Jazz still never, never on a Sunday


A week from Sunday, the NBA playoffs will commence, with a big doubleheader of first-round games. Because Sunday is the showcase time, the prime time. (Want to bet that the Lakers and Cavaliers are involved even though other series will be more interesting?)

But you won’t see the Jazz on Sunday. Not according to team owner Greg Miller, who answers a fan-question mailbag on the Jazz site (via the Salt Lake Tribune).

“It is a business decision to not play home games on Sunday. We believe it would be very difficult to draw 19,911 fans to EnergySolutions Arena for a regular-season Sunday game, based on past experiences we have had with Sunday home games during the NBA playoffs.

“About the only way it would work was if the opponent were the Lakers, LeBron [James], or the Celtics.

“The Salt Lake Bees play between 10 to 12 Sunday home games each season, and our experience there has shown that Sunday attendance is about 50 percent less than other days of the week. Sundays are also slow for our Megaplex Theatres.”

The reason is the deep connection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the area, commonly called the Mormons.

Personally, I couldn’t care less when the Jazz play as long as they don’t wear those green throwback uniforms.The Jazz have played some Sunday road games in recent years. Jazz star Deron Williams has been public in his support of Sunday games, because it helps spread out the days between games to give the team more rest.

But in the NBA, when it comes to rest for the players versus money, who wins? Exactly. And every time.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.