New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons

London Calling: Knicks have no trouble with Pistons


This is what the Knicks needed — a little vacation, a little rest, a chance to catch their breath and get a little healthy in the middle of the season.

Oh, and throw in an easy win.

The Knicks went to London technically as the road team but they made themselves at home against the Pistons and cruised to a 102-87 win over the Pistons in the O2 Arena in London.

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler remain undefeated in London — they helped lead Team USA to gold in the Summer Olympics there.

New York just seemed more comfortable on the big stage at the start. After giving up a couple free throws at the start of the game the Knicks rattled off 16 straight points and were up 16-2 before half of London found it’s seat. Anthony was off to fast start with 18 first half points, Stoudemire had 12, and J.R. Smith added 10.

The Knicks shot 50 percent for the first half, the Pistons shot 42.9 percent. The only Piston looking really good in the first half was Andre Drummond with nine points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Maybe the best part of this game for the Knicks was the return of Iman Shumpert, who at the start of the third quarter nailed a three, then had a steal that became a fast-break dunk, and that seemed to cement the Knicks win.

Detroit made a run at one point in the second half against the Knicks bench, but you just had a feeling when the starters got back this game would be done. And then Knicks did get some good bench play from Amare Stoudemire, who had 17 points.

Will Bynum had a good game for the Pistons, 22 points off the bench for him. Kyle Singler added 15.

It wasn’t a perfect game for New York — 16 turnovers, 44 points allowed in the paint — but they looked a little fresher, a little healthier and they took care of business against a lesser opponent. They are now 25-13 on the season and have a few more days off. That’s a good mid-season vacation.

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.