Paul George, LeBron James

Heat, Pacers both look for someone to knock down jumpers in Game 3

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Buckets.

You can break down the offensive sets in great detail and point to flaws. You can pull out all the advanced statistical analysis you want. All of those things are there to be in service to getting buckets — and sometimes that comes down to the Jeff Van Gundyism that it’s a make-or-miss league.

In Game 2, there were a lot of misses.

Part of that is the Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Heat one of the most aggressive in terms of traps and jumping passing lanes. That has an effect.

But both teams just missed some good looks in Game 2. Uncontested jumpers where just missed.

Both Miami and Indiana are in search of more buckets in a key Game 3 in Miami, with the series tied 1-1.

For Miami, that scoring can come from a couple logical places.

First, Chris Bosh needs to make some three pointers and space the floor better, maybe pull Roy Hibbert out of the paint some. Right now the Pacers have ignored Bosh out by the arc and he is 1-of-9 from three in this series (and according to Sports VU cameras, six of his eight missed threes are uncontested). Bosh has hit some jumpers from the top of the key and elbow areas (3-of-5 through two games) but by and large the Pacers are helping off him and not paying a price. He is 8-of-21 shooting for the series. Miami needs that to change.

The other thing Miami needs seems obvious but they haven’t consistently stuck with it this series — put the ball in LeBron James’ hands. As our own Dan Feldman pointed out at ESPN, through the first two games LeBron touched the ball once every 44 seconds, which sounds like a lot, but in the regular season he got a touch every 30 seconds he was on the court. When the ball is in LeBron’s hands good things tend to happen, Miami needs him to make those plays in more than just the last five minutes of he Game.

For the Pacers that has to start with Paul George and David West knocking down good looks. And Lance Stephenson continuing to (he has struggled in Miami). George started the last game 1-of-11 shooting before he got a concussion (from which he has been cleared to play), and finished 4-of-16. He was just 2-of-6 in the paint but the bigger problem was 0-of-5 from the midrange. George has to knock down his jumpers because those will be the cleanest looks he gets.

David West’s ability to knock down midrange shots and elbow jumpers is a big part of his offensive game, but he was just 2-of-8 form there.

What the Pacers have to keep doing is hitting threes — they are shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc for the series, making the Heat pay for their aggressive doubles and leaps into passing lanes. Miami had been all to often doubling from one pass away and the Pacers have made Miami pay on those.

Whichever teams gets its buckets is going to be up 2-1 by the end of Saturday night.

Watch DeMarcus Cousins swat James Harden in his first game with the Pelicans

DeMarcus Cousins answers questions from the media as the New Orleans Pelicans announce that they've acquired him along with forward Omri Casspi during a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 in Metairie, La.  Cousins maintained  that he liked Sacramento and initially wasn't happy about being traded Sunday night, but added he'd become frustrated with the lack of another elite talent on the Kings' roster.  (Ted Jackson /NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)
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DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and the New Orleans Pelicans will take some time to mesh together. In his first game with New Orleans, Cousins saw a difficult opponent and massive deficits against the Houston Rockets. But there was some glimmers of hope.

Cousins, for example, had a productive statistical evening. The former Sacramento King put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks — just one swat shy of the rare 5 x 5.

Plus, he had this sweet block on Rockets star James Harden:

The Pelicans lost to the Rockets, 129-99, but it’s going to be fun to watch New Orleans battle it out for the 8th seed in the West.

Kristaps Porzingis injures ankle, leaves Cavaliers game in walking boot

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New York Knicks star big man Kristaps Porzingis left Thursday night’s contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a sprained right ankle. He could be seen limping back to the locker room late in the second quarter, and reports after the game saw Porzingis in a walking boot.

That’s a major bummer for Knicks fans.

Porzingis, 21, dealt with a left Achilles issue earlier in the season and no doubt would like to remain on the court for the Knicks full-time to close the season.

Then again, it’s important to keep in mind that walking boots can be precautionary, especially as a team plays away from home. New York heads back home tonight and will play Philadelphia on Saturday, so there should be plenty of time for the Knicks to get their full medical staff working on assessing and treating Porzingis.

It’s not as though the Knicks were primed for a late-season run at just 23-35, but there will be less for New York fans to watch for with their best player off the floor.

After trading for DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans release Terrence Jones

AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 01: Terrence Jones #9 of the New Orleans Pelicans gets off a shot next to Aron Baynes #12 of the Detroit Pistons during the first period at the Palace of Auburn Hills on February 1, 2017 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Terrence Jones is no longer a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The University of Kentucky product was removed from the team roster on Thursday after head coach Alvin Gentry said there just wasn’t enough minutes to go around after the team traded for DeMarcus Cousins.

The Pelicans roster now houses a frontcourt with most of the minutes going to Cousins, Anthony Davis, Donatas Motiejunas, Dante Cunningham, and Solomon Hill.

Gentry, via Nola.com:

“We released him because, obviously, if you look at the bigs situation we have now and there was not going to be a whole lot of minutes,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. “He wants to play. Obviously, he’s going to be a guy in a contract year and things like that, so we thought it was best to let him go.”

Jones, 25, was playing nearly 25 minutes per-game for New Orleans. While he was having a productive year, he wasn’t close to the kind of efficient numbers he put up early in his career with the Houston Rockets.

That said, Jones could be a potential candidate to bolster the frontline of a playoff team, so look for some action around him sooner rather than later.

Charles Barkley swears on live TV, says Spike Lee is “dying to get kicked out of the Garden”

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Charles Barkley has a tendency to say some pretty wild stuff, but he’s typically guarded as a TV professional when it comes to swearing. Apparently the heat of the moment got the better of him on Thursday night as he was talking during the matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.

Speaking about New York, Barkley accidentally let fly with a not-for-primetime word on live television as he discussed Spike Lee and the overall mood around the team.

Via Twitter (NSFW obviously):

In case you can’t hear that, Barkley said (in part):

“I was talking to Spike Lee at All-Star Weekend, he’s dying to get kicked out of the Garden. He don’t wanna watch this s–t.”

The TNT crew then razzed on him for committing the cardinal sin of live TV.