BEAVERTON, Ore. -- We nearly had an international incident Saturday night.
"I didn't start it," said Jordan Hamilton.
And that's true, by the way.
But everything happened so fast it was hard for anybody watching courtside to make out what exactly happened. That said, the result was that something led to a Serbian player charging Hamilton and taking a swing before Roscoe Smith, Hamilton's teammate, grabbed the ball, hurled it at him like a minor league pitcher from Peoria and nearly set off a full-fledged brawl during the second semifinal of the Nike Global Challenge.
It was bananas, I tell you. And it got crazier when, after a questionable call a few minutes later, the Serbian coach pulled his team off the court to protest and threatened to walk, forcing Nike's Raphael Chillious to step in.
"He said he was pulling his team," Chillious explained. "I said 'OK, but you'll lose.'"
Faced with this simple reality, the Serbian coach decided to send his team back onto the court after a seven-minute delay, proving the idea of losing is terrible in any language. "Diplomacy," Chillious said with a smile. And even the public address announcer chimed in when the third quarter finally ended.
"At the end of a spirited third quarter," he said, "USA 59, Serbia 56."
(Interesting side note: This is the Nike Global Challenge and practically everybody within a 30-mile radius is decorated in swooshes, which is why it's hilarious to see the Serbian team wearing Adidas gear. I know this might not sound like much. But try to imagine a kid showing up at a New York Yankees Camp wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey, and then imagine him nearly starting a fight. The scenarios are similar. It's good stuff.)
Anyway, the United States team -- minus Hamilton, who was ejected -- went on to win behind stellar performances from Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley. That set-up Sunday's championship game between them and another United States team (featuring Tommy Mason-Griffin, Harrison Barnes and Mason Plumlee) that is scheduled to tip at 11 p.m. ET.
With any luck, both coaches will keep their teams on the court the entire time.
If not, Chillious should be available to broker peace.