Minnesota Timberwolves v Boston Celtics

Doc Rivers: Michael Beasley could lead the league in scoring

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Michael Beasley has got the ball in his hands in Minnesota, creating his own shots and being the go-to guy. And thriving in that role.

With one shot to tie the Boston Celtics Monday and send the game into overtime, the Timberwolves called Beasley’s number. Everyone in the building knew that’s what was going to happen, despite that he got a pretty good look but it just didn’t fall.

Doc Rivers came away impressed (Beasley had 19 points in 23 minutes, time limited due to foul trouble against Boston), as he told the Star Tribune.

“Offensively, I’ve been a big believer in him,” Rivers said before his Celtics beat the Timberwolves 96-93 on Monday night. “I just think he can score. I said it two years ago: I think one day he may lead the league in scoring. He just knows how to score the ball. He has a Carmelo ability to score the ball.”

“He’s a matchup problem every night,” Rivers said. “He’s tough for 3s [small forwards] to guard because of his size. He’s too quick for 4s [power forwards]. And he can shoot. Obviously that’s the key. He has quickness and a shot at that size. That makes him tough to guard.”

It’s Beasley’s jump shot that has really elevated his efficiency this year — he is hitting 43.9 percent from three, up from 27.5 percent last season (via Hoopdata). He also is shooting 44 percent on long twos (16 feet and longer) up from 39 percent last season. He has a shot you have to respect from anywhere on the floor right now.

He’ll have to become a lot more efficient to really lead the league in scoring (Dirk Nowitzki is hitting 53 percent on long two pointers, and Beasley is not as dangerous closer in as Kevin Durant). But you can start to see what was buried in Miami, the reason this guy was taken No. 2 overall.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.