Pacers pick up Scola in Phoenix trade

Argy bargy: Scola ready to fight for Indiana

Argy bargy: Scola ready to fight for Indiana

Indiana Pacers have added Luis Scola to their roster after sending Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a future first round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns.

The Argentine leaves Phoenix after just a single season where he averaged 12.8 points per game along with 6.6 rebounds starting 67 of their 82 games and is relishing a new challenge.

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NBA Playoffs: New York Knicks 2-4 Indiana Pacers

Down and out: The Knicks fall to Indiana

Down and out: The Knicks fall to Indiana in 6

The Knicks‘ long wait for an NBA Championship continued as the Indiana Pacers set up a Conference Final showdown with the reigning champions. New York almost threw away a 3-0 advantage in the first round against the Celtics before winning in Boston in Game 6 to clinch the series while the Pacers defeated Atlanta by the same 4-2 scoreline.

GAME 1: Indiana 102-95 New York @ Madison Square Garden

Indiana made a great start to their series with the Knicks by stealing the opening game on the road. Carmelo Anthony had a game high 27 points for the hosts while the Pacers had six players in double figures with David West leading the way with 20 points. The home side ended the opening quarter with the final nine points as Ray Felton and JR Smith netted triples to give New York a 27-18 lead. A run of six unanswered points gave the visitors the lead in the second and Paul George‘s 3-pointer made it 52-46 at half-time. In the third, the Pacers opened up a double-digit lead and finished the quarter in the ascendency to move 16 points clear at 81-65. ‘Melo‘ opened the fourth with the first six points and then added another basket soon after to take his tally to 20 points and reduce the Knicks‘ deficit to nine points. They closed to within six in the final minute but the game was beyond them as Indiana took a 1-0 lead.

Indiana lead the best-of-7-series 1-0.

GAME 2: Indiana 79-105 New York @ Madison Square Garden

New York bounced back from a disappointing defeat in Game 1 with a blowout in front of their home fans to tie the series. Anthony again top scored whilst adding 9 rebounds to his 32 point haul and the regular season scoring leader received support in the form of Iman Shumpert’s 15 points and 14 more from Felton. The Knicks made an 8-2 start and carried their early momentum throughout the opening quarter and Melo‘s basket made it 29-20 at the end of the first. The visitors managed to close within five points before the Knicks responded with the next 8 to see their lead peak at 47-34. However, New York then went scoreless for the final 3:46 of the half and the Pacers compiled a duplicate 8-0 run to again trail by five at the end of the second. Indiana kept up the pressure when play resumed and finally took the lead at 61-60 on a Lance Stephenson three. Anthony responded with five quick points and the Knicks finished the third well to lead 72-66 with the fourth to go. They then opened the final quarter with an incredible 20-0 run spanning over seven minutes to lead 92-66 with Anthony contributing 11 of those points. Quentin Richardson came off the bench to net consecutive 3-pointers to make it a 26-2 start to the 4th as the Knicks went on to seal an emphatic victory.

Series tied at 1-1.

GAME 3: New York 71-82 Indiana @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Indiana edged a low scoring game at home to take a 2-1 series lead after a double-double from Roy Hibbert led the way. George Hill opened the game with two 3-pointers before George followed with one of his own as the Pacers set a deceiving tone. Anthony‘s successful jumpshot meant that the Knicks trailed 18-15 at the end of the first. Indiana built a ten point lead in the second with an 8-0 run but the gap was back down to three by half-time as the Knicks were down 36-33. Hill and George started the second as they did the first as Indiana enjoyed the better of the play in the third, using a 9-0 run to establish a 58-44 run midway through the quarter. Amar’e Stoudemire was making his return from injury for New York and the NBA veteran netted a triple on the buzzer as the visitors now trailed 62-53. The fourth quarter was relatively comfortable for the Pacers as they maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the final period to take care of home court. Hibbert‘s 24-12 was supported by George‘s 14-8-8 while the Knicks were led by Anthony‘s 21 points.

Indiana lead the best-of-7-series 2-1.

GAME 4: New York 82-93 Indiana @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Indiana took care of home court to move within a game of the Eastern Conference Finals after a strong first half was enough to carry them to victory. George inspired an 11-3 start for the Pacers with six points before the Knicks responded with a similar run to tie the game. Indiana closed the first with a 9-2 run and led 23-16 after the opening quarter. The Pacers took control in the second with a strong start before with-holding a New York fightback to add an 13-2 run before Anthony ended the half with a jumpshot before the buzzer with the Knicks down 48-34. The lead peaked at 18 points in the third before the visitors managed to narrowly reduce their arrears by the end of the quarter, where they trailed 67-56. Chris Copeland and Smith combined to make it a single figure deficit but an 11-2 run from Indiana put the game beyond doubt. Smith netted a couple of late 3-pointers while Steve Novak also connected from downtown but the Pacers held the Knicks at bay from the free throw line.

Indiana lead the best-of-7-series 3-1.

