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Steve Kyler: League sources peg Portland and San Antonio as the newest serious players in the Paul George race. Spurs said to have a real shot at him.
if you could bring in any free agent this summer, who you want? 👀 Damian Lillard: Paul George / few others
But it’s really no surprise that Lillard thought George must be a free agent now. The Pacers forward has been in the news so often, particularly linked to the Lakers, that it seems like a move must be imminent. More interesting is the fact that he’d be the top priority for Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers may already regret last year’s signing of Evan Turner, but they also have Maurice Harkless at small forward and Allen Crabbe splitting his time at the two wing positions. Alas, they also don’t have anywhere near the salary cap space to handle signing a star, George or otherwise.
CJ opened up a bit about his desire to play with George during a conversation with Taylor Rooks this week in New York: “Paul George is the homie. He’s with Nike. I’ve had some discussions with him about the season, and what it’s like to go from… He was behind Danny Granger for a while. [Granger] gets hurt, and then he comes up and becomes a star and kinda takes over. “So just talking to him about his mindset. He would look good in red and black that’s all.
“He gives you that star power. You’re in the Western Conference. Obviously there’s a lot of very good teams. A lot of teams that are deep. A lot of teams that have three, four horsemen. Some teams have five. And you have to be able to match them blow for blow. “It takes a lot more than one good player, two good players, three good players. You need to have a collective unit. Obviously, Paul George would help any team in the NBA.”
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April 25, 2018 | 5:46 pm EDT Update
April 25, 2018 | 5:31 pm EDT Update
New Orleans is trying to prepare for both possible versions of the Warriors, including the one they beat at Oracle Arena on April 7. Curry was sidelined for that game, but Kevin Durant poured in 41 points, going 16/26 from the field. The Pelicans won 126-120 partly because their offense received 25 points or more from Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic, a trio that has played at an elite level throughout an active nine-game winning streak. “A lot of it is personnel, knowing tendencies,” Holiday said of getting ready to face Golden State. “If Steph comes back, you have to be a lot more aggressive on him (in terms of preventing deep three-point shots). If not, with Andre (Iguodala) you have to be aggressive as well, just not in the same way (against a forward who does more attacking and slashing to the basket). The schemes will stay pretty much the same.
Now the Wolves trail Houston 3-1 in a best-of-seven, first-round playoff series with Game 5 set for tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Toyota Center. “Totally different environment, situation,” Wolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler said after the team’s shootaround today. “We just have to go out and play basketball. Down 3-1, whatever you want to call it, our back against the walls, still if we do what we’re supposed to do – contest their shots, rebound and we score as well, we can win this game.”
Never will they need to heed that more than tonight, when they’re faced with the daunting prospect of beating a 65-victory Rockets team three times consecutively to advance to the second round. Only 11 teams in NBA teams have done that, most recently by Cleveland in the 2016 NBA Finals against Golden State. “That’s why you try to build that habit all year,” Thibodeau said. “Not to get ahead of yourself, not to get behind, but to concentrate exactly on what’s in front of you. You can’t allow other people to tell you what you think. It’s what you think and what you believe. That’s how you get through these type of things. You go play-by-play, quarter-by-quarter. Once you realize that, it makes things do-able.
Game 6 of the Celtics-Bucks series is the lone matchup on the Thursday night NBA schedule. “Game 6, I’ve got to come out and be more aggressive,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s on me. I had open shots, but they weren’t my shots so I didn’t feel comfortable taking them. … I’ve got to be more aggressive, make more plays because definitely, my teammates need me.”