Ravens

George leads Pacers over Grizzlies

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George leads Pacers over Grizzlies

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indiana Pacers are now finding ways to win on a regular basis with or without veteran players.

``I'm proud of them and the effort to be a really good basketball team,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

Paul George scored 21 points to lead the Pacers to an 88-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

D.J. Augustin had 17 points and David West added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who have won five of six. George also had six rebounds and five assists.

Zach Randolph had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Marc Gasol scored 13 for the Grizzlies, who have lost three of four.

``We played, I thought, really well in the first three quarters,'' Randolph said. ``But we have to learn how to close out a game.''

Indiana played without starting point guard George Hill, who injured his right thigh against the Phoenix Suns last week.

Coming from behind or winning the close games didn't happen early in the season when they fell in a hole early with a 3-6 record.

Still without star forward Danny Granger and with the injured Hill on the bench and even without center Roy Hibbert putting up the expected numbers, Indiana remains atop the Central Division and now a game up on the Chicago Bulls.

Augustin started at point guard for Hill, a decision that came right before tip off.

``We knew with George out, it would be a challenge,'' George said. ``But D.J. stepped up and made the game easy. Everybody had to step up and everybody did.''

Augustin hit shots when they were needed most, too, including four free throws down the stretch that kept Indiana ahead.

``It felt good out there tonight,'' he said. ``I wanted to come in and do my best to help the team win.I felt I got in a good rhythm tonight.''

He hit two to put the Pacers up 84-81 with 29 seconds left and two more to make it 86-83 after Mike Conley scored a lay-up to get back within two.

Lance Stephenson scored two more free throws to put the game out of reach.

The Grizzlies led 67-60 heading into the fourth quarter.

Ben Hansbrough hit two 3-pointers and the Grizzlies' Darrell Arthur scored a basket, but the Pacers trailed by just three, 69-66.

``I just thought we got a lot more active defensively,'' West said. ``We were much more precise in terms of our communication and what we wanted to do defensively. And guys stepped up and made shots.''

George had a key steal and dunk, and West's free throws gave the Pacers the lead for good. The Grizzlies turned the ball over and West made two more foul shots to make it 74-71 with 5:37 left.

``We had it in our clutches and our first four of six posessions in the fourth quarter were turnovers,'' Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. ``We quit pushing the ball once we got the lead. It wasn't pretty.''

The Grizzlies' ended a five-game winning streak over Indiana and wrap-up a two-game road trip at Boston on Wednesday.

NOTES: Stephenson was listed as day to day with a left orbital contusion, but started. ... Grizzlies F Quincy Pondexter didn't travel with the team because of a left MCL sprain. ... Hibbert's first offensive rebound of the night was his 800th career. ... Indiana Fever forward Katie Douglas attended the game and was recognized for the Fever's recent WNBA championship.

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Wizards coach Scott Brooks is begging Otto Porter to shoot more 3-pointers

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards coach Scott Brooks is begging Otto Porter to shoot more 3-pointers

Scott Brooks is doing just about everything he can to get Otto Porter Jr. to shoot the ball.

The Washington Wizards coach doesn't know how to convince Porter to take more shots -- especially when he's open -- instead of passing the ball. So he jokingly tried to enlist the help of reporters Monday at the team's media day. 

"I know you guys aren't trying to do me any favors here, but if you guys can do me one favor, just yell at him every time he doesn't shoot the ball," Brooks said. "I mean, just scream at him and ask him questions about that every time. 'Otto, why don't you shoot?' He needs to shoot more."

Throughout his five years with the Wizards, Porter's 3-point shooting percentage has progressively improved. In the 2017-18 NBA season, he was shooting .441 from beyond the arc -- up from .434 in 2016-17 and .367 in 2015-16. Last year, his field goal percentage was also at .503.

But it sounds like Brooks thinks those numbers could be higher if Porter would just take advantage of the open looks.  Brooks estimated the 6-foot-8, 198-pound forward passes up three or four good shots per game.

"I tell him, I can't make it any greener for him," the head coach said. "It's green, shoot. Shoot the ball every time you get an open shot, do not hesitate. He's one of the best perimeter shooters in the league, and we need more threes.

"We want to shoot more threes this year. We've been trying to do that for two years, and we've got one of our best shooters passing up shots."

While speaking exclusively with NBC Sports Washington at media day, Porter said he's been working with the coaches to see "where I can be more aggressive, where I can help this team get to the next level."

That surely means always having an eye on the basket.

However, Brooks said it's hard to fault Porter for wanting to help get his teammates the ball. But he needs the small forward to be selfish sometimes. 

"It's frustrating, but I love what he does," Brooks added. "He's about team, so he's doing the right thing, you know, always looking for the next play. But to me, sometimes the right thing is taking your best shooter and making sure he shoots shots.

"He's had a great summer, and we're looking forward to him continuing to improve his game."

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Ravens Week 3 Player of the Game: LB Kenny Young

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Ravens Week 3 Player of the Game: LB Kenny Young

What the Ravens have lost in three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley due to injury, they've gained in rookie Kenny Young.

Week 2 against the Bengals, Young stepped in for Mosley and put up five solo tackles and three assists. Then when Week 3 came around and Mosley was still too injured to play, Young got the start and logged 44 snaps. He finished with eight solo tackles, two assists and a critical third-down sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum in the second quarter. Young's stingy performance helped fuel a stellar defensive effort in the Ravens' 27-14 victory.

A fourth-round draft pick out of UCLA, Young has the maturity needed to succeed in this league.

Obsessed with perfection, as noted in a profile done via the Ravens' website, Young is already impressing his coaches and veteran teammates. 

He’s a smart guy, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a mistake,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s not scared to make a mistake. He’s willing to play fast even if he does make a mistake. And sometimes, some of the plays you see him making? He might not be perfectly where he’s supposed to be, but that willingness to play fast overcomes it, and you go make a good football play.

While the timetable for Mosely's return is unknown, the Ravens can find solace in knowing their young replacement is a steady hand.

The 23-year-old currently leads the team in tackles (17), followed by Tony Jefferson (12). 

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