Wizards

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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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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