GAME 5: Indiana 75-85 New York @ Madison Square Garden

New York extended the series in a must-win game at home to force Indiana to close out the series in Game 6. Anthony led the way with a 28 point haul and helped the Knicks into a fast start as they led 11-4 early on. The home side’s lead was cut to four by the end of the first where they led 19-15. Copeland netted a three in the second to make it a nine point lead but Indiana again narrowed the gap to six to trail 40-34 at half-time. The Pacers cut to within two points before the Knicks regained control and soon opened up a double digit advantage to take into the fourth. George made it a four point game with a 3-pointer but Anthony helped keep Indiana at bay and force another game with a ten point margin of victory. The Pacers were without Hill as George starred with a 23-6-6 display while Copeland helped the Knicks to an important win with 13 points off the bench in his first major contribution of the series.

Indiana lead the best-of-7-series 3-2.

GAME 6: NewYork 99-106 Indiana @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Indiana closed out the series at the second attempt to set up a clash with the reigning NBA Champions in the Conference Final. Stephenson had a career-Playoff high 25 points complimented by 10 rebounds while Hibbert had a 21-12 double-double as the Pacers defied the Knicks and Anthony‘s 39 point haul. After falling down 15-9 early on, New York recovered through Melo‘s 12 opening quarter points and a couple of triples from Pablo Prigioni although they still trailed 29-27 after one. The Knicks kept in touch until an 8-2 run gave the home side some breathing space and were still in control at the half, leading 55-47. Anthony then added 11 points to his growing tally at the start of the third before Shumpert caught fire with a trio of scores from beyond the arc in 12-2 run capped by a Smith 3-pointer that tied the game at 72. Shumpert then added another from downtown while ‘Melo’ went to 35 points with the game all-square at 81 heading into a crucial fourth. The visitors led at the halfway mark following a ‘JR’ triple but Stephenson stepped up with seven points in a pivotal 9-2 run which effectively sealed the game and the series.

Indiana win the best-of-7-series 4-2.

                                     Top 5 Players

  1. Paul George 19.5 ppg; 7.0 rpg; 5.0 apg
  2. Carmelo Anthony 28.5 ppg; 7.8 rpg
  3. David West 14.7 ppg; 7.8 rpg
  4. Roy Hibbert 13.3 ppg; 10.3 rpg; 3.2 bpg
  5. George Hill 16.2 ppg; 4.8 rpg; 4.4 apg

Paul George confident ahead of clash with LeBron

Guard of honour: The MVP v the MIP

Guard of honour: The MVP v the MIP

Paul George is full of confidence regarding the Eastern Conference Final showdown with Miami Heat as well as his personal duel with LeBron James.

The Indiana Pacers’ forward will most likely match-up with the recently crowned League MVP but is not concerned about the daunting prospect.

George said after practice: “It will be fun! I always embrace challenges and I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good series and I’m more prepared this year.”

“I feel like I’m in the best of shape, my confidence is feeling great!” the 23 year-old added.

The 2012-13 season has already proved successful for George personally as he followed up a first All-Star appearance with the Most Improved Player award. The 6’8″ forward improved in scoring, rebounding and assists to propel the Pacers into the play-offs as the third seeds. His regular season improvements are as follows:

2011-12: 12.1 ppg; 5.6 rpg; 2.4 apg in 66 games (all starts)
2012-13: 17.4 ppg; 7.6 rpg; 4.1 apg in 79 games (all starts)

From Carmelo Anthony to LeBron James, it doesn’t get easier for George and his coach Frank Vogel is hoping his forward can do his best and contain the Heat star.

“(LeBron) is the best player in the world and Paul (George) just has to do the best he can, like he did on Carmelo. LeBron (James) will have some moments and go off but Paul just has to compete and not foul.”

Vogel emphasised: “We do not want to put these guys at the free throw line.”

George is averaging 19.1 points per game along with 8.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the Play-offs so far after victories over Atlanta and the Knicks in Indiana‘s first two games. The All-Star produced a 29 point haul in a 10 point win over Miami in January and the Pacers claimed the season series 2-1.

In last season’s post-season meeting, Miami defeated Indiana 4-2 on their way to their second NBA Championship but Indiana, like George, have improved this season and the Pacers star is hoping his team use their size to their advantage against the champions.

“We’re a big team, we can rebound and we can play physical basketball- it’s our bread and butter.”

The opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals is live on Sky Sports from 1:30 am tonight.

Game Night! ft. NY Knicks @ OKC Thunder

Melo continues hot streak for Knicks while the Lakers faulter in play-off charge

Carmelo Anthony took his points total to 177 in his last four games with another 36 in New York’s 12th straight victory after beating OKC (56-21) 125-120. The Knicks 50-26) had a productive second quarter to inspire a 50th win this season with JR Smith netting some huge shots late on. Russell Westbrook had an impressive all-round performance for the Thunder with 37-11-8 although Oklahoma missed out on the chance to return to the top of the Western standings.

