29 Apr 2016 at 3:19pm
Through five games, the Indiana Pacers have outscored the Toronto Raptors by 26 points in 189 minutes with Paul George on the floor. They have been outscored by 29 points in 51 minutes with George sitting. Other factors have helped determine success or failure in their first-round playoff series ? stuff like Kyle Lowry's iffy shot-making (and possibly balky elbow) and random acts of Ian Mahinmi ? but for the most part, it's been that simple: the seventh-seeded Pacers' chances of upsetting the deeper and better (if somewhat scrambled and not-quite-world-beating) No. 2 Raptors go away when George goes to the bench. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Down 3-2 after Tuesday's buzzer-beater-that-wasn't , the Pacers face elimination when the Raptors visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Friday's Game 6 . Indiana staying alive means George staying on the floor ... and to hear the All-Star swingman tell it, he's ready to go the distance. From Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star : ?It?s on everybody,? George said. ?It?s on everybody to get this win.? Much of the burden, though, will be placed again on George?s body ? a task he has carried throughout his first full season back from sustaining a compound fracture in his right leg in August 2014. George understands this. Yet what could await him Friday is a test of his will and endurance. [...] With the season?s most critical game upon the Pacers, George is not afraid to be on the court for every second of Friday?s game. ?If that?s the direction that the game is going, I?m all for it,? he said. ?Whatever we've got to do to win, I?m doing it.? If he does so, he'll be adding himself to a pretty small list of recent performers to go all the way without a break in the postseason. The most recent bell-to-bell playoff outings have came from effort avatars/irreplaceable pieces like Jimmy Butler, who played all 53 minutes of the Chicago Bulls' overtime Game 2 loss to the Washington Wizards in 2014 and had a run of no-breaks games for Tom Thibodeau in 2013 . Kevin Durant went the full 48 for the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013 and to eliminate the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 . Other iron men include pre-injury Dwight Howard back in 2011 ; championship-era Ray Allen, peak Dirk Nowitzki, and 2012 Playoff Rondo . These performances are the province of tireless superstars whose teams simply can't survive without them ... which, if you've been paying attention, you know is a pretty perfect description of the spot George occupies on this year's Pacers. If he goes the distance, George will be pushing himself past his previously established limit. George has never played all 48 minutes of a regulation game in the NBA. He has played 45 or more minutes 12 times in his pro career , with seven of those games featuring overtime, and five of the 12 games coming in the playoffs. He has not, however, done it in 23 months , after missing most of last season following his catastrophic leg injury and topping off at 42 minutes, 13 seconds ? interestingly enough, against these Raptors back in March ? in his first season back, a campaign in which he re-established himself as one of the game's greatest two-way players . You can kind of forgive Pacers coach Frank Vogel for not feeling 100 percent comfortable heaping that kind of burden on George. After the Pacers blew Game 5 ? in which they had a 13-point lead after three quarters, but watched the Raptors cut into the advantage with George on the bench to start the frame before blowing Indy's doors off in a 25-9 fourth ? Vogel said he'd chosen to go away from George at the start of the fourth because he believed his star needed a rest. "He looked pretty gassed at the end of the third," Vogel said. "We had a decent lead that I thought we could hold up. That lead stayed around 11, I think, until around the nine-minute mark, and then we were ready to get him back in." George acknowledged his fatigue after playing brilliantly for 32 1/2 of the game's first 36 minutes, but added, "It wasn't enough to keep me from being ready and prepared in the fourth." George also seemed less than thrilled by the efforts turned in by the teammates entrusted with picking up his slack while he sat ... and, considering the Pacers managed just one point on 0-for-10 shooting with three turnovers in the the six minutes and 55 seconds that he sat, according to ESPN Stats & Information , it was pretty hard to blame him. "I think our guys, individually, know that they have to bring it," he said after Game 5. "I'm not about putting guys down or putting teammates down, but individually, everybody has to bring it. [...] It's another level that [the second unit's] got to take it to." The second unit to which Vogel turned when he rested George at the start of the fourth ? Mahinmi, C.J. Miles and Solomon Hill up front, with Rodney Stuckey and Ty Lawson in the backcourt ? had played just seven minutes together during the regular season, and had been outscored by two points in 15 minutes in the series prior to Game 5. With the playmaking spark that made Lawson so special in Denver seemingly gone and Stuckey fighting whatever ghosts led him to just fall down in front of Drake , it's a five-man unit pretty much devoid of paths to points, and it had already been outscored by 12 points in the first three minutes of the second quarter. (Those were the minutes, by the way, in which DeMar DeRozan finally found some room to breathe, some space to operate, and some shots that would go in, kickstarting him to the