Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat - Game Two

Brandon Jennings still says ‘Bucks in six’ in advance of Game 3 against the Heat


Before the first round playoff series between the eighth-seeded Bucks and the defending champion Heat got started, Brandon Jennings went on record as saying that his team would win the series in six games.

Now that we’re two games in, after Miami won Game 1 by 23 points and Game 2 by 12, Jennings (as seen in the video clip above) doesn’t see any reason to back down from those comments.

“I still said six,” Jennings told Craig Sager after Game 2. “So we’ll see what happens. Might take a little longer.”

In fairness to Jennings, what’s he supposed to say? That his team has no chance and is going to lay down to get willingly steamrolled for four straight games?

Milwaukee actually showed a lot of positive signs in Game 2, and those are the things they’ll need to build upon when the series shifts to Milwaukee Thursday night for Game 3.

The Bucks were within just three points after three quarters, before a 12-0 run from Miami to open the fourth put the game away. Milwaukee can’t afford those types of lapses, though the energy from Miami’s second unit, especially from Chris Andersen in this series, might be too difficult for the Bucks to match.

Regardless of how you view Jennings’ comments, he deserves credit for doing everything he can to back up his bold prediction. He leads the Bucks in scoring over the first two games of the series, although most of that damage was done during a stellar 18-point first half in Game 1; in Game 2, when Miami’s defense was focused on taking the ball out of the hands of both Jennings and Monta Ellis, he finished 3-15 from the field for just eight points.

Milwaukee got strong games offensively from Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders in Game 2, as well as from Mike Dunleavy off the bench in a game where Jennings and Ellis both finished in single digits scoring. Milwaukee needs to get its two leading scorers more involved in Game 3, continue to get production inside from its bigs, and avoid being on the wrong end of one of those monster Miami runs to have a chance at extending the series beyond four games.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
Leave a comment

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.