Paul George hit a big time shot at the end of regulation to get the Pacers to overtime, but once we got to the end of the extra session, LeBron James took his turn at the last-second heroics.
With the Heat trailing by one and 2.2 seconds remaining, James receives the inbounds pass and immediately bolts to the basket. It was poor judgment on the part of George to not make sure to stay in front of James there, and LeBron had a wide open lane to his left for an uncontested layup as time expired.
The obvious question afterward was to wonder why in the world Roy Hibbert was on the bench for that possession, especially after James had made a similar play with 10.8 seconds left and with Hibbert similarly sidelined by his coach’s decision.
Had Hibbert been there to protect the rim, it may have forced James to pass the ball to an open shooter (likely Chris Bosh) once Hibbert came over to help. And as solid of a shooter as Bosh is from the outside, his percentage is far lower than the 100 percent James shoots at the rim on an uncontested shot.
Frank Vogel will certainly have his reasons, but for now, he’ll shoulder the bulk of the blame for this one as the Heat took Game 1 from a Pacers team that had every chance to steal it.
Report: With Joffrey Lauvergne trade, Mitch McGary likely done with Thunder
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Source: NBA veteran Jason Thompson, split last season with Warriors and Raptors, finalized a deal in China with Shandong.
After five years in Washington, French forward Kevin Seraphin signed a one-year deal in New York last offseason. He played 48 games for the Knicks, averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11 minutes per game and wasn’t a big part of their rotation. Now, as a free agent, he’s looking for a new NBA home, and Yann Ohnona of L’Equipe reports that he’s worked out for the Indiana Pacers and has interest from the Spanish club FC Barcelona.
Kévin Seraphin, toujours courtisé par Barcelone, est aux Etats-Unis pour un essai avec les Pacers d'Indiana #NBA