In spite of it all, Indiana may have home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Which is huge — at home in recent weeks they have beaten the Miami Heat and now Oklahoma City Thunder, but they are a 20-20 team on the road. If they still have dreams of the NBA Finals they needed a Game 7 vs. Miami at home. Now they get that with a win Wednesday vs. Orlando (or a Miami loss in its final two games).
Indiana has that chance because of a hard-fought 102-97 win over the Thunder Sunday.
Most important, they looked better on offense and more like their old selves. Like the version of themselves that was a title contender.
David West was overpowering inside and had 21 points on 11 shots. Paul George had 20 points and hit a key three over Kevin Durant late (plus he hit one when the game was tied). Lance Stephenson had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was knocking down shots and mugging for the camera. C.J. Watson — who had missed considerable time during the Pacers’ slump due to hamstring and elbow issues — was back adding scoring punch off the bench and putting up 20 points. As a team the Pacers shot 52.8 percent.
That shooting let the Pacers get away with turning the ball over of 24.2 percent of their possessions. That kind of sloppy play will get them in trouble most days.
The Pacers defense also was in good form and held one of the best offenses in the NBA to 42.9 percent shooting and 4.2 points per 100 below their season average.
The first half of the game was at a tempo the Thunder should have liked, but they never really got it going.
One key reason they missed their threes — 7-of-28 as a team. Kevin Durant was 2-of-11 from deep, Russell Westbrook 3-of-10. Durant finished with 37 points, Westbrook had 21 points on 23 shots.
One win will not change the Pacers slump around, but it has to start somewhere. This win — and home court through the Eastern Conference — is a good start.
CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.
The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.
The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.
Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.
More AP NBA: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
The WNBA has been no stranger to demonstrations of social conscience in recent years. On Sunday, things were no different.
Before the Game 1 of the 2017 WNBA Finals, both the LA Sparks and Minnesota Lynx participated in their own pregame demonstrations.
The Sparks, similar to many NFL teams on on Sunday, stayed inside the locker room during the national anthem. The Lynx decided to take the court, but linked arms in their own show of solidarity.
This came in response to Trump’s recent comments about Colin Kaepernick. The former “Trump Steaks” founder called anybody who “disrespects our flag” a “son of a bitch”.
That prompted many NFL team mates to join together in their own demonstrations, either kneeling for the national anthem or staying inside their locker rooms.
Trump also decided to disinvite the Golden State Warriors after star Stephen Curry said that he would vote know heading into a team meeting to discuss whether they should visit the White House as the reigning NBA champions.
That prompted response from several players around the NBA and in Golden State, as well asWarriors coach Steve Kerr, who asked for Trump to remember that he represents the entire nation and not just his constituency.
Meanwhile, Game 1 of the Finals was pretty incredible with the Sparks winning thanks to a Chelsea Gray jumper with two seconds left to make it 85-84. LA leads Minnesota in the series 1-0.
Well it finally happened.
According to Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade and have reach an agreement on a buyout.
This has been coming for some time, as it does not make sense to have Wade in the fold for a young Bulls team moving forward. Both sides seem to have been at a stalemate for some time as Wade’s salary is $23.8 million for the upcoming season.
Wade will now be free to move to another team, and many people think that he will be headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers to join his pal LeBron James.
The Cavaliers are over the cap, so the only deal Wade would be able to sign at the moment would be for the veteran minimum.
The full banana boat crew of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron, and Wade were not been able to get on a single team this offseason, so Cleveland does seem to be the most likely option.
What Wade can bring to the Cavaliers is another question. Cleveland has relied heavily on Richard Jefferson over the past two years, so it’s not out of the ordinary for them to use a veteran often. Wade has certainly declined in recent seasons but his per-100 possession statistics show he could still be useful for a championship-level team needing a bench ball handler and scorer.
Whether he would accept that role is another thing altogether, and if role is important to Wade moving forward he could end up in a different place than with James in Cleveland.
San Antonio is another interesting place for him to land, although so to is back home in Miami. We still have yet to see where Wade will sign, but this is just yet another item to declare this NBA offseason the greatest of all-time.
Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but save for a refusal from the Cleveland Cavaliers he could have been playing with LeBron James this season.
According to Cleveland.com, the New York Knicks apparently tried to complete a trade with the Cavaliers before settling with the Thunder.
The centerpiece of the potential trade with Cleveland would have been power forward Tristan Thompson, a favorite of LeBron. The Cavaliers apparently decided against making that trade, which is how we wound up with Anthony heading to play with Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
The Knicks wanted Thompson, 26, a center who like James is represented by Rich Paul. The Cavs told them no. Thompson is under contract for three more seasons, beginning at $16.4 million this year. Cleveland was willing to do a deal that would’ve cleared some contracts off the books, such as sending Iman Shumpert ($11 million this year) and others.
New York also asked about one of Cleveland’s two first-round choices for 2018, and the Cavs weren’t about to part with either.
The Cavs view the Brooklyn pick they own for 2018 as invaluable for multiple reasons. Trading the Knicks their own first-round pick would prevent them from being able to move the Brooklyn pick later this season.
Obviously an important backstory here is how much LeBron likes Thompson, and that they share the same agent. Thompson remains a somewhat underrated part of the Cavaliers overall success during the regular season.
Thompson played much of the year at center for the Cavaliers last year, apparently making it his permanent position. Cleveland’s roster without Thompson but with both Kevin Love and Carmelo would have been an odd mix, forcing Love to likely be the person to play the 5.
It makes sense that the Knicks would want to Thompson, and it also makes sense that the Cavaliers refused.