geron Christian Jersey , and if they defend in Game 5 on Tuesday night at Toyota Center like they did in Games 3 and 4, the Rockets will likely advance to the Western Conference finals for the second time in four years.

“That’s how we’re going to win — period. Defense is going to win championships,” Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said. “At this point, everybody who is still in the playoffs is a great team. Everybody can score, everybody can do everything. So it’s going to be the team that prevails on defense, (the team that) gets stops that’s going to win.”

After allowing the Jazz to shoot 50.9 percent overall and 40.7 percent on 3-pointers while picking up a split of the first two games of the series, Houston limited Utah to 40.1 percent shooting in Games 3 and 4, including 31 percent from behind the arc.

The Jazz built momentum in Game 2 behind strong showings from rookie guard Donovan Mitchell and veterans Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, with Mitchell posting a double-double and Ingles and Crowder torched the Rockets from the perimeter.

Their collective success withered in Utah.

Mitchell and Ingles shot 30 percent and 34.8 percent at Vivint Smart Home Arena, respectively, with both missing 10 of 14 3-pointers. Crowder finished 8 of 13 on 3s at Toyota Center but was just 2 of 10 at home from deep and missed 15 of 17 shots overall.

The Rockets, with their switching defense and individual defenders, harassed the Jazz on the perimeter knowing full well that center Clint Capela would protect the rim if dribble penetration was surrendered.

Capela has enjoyed a dynamic postseason, averaging 15.4 points, 13 rebounds Falcons Logan Paulsen Jersey , and an NBA-high 2.6 blocks. He had six blocks in Game 4 and was everything Houston could hope for.

“He’s put himself in this position to go out here and play at a high level and just do things that we ask for him to do,” Rockets guard James Harden said of Capela. “Every single night he has our back, and it feels good to have somebody have our back like he does.

“He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it, he doesn’t ask for a lot, he just goes out there and does his job every single night. As a result, six blocks and 20 altered shots. That’s what he does.”

What remains for Utah is an uphill battle against a defense ranked second in efficiency this postseason. The Jazz flirted with the possible return of guard Ricky Rubio from a left hamstring injury only to lose guard Dante Exum to the same malady. Forward Derrick Favors (ankle) was slowed by injury in Game 4 yet played, leaving Utah facing elimination with a hobbled roster.

Perhaps being forced to dig deep into the bench led to Utah missing 22 shots at the rim in Game 4, or maybe it was the influence of the Houston defense. Whatever the case, the Jazz need hasty improvements.

“You can’t take anything away from them and the way that they play,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But in order to beat them you have to be able to convert those opportunities, and we just didn’t.”

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