best playoff game of his career.) And yet, rather than trying to put the hammer down and push the lead from 13 to 20, Vogel decided to trust that group to start the fourth. It didn't work out for the Pacers, but the coach remained confident he handled the situation the right way, and didn't seem super keen on the idea of the notion of George going the distance in Game 6. From Nick Friedell of ESPN.com : Pacers coach Frank Vogel was noncommittal about George playing all 48 minutes, saying only that it could happen "if necessary." [...] "Coach is getting a lot of criticism for taking me out," George said. "Both times he took me out we were in the driver's seat looking comfortable. Up 15 [to start the second quarter] and up 13 [to start the fourth] both times. We're supposed to do our job, maintain that lead, extend that lead. We didn't know the game was going to go that direction." That's the thing, though: while five games isn't a giant sample, given the dearth of playmaking talent on Indiana's bench, we kind of do know the game's going to go in that direction when George isn't on the floor, and especially when he's joined on the bench by the Pacers' other two capable initiators, George Hill and Monta Ellis. If Vogel's reluctant to lean wholly on George for the full 48, it certainly seems worth considering keeping at least one of the two on the court when George sits. If he's reluctant to shuffle up his rotation this late in the season, then he's got to have a lightning-quick hook on those bench lineups on Friday night ? we're talking "yank after one or maybe two bad possessions" quick. When you've got the worse team in a playoff series, your margin of error is small; you can't afford to let bad groups try to figure it out for three or four minutes. When you've got the best player in the series, you have to ride him; 38 minutes just isn't enough when disaster looms in the other 10. Those are the stakes facing Vogel and George entering Game 6: do everything you can to get everything you can out of the one megawatt star who can force a Game 7 and put the pressure of postseason collapses past back onto the Raptors' shoulders. Other factors will help determine success or failure on Friday, but for the most part, it's that simple: George must do everything for as long as he can, or the Pacers' season will end. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
28 Apr 2016 at 6:11pm
Shaun Livingston's left leg could have been amputated nine years ago. The knee injury he suffered while with the Clippers in 2007 was that severe. Going for a layup, Livingston's leg buckled backward, parallel to the court, when he fell in a freak accident.
27 Apr 2016 at 12:08pm
Coming up short of the Final Four was a setback Dawn Staley did not expect for her South Carolina program. ''It's obvious we had expectations of going further,'' Staley said of her team's stunning Sweet 16 loss to national runner-up Syracuse last month. Staley and the Gamecocks are not the first to cope with disappointment, but the coach is focused on making South Carolina the next to come out the other side as champions.
26 Apr 2016 at 8:15pm
Tom Thibodeau came to Minnesota for the impressive young core of talent assembled. ''For me personally, this is about alignment,'' Thibodeau said on Tuesday in a press conference that introduced him as the new Timberwolves president of basketball operations and coach. Layden comes to Minnesota after four years as an assistant general manager in San Antonio.
26 Apr 2016 at 6:37pm
As Steve Kerr tried to cope with the headaches, nausea, pain and other concerning symptoms, there were times he wondered whether he would even come back to coach the Golden State Warriors this season, whether he even should return to the bench if not 100 percent healthy. Complications from two back surgeries had sidelined him for the defending champions' record start, then Kerr found his way into the huddle again on Jan. 22 after a nearly four-month leave of absence. ''There were moments I didn't know if I would get back at all this season,'' Kerr said as Golden State prepared for Wednesday's playoff Game 5 against Houston.
26 Apr 2016 at 12:45pm
Los Angeles (AFP) - Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr was voted the NBA's 2015-2016 Coach of the Year on Tuesday for his role in the team's record-breaking season.
26 Apr 2016 at 12:19pm
(The Sports Xchange) - Steve Kerr joined the Warriors' record run on a full-time basis in January, and after Golden State set the NBA single-season record with 73 wins, he was voted the 2015-16 Coach of the Year. Kerr is expected to be given the award Wednesday before Game 5 of the first-round playoff series with the Houston Rockets. Terry Stotts of the Portland Trail Blazers finished second.
26 Apr 2016 at 12:12pm
Steve Kerr joined the Warriors' record run on a full-time basis in January, and after Golden State set the NBA single-season record with 73 wins, he was voted the 2015-16 Coach of the Year. Kerr is expected to be given the award Wednesday before Game 5 of the first-round playoff series with the Houston Rockets. Terry Stotts of the Portland Trail Blazers finished second.
25 Apr 2016 at 6:17pm
24 Apr 2016 at 11:38pm
Byron Scott will not return to coach the Los Angeles Lakers next season, the team announced late Sunday night. Scott coached the Lakers for the two worst seasons in the 16-time NBA champion franchise's history, going 38-126. The Lakers are making another break from the Kobe Bryant era by firing the coach who shepherded the superstar guard's farewell season, but couldn't coax many wins out of an otherwise dismal roster.
