Kurt Helin

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Pacers top former coach Frank Vogel, Magic 88-69

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — C.J. Miles made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points, and the Pacers spoiled Frank Vogel’s return to Indiana with an 88-69 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

Vogel coached the Pacers for more than five seasons before he was let go in May. He was quickly scooped up by Orlando, and it looks as if he has plenty of work to do with the Magic.

The crowd cheered when Vogel was introduced before the game. He led the Pacers to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals appearances and compiled a 250-181 record during his tenure in Indiana.

Paul George had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Pacers, who pulled away in the second half. Monta Ellis also scored 13 points, and Jeff Teague finished with 11.

Orlando shot 32 percent from the field. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting, and Aaron Gordon had 11.

Indiana led by as many as 21 points during the fourth quarter.

TIP-INS

Magic: Orlando has lost 12 of its last 14 meetings with the Pacers, dating to the 2012-13 season.

Pacers: After scoring in double digits in each of the last four games, Al Jefferson was shut out.

 

Watch Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit ridiculous circus shot

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Give the Thunder an “H.”

Late in the fourth the Pistons — playing without Andre Drummond for the night — were trying to hold off the suddenly-struggling Thunder, and sometime’s being lucky is just as important as being good. And make no mistake, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was lucky on this circus shot, but it falls.

The Pistons won 104-88, Caldwell-Pope had 17 points (on 17 shots), and Tobias Harris led the way for Detroit with 22. Good win for a Pistons team without their stars on a night Russell Westbrook still dropped 33.

Watch Russell Westbrook’s fierce high-flying dunk

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The Thunder have some problems — their defense has come apart and cost them four-straight games, including a loss at Detroit on Monday night.

Russell Westbrook, however, is not a problem — he had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. That included the just vicious dunk you see above.

Westbrook also picked up a technical on the kind of leg-kick you don’t see every day.

Watch James Harden drop 23 on Sixers — in first quarter

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This would be a good game line for anyone: 8-of-8 shooting including nailing both threes, 5-of-5 from the free throw line, adding up to 23 points, with four rebounds and three assists.

That was James Harden‘s first quarter against the Rockets Monday night.

The red-hot Harden just torched the Sixers struggling defense. The problem for Philly in the first quarter (and half, for that matter) wasn’t the jumpers, it was all the points in the paint Houston got. It was like a conga line to the rim, and Houston scored at will. The Rockets had a comfortable 13 point lead at the half.

LeBron’s business partner fires back at Phil Jackson after comment

lebron james
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Not that LeBron James was headed to New York anyway….

In his wide-ranging interview with Jackie MacMullan at ESPN that covered the triangle, Knicks roster, the Lakers, and much more, the conversation turned to LeBron’s exit from Miami. Jackson said this, defending his man Riley.

When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now (coach Erik) Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, ‘What do I do in this situation?’ And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, ‘You are on the plane, you are with this team.’ You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.

I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.

LeBron’s long-time friend and business partner Maverick Carter took offense.

LeBron grew up in Akron very tight with “the four horsemen, ” and he’s gone on to have business dealings with some of them. But to think of them as just a posse, a group of hangers-on, is a mistake. Carter is a defacto manager who set up LeBron’s reportedly $1 billion Nike deal, among other very successful business ventures. Rich Paul, his friend and now agent, went off and studied how to be an agent working at other firms before coming back and lining up LeBron (among other clients) and it was he that orchestrated the move back to Cleveland. We could go on, but you get the idea.

Did those guys have an opportunity because of their friendship with LeBron? Sure. But having an opportunity and taking advantage of that in a way that is best for both a friend and a business partner is something else entirely. The NBA is full of leeches. LeBron’s people are not that, and they should take offense at that idea.