Bauman: Paul George’s improved jumper keys Indiana’s 1-0 lead

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IND_George_PaulNEW YORK — When Pacers head coach Frank Vogel called a timeout with 12.1 seconds left in the first half of yesterday’s matinee Game 1 matchup against the Knicks, Paul George wound up and launched a jumper, smooth as could be, from near mid-court.

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SH Blog: PJ Carlesimo out as Nets coach; Celtics need to figure out what to do with Pierce

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And just like that, the second round is upon us. If that felt a little abrupt, don’t worry: it was. Somehow the first series to be set is the last to get underway, which I’m sure Gregg Popovich and the Spurs won’t mind. Mark Jackson and the Warriors probably won’t mind too much either, with Andrew Bogut and Steph Curry’s ankle troubles. For more on the Warriors and Spurs, check out Jan Hubbard’s latest column.

Derrick RoseThe other series that starts tomorrow will be the Bulls and the Heat, and while it won’t be Derrick Rose vs. LeBron James, there’s plenty of intrigue with the Bulls if you can get over their All-Star point guard’s absence. Just watching them dig down to their deepest reserves of grit against the Nets should have done that. In another new column on Sheridan Hoops, Jeremy Bauman looks at what the Bulls have accomplished without their franchise player.

Still, the rumors will continue to abound over Rose, and not without reason: he still hasn’t ruled out that he’ll return, and it’s not unreasonable to presume that the best chance the Bulls have of knocking off Miami is with him in the lineup. So let’s start off today’s roundup of the latest news from around the NBA with an item on Rose:

  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says what everyone in the NBA is thinking: “For the good of his franchise and fans, for everyone’s focus to be where it should belong now – Bulls-Heat, Game 1 on Monday – Rose needs to drop the illusion that his return in these playoffs remains a consideration. “Who knows?” Rose told reporters hours on Saturday. “It’s still up in the air.” Who knows? Derrick Rose knows. His choice has been made to sit out the season and it includes no provisions for turning back, sources with direct knowledge told Yahoo! Sports. Inside and outside of the organization, that isn’t much of a revelation. After all, the surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee was May 12, 2012. Doctors cleared him to start scrimmaging with the team in mid-February. After all that, he isn’t walking out for the first time with LeBron James and the Miami Heat waiting to jump him. … Of course, Derrick Rose could make everything easier and simply say so publicly. He refuses. So, Rose will still needlessly linger over this Heat-Bulls series.”

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SH Blog: Westbrook timetable a mystery; Metta, J.R. Smith to miss Game 4s; Jennings done as a Buck?

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Image.logomanApart from the 1 vs. 8 and 2 vs. 7 series, the first round of the NBA playoffs has been incredibly competitive, just as much so as anyone could have reasonably hoped.

The Clippers and Grizzlies are showing everyone how good they are – and how unfair it is that one will lose this series. The Warriors and Nuggets are playing must-see basketball. And just today, Chicago and Brooklyn went to three overtimes. 

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Knicks vs. Celtics Preview: Five Key Factors

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knicks small logoceltics small logoLast season, the creaky Boston Celtics entered the Eastern Conference playoffs as the fourth seed, having gone 39-27 over the NBA’s lockout truncated season. They ended up just three games better than the 36-30 New York Knicks, who ended up the conference’s seventh seed.

Hubbard: Can Dirk The Franchise Lure Talent to Dallas?

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Dirk NowitzkiThe myth died for good only two years ago, but it seems more distant than that because it was so silly. It’s unlikely that it will return, but then again, people are still looking for Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, mermaids and flying saucers.

So who knows? Maybe at some point, some basketball idiot will call Dirk Nowitzki “soft” again.

That person would indeed have to be an idiot. But then, that was always true. Those who preached such nonsense – individuals such as Chris Webber, who, by the way, has undergone a spectacular conversion to Dirk devotee – had an unseemly agenda when attempting to label the 7-foot German “soft.”

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