23 Apr 2016 at 5:52pm
April 23 (The Sports Xchange) - Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy presented to the 2015-16 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, the league announced on Saturday. Conley, who previously won the award in 2013-14, joins Grant Hill (three) and Jason Kidd (two) as multiple winners since the award's inception in the 1995-96 season. The annual award reflects the ideals of sportsmanship -- ethical behavior, fair play and integrity -- in amateur and professional basketball, a key focus of the league's NBA Cares program. ...
21 Apr 2016 at 10:30pm
DeMar DeRozan finally found his shooting touch Thursday night, and Kyle Lowry finally got Toronto's offense rolling. Together, they had the Raptors looking a lot more like that dominant regular-season team. The All-Star guards scored 21 points each to help Toronto rout Indiana 101-85 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series while reclaiming the home-court advantage they squandered six days earlier.
21 Apr 2016 at 3:10pm
21 Apr 2016 at 12:19am
Los Angeles (AFP) - The Minnesota Timberwolves hired Tom Thibodeau, making the former Chicago Bulls bench boss the head coach and president of basketball operations.
21 Apr 2016 at 12:19am
Pearl Washington left such a mark on the sport that no less than Patrick Ewing called him "one of the great phenoms of my era."
20 Apr 2016 at 10:45pm
(Reuters) - The Minnesota Timberwolves have hired Tom Thibodeau as their new coach and president of basketball operations, the team announced on Wednesday. Thibodeau has been one of the NBA's most coveted coaches since he was fired by the Chicago Bulls following the 2014-15 season and according to various reports, will sign a five-year contract worth $50 million.
20 Apr 2016 at 10:39pm
The Minnesota Timberwolves have hired Tom Thibodeau as their new coach and president of basketball operations, the team announced on Wednesday. Thibodeau has been one of the NBA's most coveted coaches since he was fired by the Chicago Bulls following the 2014-15 season and according to various reports, will sign a five-year contract worth $50 million.
20 Apr 2016 at 9:52pm
Dwyane Wade did not see an offensive outburst like what the Miami Heat have put up in their first two playoff games coming, nor is he counting on it continuing. Wade scored 28 points, Hassan Whiteside was a franchise playoff-record 8 for 8 from the field and finished with 17 points, and the Heat beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-103 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series. The Heat have averaged 119 points in the first two games of the series, which shifts to Charlotte for Game 3 on Saturday night.
20 Apr 2016 at 9:33pm
The Timberwolves hired Thibodeau as coach and president of basketball operations on Wednesday, a power move for a franchise that has been depicted as a basketball wasteland for the last dozen years. Thibodeau was the most coveted coach on the market, and he's bringing his unparalleled intensity and hard-driving approach to a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2004. Landing such a big-name coach was a startling development for a Wolves franchise that has the longest-running playoff drought in the NBA and has routinely had to settle for second, third or fourth choices when jobs opened up.
20 Apr 2016 at 12:37pm
The former Bulls coach finalized a five-year deal to become head coach and president of basketball operations.
20 Apr 2016 at 10:16am
The new coach of the University of Portland opens up about his 17-year playing career and his time coaching.
20 Apr 2016 at 1:38am
Conor McGregor has delivered a punch on social media rather than inside a UFC cage. One of the UFC's top draws, McGregor created a stir when he tweeted that retirement was on the horizon and the UFC later tweeted that McGregor had been pulled from UFC 200 on July 9. The 27-year-old McGregor tweeted, ''I have decided to retire young.
19 Apr 2016 at 11:31pm
The Sacramento Kings are starting the search for yet another head coach with three candidates who have extensive experience in the head chair. The Kings plan to interview Vinny Del Negro, Mark Jackson and Sam Mitchell in the first wave as they look for a replacement for the fired George Karl, three people with knowledge of the process tell The Associated Press on Tuesday night. ESPN first reported the Kings' plans.
19 Apr 2016 at 1:41pm
Partners in the broadcast booth, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are now rivals in the hunt for the Minnesota Timberwolves' coaching job. The Timberwolves planned to meet with Jackson after interviewing Van Gundy and former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a person with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Jackson, who is currently an analyst for ESPN and ABC, has not coached in the NBA since he was fired by the Golden State Warriors in 2014 after three seasons and a 121-109 record that included two trips to the playoffs.
19 Apr 2016 at 1:11pm
Woodson is one of several former head coaches with whom the Kings want to discuss their job opening.
