San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns

Players tentative, think labor talks finally getting serious

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NBA players are thinking a lot like us. That talks during first few months of the NBA lockout were more theater than negotiations.

That now things are changing.

Suns swingman Jared Dudley is in Las Vegas right now getting in shape for the eventual season and he and other NBA players will be competing in the Impact Training Series games that are open to the public starting next week (more on that later today). NBA players are landing in Vegas for the series (there are upwards of 45 confirmed now) and Dudley said the mood is cautious but hopeful.

“I think guys are still kind of tentative, but they are like ‘hey, we’re going in the right direction,’” Dudley told ProBasketballTalk. “Nobody is happy, people just say ‘now it’s started.’ Before it was all like fake smoke, now we know it’s getting started.

“There’s going to be ups and down, some meetings will be good, but it kind of seems the NBA and the union have come together and said ‘hey, it’s crunch time, let’s get it going.’”

Both sides have said there is still time to salvage training camps and a full season. That seems a long shot — they are serious but there is some serious ground to make up — but at least things seem to be getting serious. Everyone can apparently feel it.

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.