Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five

Paul George and Roy Hibbert score Pacers’ first 29 points in loss to Heat

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Chris Andersen’s shoulder/stare down/shove of Tyler Hansbrough early in the second quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals distracted from another interesting development that followed. Once the dust settled, Hansbrough made one of two free throws granted due to Andersen’s flagrant 1.

Those were the Pacers’ first points scored by someone other than Paul George or Roy Hibbert.

George and Hibbert scored Indiana’s first 29 points in its 90-79 loss to Miami, and though they slowed as the game progressed, both turned in overall impressive performances that will unfortunately be forgotten in the wake of LeBron James’ dominance. George finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Hibbert had 22 points and six rebounds.

George and Hibbert have now scored scored at least 22 points three times each against the Heat in the playoffs. That gives them more postseason 22-point games again Miami’s typically sterling defense than everyone else combined (Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Carlos Boozer, Nate Robinson and David West each have one.)

And Indiana doesn’t seem shy about continuing to feed its only All-Stars in the last four years.

They share the ball well, but in an effort to paint them as a foil to the superstar-driven Heat, the Pacers have been inappropriately hailed as a beacon of offensive balance. George and Hibbert accounted for 49 of the Pacers’ 79 points in Game 3 – 62 percent – a share of total points Miami’s top scorers haven’t hit since LeBron James scored 39 and Wade scored 27 of the Heat’s 99 points during a January win over the Lakers.

While Indiana was building a 29-25 lead on points from only George and Hibbert, George shot 6-for-8 and Hibbert shot 6-for-9. George Hill assisted three baskets, and George assisted another, but for a team that assisted 58 percent of its field goals during the regular season, four assists on 12 makes isn’t many. George and Hibbert were really creating a lot of their offense on their own.

Of course, some of it was fluky. George made 3-of-4 3-pointers in that span, and Hibbert made jumpers from 16, 10 and 12 feet. Indiana can’t count on that in the long run.

But Miami hasn’t shown sustained success in guarding either. Udonis Haslem got his chance on Hibbert, and he didn’t fare any better than Chris Bosh and Andersen before him. Nobody has shown the devotion to expending the energy necessary to defend George for long stretches.

Still, the Heat started double-teaming Hibbert and then double-teaming him effectively. They also made George put the ball on the floor more, and that can make him turnover prone.

The Pacers should feed George and Hibbert gain in Game 6 and make the Heat prove they can defend them. Miami showed glimpses of defending those two better, but George and Hibbert are still capable of producing at levels no other Heat opponent has shown this postseason.

Kevin Garnett used Beyonce, singing as part of his NBA conditioning regimen

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Future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett was known during his playing days for his exceptional conditioning. The athletic power forward was in a full sweat by tip-off, and constantly talking on both offense and defense.

So how did he do it?

According to JJ Redick, Garnett used to sing while running as a method of normalizing talking during a game. The practice was apparently modeled after Beyonce’s ability to dance and sing at the same time.

Via Time.com:

“One time I saw her working out, and she was doing her dances and she was singing while she was doing her dancing,” Garnett said to Redick. “So then I’m thinking to myself, maybe I should run and sing at the same time. So in the offseason, I would go to Malibu and I would go down to the beach, and when I run on the beach I would be like ‘Lalala lalala lalala,’ while I’m running. So then, when I get on the court and I’m getting back on defense and I’m talking on defense, I don’t get tired.”

That’s ingenious, and the kind of clever tactics you’d expect to come from a HOFer like Garnett.

Emotional Rip Hamilton back at Palace as Pistons retire No. 32

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) By the time Richard Hamilton’s tenure with the Detroit Pistons was over, the franchise was far removed from its days among the NBA’s elite. His final season with the team was a tumultuous one, and his exit seemed like the best move for everyone involved.

Once he was away, however, Hamilton realized what he’d left behind.

“I didn’t leave here on good terms,” Hamilton said before Detroit’s game Sunday night against Boston. “Every day I was in that locker room with that Bulls uniform on, it’s like, `This ain’t me. I’m a Piston.”‘

Hamilton was back at The Palace on Sunday, when the Pistons retired his No. 32 jersey at halftime of the game against the Celtics. It was an emotional honor for Hamilton and the Detroit fans, not just because of his contributions to the team over the years, but because it reflected a healing of sorts between him and the organization.

Hamilton last played with the Pistons in an acrimonious 2010-11 season. He had a falling out with coach John Kuester and was benched for most of a seven-week stretch, and Detroit eventually agreed with Hamilton on a buyout before the following season.

He ended up with Chicago, but the memories he left behind in Detroit were proud ones. Hamilton teamed up with Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace as the core of Detroit’s 2004 team that won the NBA title.

Those four former teammates were on hand for Sunday’s celebration, and so was Larry Brown, their coach on that championship team.

“I already cried three times, so I’m trying not to cry again today,” Hamilton said at a pregame media session.

Hamilton indeed was wiping away tears on the court at halftime after the ceremony began, especially when Billups stood to speak.

“You made me better every day,” Billups said. “Not only did you make me better, you made our team better.”

Hamilton spoke at length to the crowd – in fact, after thanking so many people close to him, he appeared a bit rushed at the end, with the game needing to resume.

“Detroit, the fans, I love you,” he said moments before his number went to the rafters. “Thanks a lot.”

Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

Father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball says son will only play for Lakers, then backtracks

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball (2) signals after making a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Freshman sensation Lonzo Ball is slated to be a Top 5 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The UCLA guard can shoot the lights out, and he’s on the big board of just about every team expecting a lottery selection this year.

However, Ball’s father LaVar recently made a statement that the UCLA sensation would only play for one team: The Los Angeles Lakers.

Via Twitter:

As worrying as that kind of statement is, just a day later LaVar Ball tried to clarify his intentions for his son to ESPN. Instead of a requirement, it was meant more as an open intention of desire.

Here’s what LaVar had to say to ESPN:

“All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I’m going to speak it into existence,” LaVar told ESPN on Saturday night. “I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers. I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team. But I’d like him to play for the Lakers because it’s home and I’d love him to learn from Magic (Johnson) He’s the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson.”

Interesting stuff from a guy who said his son was better than 2-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

It appears that LaVar is doing a bit of ham-fisted positioning for the upcoming draft through the media. That’s not to say there’s an expectation it’s going to work, but it certainly could push the needle for some NBA teams to explore Ball’s intentions further.

Mavericks sign Ben Bentil to fill spot following roster shuffle

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 19:  Ben Bentil #0 of the Providence Friars passes in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 19, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The North Carolina Tar Heels won 85-66.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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DALLAS (AP) The Dallas Mavericks have signed rookie forward Ben Bentil to a 10-day contract to fill one of the two spots from a roster shake-up that came at the trading deadline.

The addition of Bentil on Sunday puts the Ghana native in position to make his NBA debut. The former Providence player was drafted in the second round by Boston but was waived during the preseason.

Bentil has played in the NBA Development League and in China since the Celtics let him go. He played 13 games in two stints with Fort Wayne in the D-League, interrupted by an 11-game stint with Xinjiang in China.

The Mavericks had two roster spots after sending Andrew Bogut and Justin Anderson to Philadelphia in a deal for Nerlens Noel and waiving guard Deron Williams.