NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 2, halftime: Lakers 65, Suns 56

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Gasol_dunk2.jpgIn Game 2 the Suns offense looks to the eye a little more fluid — the pick and roll is working better (but not great), they got some pretty baskets in transition, they are hitting 50 percent of their threes. They scored a respectable 56 first half points.

But they still cannot stop the Lakers offense — that was the story of the first half just as it was the story of Game 1. At the half of Game 2, the Lakers are ahead 65-56 and have been in control of this the entire way.

In a lot of ways this felt like a repeat of Game 1: The semi-quiet crowd, the Lakers getting a lead then holding it in the 8 to 12 range for much of the half, the Suns never really able to cut seriously into it. They tried a number of things — including a zone defense for a while — but the Lakers continue to just carve them up. The score is even close to the halftime score of Game 1 (that was 62-55 Lakers).

The Suns were 6 of 12 from three for the half, but the Lakers are 7 of 11. Suns are not even winning the battles they expected to. In the paint, the Lakers still getting what they want — 18 points on 9 of 13 shooting in the first quarter alone.

Ron Artest leads the Lakers in scoring — 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said before the game they could live with a huge Kobe Bryant night, they had to keep the supporting cast quiet. They are not. Amar’e Stoudemire leads the Suns with 11, the only Sun in double digits.

If the Suns do not figure out how to defend the Lakers fast, they will go home in a massive 2-0 hole.

Report: Mavericks will decline $25 million option for Dirk Nowitzki, sign him to new deal

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Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki had a huge $25 million team option on his contract for the upcoming 2017-18 NBA season. It now appears that the team will not exercise that option, and will instead try to re-sign their star player for an additional few years.

Given the context of the Mavericks roster, it makes sense that the team would want to allocate its resources as the NBA salary cap goes even further up the scale. Nowitzki’s salary would have remained a huge chunk of change as the Mavericks yet again try to go after free agents this summer.

While a restructuring of his contract to, say, half the amount it would have been originally would not give Dallas room for a max-level free agent, it could at least give them the capacity to go after mid-level exception type of players.

Meanwhile, it’s not clear what kind of contract the Mavericks will try to sign Nowitzki to. Reports at this point say that a two-year deal for Nowitzki Is one of the options are being considered.

The question now will be what kind of deal will Mark Cuban offer his favorite player, And how low Nowitzki Is willing to go.

Via ESPN:

Nowitzki’s advanced statistics were down from prior seasons, particularly affecting his offensive efficiency thanks to dips in both field goal percentage and free-throw rate. He also only played and 54 games last year, a real concern as the Dallas roster looks to be carried by a player going into his age 39 season.

Paul George disputes the idea that he’s already moved out of his house in Indiana

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Rumors spread on social media this week as moving trucks were found outside of Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George‘s house. But were they really his?

The user posted photos of giant moving trucks outside of a house in George’s neighborhood to Snapchat. People began speculating wildly that George, the subject of trade rumors for the last few weeks, could be on the move.

Now, the Pacers start has taken to Twitter to dispute the moving trucks as his. So whose were they?

According to George, they were there to move his neighbors.

Via Twitter:

Well I guess that settles that.

The other obvious answer is that they were George’s and NBA players simply move to new locations during the summer. Half of the NBA it seems lives in the Los Angeles area come the off-season, or at least train there, so seeing moving trucks outside of his house would not have been an anomaly if you ask me.

We are past the 2017 NBA Draft and still we have no deal for George. But the NBA off-season is long, and free agency is just around the corner. I am sure that we will see a new landing spot for George in the coming months.

Then we can send somebody on over to see if there are moving trucks at his house.

Hornets’ GM slips up, introduces Dwayne Bacon as Dwyane Wade

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It’s a slip that would have made Freud proud.

Charlotte had a good draft night. In the first round, Kentucky shooter Malik Monk fell to them at 11 and they grabbed him. In the second round, they took a smart risk with Florida State wing Dwayne Bacon.

Friday came the usual team press conference with the GM introducing his players and Charlotte GM Rich Cho made a mistake, introducing Bacon as “Dwyane Wade.”

I love Bacon’s reaction.

Cho instantly realized his mistake and laughed it off, then later said: “Actually, I think they have some similarities.” Hornets fans can only hope.

Kevin Durant trolls Westbrook, haters with cupcake hat β€” now topped with a ring

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Back when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were breaking into the NBA together and learning how to win together, one of their veteran mentors was tough guy Kendrick Perkins. When Perkins thought someone was acting soft, he called that player a “cupcake.”

When news broke on the Fourth of July last summer that Durant was leaving OKC for Golden State, the NBA world freaked out. Except for Westbrook. He just posted one Instagram photo that day β€” a tiered tray of red, white, and blue cupcakes. It was meant as a subtle jab at Durant, but when word got out (via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated) what it meant, Thunder fans embraced it and had cupcake signs and clothing made for Durant’s return to Oklahoma City.

Durant had the last laugh β€” he’s got a new hat with a cupcake on it, topped by a ring.

Well played Durant. Well played.