19 Apr 2016 at 12:30pm
After a record-breaking blowout in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series, the Heat will go for their sixth straight postseason win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night in South Beach. The last time Miami was in the playoffs, it fell in five games to San Antonio in the 2014 Finals, marking the breakup of its Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The latter two are still with the team, though Bosh has been out since the All-Star break with blood clots in his leg, and Wade, the longtime leader of the franchise, was merely the Heat's third-best player in Sunday's opener.
18 Apr 2016 at 2:11pm
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- - The Golden State Warriors may have been right in preparing to play without NBA MVP Stephen Curry for Game 2 of their playoff series against the Houston Rockets as he nurses an ankle injury. Although Curry had insisted it would be hard to keep him off the court Monday night, the star guard didn't participate in the pregame shootaround and could be sitting on the bench at tipoff. "Oh, yeah, for sure," coach Steve Kerr said of Curry campaigning to play.
18 Apr 2016 at 1:59pm
Thibodeau wants final say and that?s only available with Minnesota right now.
18 Apr 2016 at 12:54pm
17 Apr 2016 at 7:59pm
Working some three years removed from his last postseason appearance, a star-crossed turn with the Chicago Bulls filled with sell-outs, hospital visits and darkened rooms , Luol Deng made quite the impact in his first playoff game with the Miami Heat. Shuffling back and forth between big and small forward, Deng went off for 31 points on Sunday as the Heat dominated the Charlotte Hornets in a 123-91 win . [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] The 31-year old veteran was the head of a fearsome attack that put Charlotte, a franchise that hasn?t won a playoff game since 2002, away early: Miami?s 41-point fourth quarter had the Heat up 19 heading into the second period. Deng hit 11-13 shots and basically saw his evening end by the third quarter, as Charlotte had no match for Miami?s athleticism and clever play on both ends. Nicolas Batum paced the Hornets with 24 points, but the Hornets were outclassed throughout. Stretch forward Marvin Williams was gobbled up by Heat veteran Joe Johnson, rookie Frank Kaminsky (zero points, one rebound in 17 minutes, poor defense) was a non-factor, and Charlotte?s season-long offensive rebounding woes carried over to both sides of the court ? the Hornets were out-rebounded by the Heat by 14. It was clear from the outset that the Heat intended to make a scorer out of Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum, and score he did ? 20 points on 6-8 shooting in the first half. Batum registered zero assists in that first half, though, as the dribble hand-off game that marked Charlotte?s offensive resurgence during the regular season was just about completely mitigated. Kemba Walker (19 points in the loss) also finished the half with nary a dime, and both registered just a single assist in the first half. It was Charlotte?s defense, however, that did the team in. Miami?s movement and quick-thinking was just too much for the Hornets, a team that produced the NBA?s third best record following the All-Star break. Heat point guard Goran Dragic missed six of eight shots while working with a new mouthguard as a result of a chipped tooth from Tuesday evening , but he moved his team into possessions with alacrity and finished with ten assists. Dwyane Wade netted seven assists of his own, he and Joe Johnson used their savvy to connect for 27 total points in 26 minutes, each. Meanwhile, center Hassan Whiteside continued his Johnny on the Spot turn. Given the starting nod, he moved into open spaces expertly and hit nine of his 11 shots on his way toward 21 points. Whiteside also notched 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the win. Even veteran center Amar?e Stoudemire, working in his first playoff game with the Heat and 70th postseason game overall, added 11 points in 16 minutes off the bench. The Hornet defense, inside and out, was just no match for Miami. Don?t think Deng didn?t notice. Signed as a small forward replacement of sorts in 2014 when LeBron James left Miami for Cleveland, cast away from Chicago a few months prior for the pittance of luxury tax relief and two conditional second round draft picks the Bulls will never see, Deng cut with precision off the ball while Charlotte?s collective heads were turned. Deng, who shot just 34 percent from long range during the regular season, hit 4-6 threes while playing power forward in Miami?s stretched-out lineup. He added seven rebounds and did what he could to turn Nic Batum into a game-changing scorer, rather than a facilitator. Batum?s scoring couldn?t change the game, though, adding to what will be a bountiful stack of game tape for Hornets coach Steve Clifford to break down. Batum?s one-sided play will line up alongside center Cody Zeller?s defensive issues, while Marvin Williams and Courtney Lee (who missed four of six shots) will have a lot to answer for regarding both ends of the court. Charlotte is a formidable team and this remains a coin-flip series ? the Hornets won?t have to start from 32 down when Game 2 tips off on Wednesday, as this squad still has the horses to take a game in Miami. The Heat?s exactly play to start the series, however, has to give the entire Eastern bracket room for pause. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops