Gregg Popovich locked up the head coaching spot for the Western Conference All-Stars a few days ago, by ensuring that his Spurs will have the best record in the conference after the Feb. 3 deadline has passed.
In the East, however, it’s going to come down to the final day.
After the Knicks put a beating on the embarrassment that is the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, New York found itself with a record of 30-15, just percentage points back of Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Heat sit at 29-14, and play in Toronto on Sunday against the Raptors. If Miami wins, Erik Spoelstra will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars. If they lose, Mike Woodson will have to cancel his vacation.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Woodson said he won’t watch the game and admitted he already has plane reservations for a warm-weather city for the weekend. But he said he would be happy to divert to Houston.
“If Miami happens to slip up and lose [today], we go to Houston to coach the All-Star team,’’ Woodson said. “That will be a great achievement for me. It will be an honor.’’
Woodson would certainly be fine with a midseason vacation, but make no mistake — he’d much rather spend that weekend in Houston.
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.
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.