Indiana Pacers' George shoots over Miami Heat's Allen during their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami

Once again Paul George, Danny Granger say they can play well together


Soon we will move past the tedious summer “talk a good game” phase of the NBA season and into the “actually prove it on the court” phase. That will be a welcome moment, because all we have now are people answering questions we have about teams with their words.

For example, can Paul George and Danny Granger really co-exist with the Pacers?

Granger was out with an injured knee last season and George stepped up into the leadership vacuum (earning himself a max  contract extension in the process). That means this season eventually (it will not happen Day 1) they will be able to play well together — and the Pacers become much more dangerous — or they will not meld and the Pacers will have to try and move Granger to recapture their swagger from last playoffs.

George, Granger and even team president Larry Bird spewed the company line “of course they can” in an interview with the Indy Star.

“I think it’s a great combo,” Bird said. “Paul not only can play the (shooting guard) or (small forward) positions, he can guard anybody. I think that takes a big load off of Danny….”

“The only thing we have in common is a similar build at 6-8 and 6-9,” said Granger, who likely will become a free agent next summer. “He’s more of a facilitator. I’ve always been more of a scorer, shooter. He’s a slasher. He can shoot it. He has more of an all-around game.”

Responded George: “You can’t help off Danny. Otherwise, it’s a (3-pointer). In that aspect, it helps me out. He opens the floor for me. It should be the same way for Danny. I should give him some space to operate.”

Should. That’s the operative word.

How will that actually work out? As again around the last week of October and we will see how it unfolds — but realize it will unfold. There is no answer two games into the season. It will take 20 to start to get a clear picture, and it all could evolve more after that. Indiana seems in no rush nor should they be, they have time to see how this shakes out.

Either way the Pacers are a deeper, better team than they were last season — most of their core players (George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill) are of an age where they should improve every season and even if Granger doesn’t work out they can trade him for parts they do need. The Pacers are well situated no matter if Bird, George and Granger are right or not.

Watch Jonathan Simmons’ chasedown block on Stephen Curry


Jonathan Simmons did his best LeBron James impression on opening night.

While the Spurs were running the Warriors out of Oracle Arena — a 129-100 Spurs win — Simmons had a fantastic chasedown block on Stephen Curry. It was one of the plays of the game (most of the rest came from Kawhi Leonard).

Simmons had 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting off the bench for the Spurs in the win, which included a poster dunk on JaVale McGee late. Just to put some icing on the win.

Iman Shumpert in concussion protocol after collision with Porzingis

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Late in the third quarter of Cleveland’s blowout opening night win over New York, the Cavalier’s Iman Shumpert lowered his head and tried to drive the lane, where he collided with Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. It looked like Shumpert’s head hit Porzingis’ hip and elbow.

Shumpert instantly went to the ground, then needed help to come off the court. He was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, the team announced. Apparently, Porzingis is a rock.

That puts Shumpert in the league’s concussion protocol, and he’s going to miss time, notes Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

A source questioned whether Shumpert would be available for either of the Cavs’ next two games, Friday in Toronto and Saturday against Orlando at The Q. To play, Shumpert would need to be symptom free, pass a series of tests, and show no symptoms after each test.

There is no set timeline with a concussion. In the short term, this will mean more DeAndre Liggins on the court until Shumpert returns.

The Cavs are already without rookie backup point guard Kay Felder, who suffered a concussion during practice last Friday when he ran into Chris Andersen.

What championship hangover? Cavaliers rout Knicks on ring night in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers finishes off a fast break with a dunk in the third quarter as Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks watches on October 25, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland defeated New York 117-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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There’s a good reason LeBron James has been to six straight NBA Finals. It’s not all about his incredible physical gifts. It’s not about the quality of his teammates.

It’s about will.

On a night when a lot of teams play like their hungover — the night they get their championship rings and a banner is raised to the rafters — LeBron played harder than anyone and pulled his team along.

LeBron had a triple-double — 19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds — and led the Cavaliers to an easy win over the Knicks, 117-86. Kyrie Irving had 29 points — 19 in the third — and Kevin Love added 23 in the win.

But mostly it was the Cavaliers’ offense getting whatever shot it wanted and the Knicks watching dunks from up close.

Over the course of this season, these Knicks will evolve into something better than they showed opening night. No Derrick Rose (trial) and no Joakim Noah (injury) meant the Knicks starting five didn’t have a lot of cohesion and chemistry from the start.

After a sluggish first five minutes by both teams — they were a combined 6-of-22 shooting to open the game — the Cavaliers slowly started to create a little space behind 10 first quarter points from Love. That lead really started to grow as the Knicks bench came in and went 0-of-6 shooting to end the quarter, with Brandon Jennings making questionable decisions. Tack on seven Knick turnovers and the first and they were down 10 after 12 minutes.

The Cavs were in control through much of the second quarter until the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again. It was Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony driving the team — they shot a combined 12-of-20 in the first half, the rest of the Knicks were 5-of-23. It was 48-45 Cavaliers at the break.

In the third quarter the Cavaliers starters cranked it up behind Kyrie Irving and tighter defense — the third quarter saw Kyrie Irving with 19 points and the entire Knicks team with 19. It was 82-64 Cavs after three and the celebration was on.

Kristaps Porzingis showed some moments but his 16 points came on 5-of-13 shooting. Anthony had 19 points on 18 shots. Rose had 17 points but four turnovers and one assist. Brandon Jennings came off the bench to shoot 1-of-7. It was not their best night.

For the Cavs, it was one to remember — the first banner in 52 years went up.

Did we mention LeBron James was dunking all over Knicks? Watch for yourself.


LeBron James isn’t the only story out of the NBA season opener — Kyrie Irving had 29 points, Kevin Love had 23, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose were shotmaking.

But mostly, LeBron James was dunking. And racking up a triple-double (19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds). But mostly just dunking. Like you see above. Or there is this alley-oop.

Or, there was this putback throwdown.

And we can throw in a block on Courtney Lee just for fun.