London Calling: Knicks have no trouble with Pistons

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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.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.