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.

Five undrafted players to keep your eye on

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At any given point, about 15 to 20 percent of the players in the NBA were not drafted. Some guys just fly under the radar, take longer to develop, and just mature later and find how they can fit into a team.

This year is no exception, some guys who didn’t get their name called are going to stick in the NBA.

Here are five guys to watch in Summer League and beyond:

• Malik Newman, 6’4” guard (Kansas). In a league where teams are always looking for scoring he is a player who can just get buckets — he’s got great range as a shooter and can slash to the rim as well. He’s not a true playmaking point guard and he’s undersized for the two in the NBA. That size issue leads to concerns on the defensive end. Still, seems worth a second round gamble.

Kenrich Williams, 6’7” power forward (TCU). The 2017 NIT MVP likes to play physically, and is solid at shooting, rebounding, and defending — he can do everything well but does not have one elite, standout skill. That limits his ceiling, but as a high IQ player he has the potential to develop into a solid role player. He will play in the NBA Summer League with Denver.

Rawle Alkins, 6’5” shooting guard (Arizona). Tough, high-motor player who defends well and has the potential to be a good scorer (he’s already a good finisher in transition and can knock down threes). He needs to develop his skills to go with his power and athleticism, he has to work on his passing, and he has to play in control and not turn the ball over. Good potential for a rotation wing player. The Toronto Raptors are giving him a shot at Summer League and maybe into training camp.

• Brandon McCoy, 6’11” center (UNLV). He was heavily recruited out of high school and he did average 16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds a game for Las Vegas last season. He’s not a great shot blocker for his height, and there are concerns about his feel for the game, but he still produced last season. Usually big men with that kind of frame and potential at least get a look from NBA teams.

• Trevon Bluiett, 6’6″ guard (Xavier). The guy can shoot the rock, and that should get him more of a look than he did so far. He averaged 19.5 points per game and shot 41.7 percent from three last season. He’s a senior, there’s a question about his defense and who he guards at the next level. He’s not an elite athlete. But he can shoot and that should get him some attention.

LeAngelo Ball. 6’5” guard (Vytautas Prienai-Birstonas in Lithuania). Just kidding. He’s not an NBA player, no teams thought so. The Lakers aren’t even going to bring him on their Summer League team (and not wanting to deal with LaVar is part of that).

Report: Danny Green opting in with Spurs for $10 million

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Danny Green loooves the Spurs.

He re-signed with San Antonio for a discount in 2015. Lately, he has been trying to defuse tension at every turn of the Kawhi Leonard saga.

That’s not working.

But Green can handle his own business with the Spurs.

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

League sources tell the Express-News Green will likely forgo free agency and exercise the final year of his contract with the Spurs

By exercising his player option, Green will earn $10 million next season. It was hard to see him leaving San Antonio regardless, but that’s probably more than he’d earn on the open market.

Green brings a lot of value as a 3-and-D shooting guard. But the league is stuffed with bad contracts against a barely rising salary cap, leaving little money for 2018 free agents.

At least Green already secured a healthy salary in a place he likes.

PBT Podcast: NBA Draft breakdown with winners, losers, sleepers

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The Phoenix Suns didn’t screw up the No. 1 pick landing DeAndre Ayton, but they also made an interesting — maybe safe — move getting Mikal Bridges in a trade to give them a promising young core.

The Atlanta Hawks got their man in Trae Young, but the Dallas Mavericks did better getting theirs in Luka Doncic with the trade between those two teams.

The Sacramento Kings got their man in Marvin Bagley. Michael Porter Jr. and Robert Williams fell down the draft.

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down all of it in this latest podcast: Who were the winners and losers, who were the sleepers, and what it means heading into free agency this summer.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Rumor: Tension between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

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Chris Paul sacrificed $10,083,055 last season by opting in to facilitate a trade to the Rockets rather than opting out and signing somewhere for a max salary.

He expects to be made whole. And by most accounts, Houston understands the arrangement.

But here’s a rumor otherwise.

Undisputed:

Chris Broussard:

From what I’m told, there is tension now between Houston and Chris Paul. Because there was definitely some type of handshake, wink wink, “we’re going to max you out” last summer. But here’s the thing: Now, they’re not so sure. Houston, with good reason, doesn’t want to do that. But they’ve got an out, because they have new ownership. So, Daryl Morey can go to Chris Paul and be like, “I want to do it, but we’ve got the new owner doesn’t want to give you five years, four years.”

Former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander committed to big expenditures. New owner Tillman Ferttita has talked about his spending limits – for good reason. He sunk so much of his personal wealth into buying the team. He might not be able to afford outrageous luxury-tax bills.

Starters Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza will also become free agents this summer. Houston definitely wants to keep Capela. A large contract for Paul would be prohibitive.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. Already 33, he almost certainly won’t produce enough on the court to justify that amount. Players that age just decline and face greater injury risk.

But the downside of not paying him that much could be losing him. Even playing hardball could offend him given the circumstances that brought him to Houston. The Rockets are contending. A bad contract a few years down the road would be worth it if they win a title, and Paul is instrumental to that push.

This could be a delicate situation, and Morey can probe at least a little if he chooses. Would Paul be understanding of the ownership change? What options will Paul have better than a large, but sub-max, contract from the Rockets? Would Paul take a discount if Houston got his friend LeBron James?

But push too hard, and would Paul bolt to play with LeBron on the Lakers?

There has been too much insistence that Paul re-signing with the Rockets was assured to completely trust Broussard’s report. But it’d also be a mistake to completely ignore the possibility talks have broken down.