George Hill — Indiana’s starting point guard who has given them 14 points a game these playoffs and is another long defender in their scheme — is out for the Pacers Thursday night in Game 5 against the Knicks due to a concussion, the team announced (via Mike Wells of the Indy Star).
Hill took an incidental elbow to the head from Tyson Chandler in the first quarter Game 4, but it didn’t seem that bad at the time and no foul was called. Hill played 30 minutes after that incident and hit 9-of-14 shots as the Pacers won went up 3-1 in the series.
D.J. Augustin will get the start for Indiana. Look for a little Lance Stevenson at the point as well, we’ll see if Born Ready is up for it.
This is a blow to the Pacers. Hill is a long defender that was giving Raymond Felton and the other Knicks guards issues — he helped keep them out of the lane and with that the Pacers defense was a wall. Augustin isn’t the same defender and if Felton is getting into the paint the Knicks are going to start getting better looks.
Then we’ll see if they can knock them down. But this is a potentially big development and a break for the Knicks.
As for Hill’s return, the league has a concussion policy in place and that means to be cleared to play he has to pass a series of tests after increasing physical exertion. The Pacers team doctor has to consult with a league neurologist before the player can be cleared.
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.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.