Knicks‘ centre Tyson Chandler (15pts) was delighted with the win:

“This was huge for us, it’s very hard to come into this building and get a win, I’m really proud of the way we kept fighting”

Serge Ibaka came out firing in the first quarter and had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 4 blocks after the opening 12 minutes as OKC opened up a slender 31-30 advantage. Chris Copeland came off the bench to score 11 points alongside Anthony in a dominant second quarter for the Knicks as they took control to lead 65-56 at the interval. OKC battled back and closed to within a point before Melo struck two triples late in the quarter and New York led 96-89 after three.

The hosts compiled a 13-4 burst in the final quarter capped by a Durant jumper as the Thunder took the lead at 105-104. Jason Kidd responded with his fourth 3-pointer of the game before soon after Westbrook took his tally to 30 points as OKC went up by one with 4:00 left. However, the visitors kept their streak alive with an 11-2 spell over the next three and a half minutes with Smith adding five points in quick succession before Melo sealed the win.

Anthony has now taken over as the leading scorer in the league with an average of 28.4 points per game

The Lakers (40-37) dropped outside of the play-off places after a 109-95 defeat against their LA rivals. CP3 (24pts/12as) and Blake Griffin (24pts/12rbs) both recorded double-doubles as the Clippers (51-26)completed a 4-0 sweep over the Lakers and won the Pacific Division title for the first time. Kobe Bryant did his best to lead his side to victory with 25 points and 10 assists while Dwight Howard matched his points haul in the absence of Steve Nash and Ron Artest.

Utah Jazz (41-37) capitalised on the Lakers’ defeat with a 97-90 win on the road against fellow play-off hopefuls, Golden State (44-33). Mo Williams led the way with 25 points while Steph Curry had 22 points for the Warriors as they missed out on a victory which would have secured their post-season spot. One team, in the West, already in the play-offs are Memphis and the Grizzlies (52-25) ground out a tough 89-87 on the road against Sacramento (27-50) after Marc Gasol (15p-10r) produced a late block to secure the win.

Dallas (38-39) kept alive their fading play-off hopes with a 97-91 victory against Portland (33-44), who launched a late fightback before falling short. The Mavericks were led by Chris Kaman’s double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds while Will Barton had a 22p-13r double-double for the Trail Blazers, who are already out of post-season contention following EIGHT straight defeats. Anthony Davis led the New Orleans Hornets (27-50) to a 95-92 win in Phoenix (23-54) with a 20 point haul.

Detroit (26-52) snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls (42-34) with a 99-85 victory despite Carlos Boozer‘s 21p-10r double-double. The Bulls‘ defeat handed the Central Division title to the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland (24-52) used a strong final quarter to defeat Orlando Magic (19-59) 91-85 while the return of Paul Pierce inspired a 107-96 win for Boston (40-37) over the Washington Wizards (29-48).

Game Night! ft. Miami @ Boston

LEBRON LEADS HEAT TO WIN 23; KNICKS SNAP LOSING RUN & LAKERS FALL IN PHOENIX

Miami Heat (52-14) made it 23 straight victories with a 105-103 win on the road against the Boston Celtics (36-20). LeBron James netted the game-winner to reach 37 points, consisting of a huge dunk on Jason Terry whilst being accompanied by 12 assists on the stat-sheet. Jeff Green’s monster 43 point haul proved in vain for the Celtics, who were missing Kevin Garnett, as they saw a 17 point lead wiped out

Meanwhile, their Eastern rivals both recorded wins on the road to close in on clinching their play-off spots. Indiana Pacers (41-26) remain second following a 111-90 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45) using a strong second quarter as a platform for their triumph. New York (39-26) were without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire in Utah (34-33 but still prevailed in a 90-83 success. JR Smith took on the responsibility and top scored with 20 points while Gordon Hayward had 17 for the Jazz.

Memphis (45-21) continued their strong run of form with a 92-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-42) while there was a 93-72 success for the Golden State Warriors (39-30) over New Orleans (22-46) after a 30 point haul from Stephen Curry. Denver Nuggets (46-22) took their win streak to TWELVE after a 119-118 overtime success against the Chicago Bulls (36-30). Wilson Chandler had a game high 35 points for the visitors while Nate Robinson had 34 for the home side.

The Lakers (36-33) missed out on the chance to leapfrog Houston in the Western conference after a 99-76 defeat in Phoenix against the Suns (23-45). Goran Dragic dished out 10 dimes during the game for the hosts including an assist through-the-legs of Steve Nash, who top scored for the Lakers with 19 points in the absene of Kobe Bryant. Dallas Mavericks (32-35) kept up their play-off hopes with a 127-114 win on the road against Atlanta (37-30) while Brooklyn (39-28) eased to a 119-82 win against Detroit (23-46) on the back of Deron Williams’ 31 points.

Gerald Henderson led the Charlotte Bobcats (15-52) to a 119-114 victory at home to the Washington Wizards (23-43) with a 27 point haul. Philadelphia (26-40) held off a fourth quarter comeback from Portland (31-35) to record their second win in a row after a 101-100 success. LaMarcus Aldridge top scored for the Trail Blazers with 32 points while Damian Lillard continued his great form with an additional 27 but it was Jrue Holiday’s contribution for the 76ers which inspired the victory.

LeBron James with the monster dunk on Jason Terry (NBA):