Paul George to return to Pacers lineup Sunday


Paul George has missed the entire season for the Indiana Pacers, after suffering a horrific leg fracture during a USA Basketball exhibition in Las Vegas last summer.

As the Pacers continue their fight for the East’s final playoff spot, it appears as though they’ll get George back in time to help that effort during their final six games of the regular season.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Eight months after breaking his leg in a USA Basketball scrimmage, Paul George will return to the Indiana Pacers lineup on Sunday, he says.

Predictably, George can’t wait to get back into action.

Before the injury, George was viewed as one of the league’s best emerging players. Through just four NBA seasons, he’s a two-time All-Star who’s already held his own in some epic playoff battles against LeBron James.

The Pacers are a game-and-a-half behind the Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, and also trail the Celtics by a game, as well. They’ll host Miami on Sunday, which is huge for their chances. But the end of the regular season schedule is tough, with contests against playoff teams in the Thunder, Wizards and Grizzlies on tap after two easier ones against the Knicks and the Pistons.

George averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 36.2 minutes per game last season.

Pau Gasol finishes put-back and-1 slam to seal Bulls’ win over Pistons (VIDEO)


The Bulls were in danger of losing a second consecutive contest to a sub-.500 team on Friday, before some perfect execution from Pau Gasol sealed a victory over the pesky Pistons.

Chicago led by just one with under 18 seconds to play, and the shot clock would expire with eight seconds or so remaining — meaning, the Pistons would get one last shot.

But Gasol made sure it wouldn’t matter.

He comes up to set a quick screen before rolling to the basket, and the Pistons trapped Jimmy Butler, making it impossible for him to find the open big man at the rim.

Gasol stayed active on the play, however, and put a body on rebounding monster Andre Drummond to ensure he had position.

This critical and fundamentally perfect play from Gasol had him all alone in front of the rim, so that when Taj Gibson’s jumper misfired, all that was left for Gasol to do was to leap up, absorb the contact from Drummond, and slam the ball home.

Pistons’ Reggie Jackson sinks crazy underhanded 20-foot shot (VIDEO)


Reggie Jackson got himself into a bit of trouble late in the first half against the Bulls, isolated against Joakim Noah with the shot clock winding down more than 20 feet from the basket.

So, he improvised.

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Jackson stepped around Noah and launched an underhanded scoop shot to beat the buzzer — and somehow, it splashed home.

Derek Fisher not pleased with Wizards’ late-game dunk to give fans food discount: ‘Pizza doesn’t taste that great’


Knicks head coach Derek Fisher has been viewed as being emotionless by the local media for the bulk of the season, and Phil Jackson himself has said he’d like Fisher to be more emotional, and even challenge the officials to the point where he gets thrown out of games.

Forgetting the fact that Fisher leads all coaches with 11 technical fouls on the season, that perception has become reality in the New York market.

After Friday night’s loss to the Wizards, Fisher finally found something to pretend to be upset about.

From Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

Fisher just called timeout with 1.3 seconds left and the Knicks down 14. Coaching

Wizards dunk with 1.3 secs left gave them 100 points and fans discount on pizza. Fisher wasn’t happy, says “pizza doesn’t taste that great.”

But Fisher said the timeout was to make sure he reminded the players finish the game…. Truthfully, Wizards should have run out the clock

I’m not sure that they should have.

Yes, there’s sportsmanship and all of that to consider — the game was over, so, theoretically, it’s not a good look for the team that’s about to win to score a meaningless basket.

But if the game is truly all about the fans, then there’s little harm in the home team doing something that gives them some type of reward for coming out to lend their support, no matter how small it ultimately may be.

Fisher’s feisty reaction to it all may please some who’ve been closely observing his first year as head coach. But there’s always an option if you don’t want the other team to score — you could, you know, instruct your players to try and stop them until the final buzzer sounds.

Jordan Clarkson becomes first Lakers player to win Rookie of the Month


The Lakers have been one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, but have fallen on hard times over the past few seasons.

When you’re winning championships at an historic rate and competing for them on a seemingly annual basis, not only will your draft position not allow for high quality rookies to enter the fold, but even if they were to somehow find their way onto the roster, there would be very few minutes available for them to play behind the veteran talent that has traditionally led L.A. on a consistent title chase.

Jordan Clarkson has been perhaps the lone bright spot during this current dismal Lakers campaign, a rookie who was drafted in the middle of the second round by the Washington Wizards and was acquired by the Lakers for nothing more than cash considerations. He was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for March, which marked the first time any Lakers player has ever come away with that honor.

From the official release:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson has been named Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in March, it was announced today, becoming the first ever Laker to be honored with the award (first presented in 1981-82).

In 16 games in March, Clarkson averaged a team-leading 15.8 points on 45.2% shooting, in addition to 5.2 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. The 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft (acquired from Washington) also scored the winning points in overtime in the final second of two games with a layup March 30 at Philadelphia, and the clinching free throws in a tied game March 25 at Minnesota.

In the March 30 contest, Clarkson joined Stephen Curry, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook as the only players in the NBA this season to record a game of at least 26 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, and three steals. On the road in Oklahoma City March 24, Clarkson set career-highs with 30 points and three blocks, becoming the first Laker rookie since Eddie Jones (2/4/95) to score 30 points in a game.

Since being named a starter 31 games ago, the 22-year-old is averaging a team-leading 15.0 points per game to go with 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.87 steals.

The Lakers have Clarkson under contract for next season, on a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him less than $900K. While the team is going to do its best to load up with star talent in free agency, expect Clarkson to be back, as he’s one of the few young and talented players L.A. has in place on the roster.