Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks

Kobe Bryant game-time decision Monday night

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Kobe Bryant played through a sprained ankle aggravated during the Lakers thumping of the Dallas Mavericks Saturday, but now that the ankle has had a couple days to really swell up and get sore, he is a game-time decision for Monday night’s big game against the Orlando Magic. So said Phil Jackson, and we trust him. Kind of.

This is Kobe, so if they can hold his ankle together with some duct tape and spit he’ll hobble out there and play. Whether that is good for the team or not.

Kobe told reporters that he thought it was a lot worse, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“I thought I was done, like done,” Bryant said after the Dallas game. “I was just praying that when I stood up my foot was lined up straight. … That scared the s— out of me. I thought I dislocated it.

“We were all pretty scared … to be honest with you because it looked horrible and it felt worse.”

Note to the Magic: These Lakers are not the Phoenix Suns.

Sunday Orlando thumped a Steve Nash-less Suns team, now they could get the Lakers without Kobe. But don’t mistake the rest of the Lakers roster for the rest of the Suns roster. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will prove a bigger challenge for Dwight Howard, and the Lakers have guys like Gasol and Lamar Odom that can still light up the scoreboard.

That said, the Magic are having the injury breaks fall their way.

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.