Wizards

Vogel eager to keep Pacers momentum with new deal

Vogel eager to keep Pacers momentum with new deal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indiana Pacers like where they're heading and they want Frank Vogel to finish the job.

One day after the team announced it had given Vogel a new contract extension, he walked out of Tuesday morning's shootaround and told reporters he appreciated the message being sent by management.

``It shows what we're building here, something special,'' Vogel said. ``We've turned the corner and we're going to make some noise the next couple of years.''

The Pacers (20-14) have declined to provide details about the new deal, and Vogel stuck with the company line though he did acknowledge it was a multi-year extension that would keep him in Indianapolis beyond next season.

For the affable 39-year-old Vogel, that was enough of a reward for his accomplishments.

He took over as head coach in January 2011 following the midseason firing of Jim O'Brien, inheriting a struggling team and leading it to the playoffs. The Pacers lost to Chicago in the first round.

That summer, Vogel had to deal with the NBA lockout and weeks of speculation about whether he'd stay in Indy or land someplace else. But team executive Larry Bird decided to make Vogel the permanent coach, and Vogel rewarded the Pacers brass by leading the team to a second straight playoff appearance and their first playoff series win since 2005. In the Eastern Conference semifinals, Indiana took a 2-1 lead on Miami but wound up losing the last three games to the eventual NBA champions.

This year has been rough for another reason: the loss of All-Star forward Danny Granger, who has not played yet because of patellar tendinosis in his left knee. While the veteran has stayed mostly quiet on the injury, Vogel said Tuesday that Granger's recovery was on schedule. On Nov. 7, the Pacers said he could miss up to three months, meaning he could be back by mid-February.

Despite losing Granger, and a tough start, the Pacers have won 10 of their last 13 games. Nothing about Vogel's tenure has been easy, yet he's still managed to go 82-56 and his team has a share of the Central Division lead despite losing its top scorer.

``We had to be patient with our personnel, our young personnel and we had to adjust the offensive philosophy for what we were missing with Danny,'' Vogel said. ``I wouldn't say we're even there yet. It's been a work in progress.''

One thing that has helped make things easier, though, is the development of forward Paul George.

``He's continued to grow and with growth also comes confidence,'' said LeBron James, who worked out with George during the summer. ``The good thing, what's been bad for them but good for him, is that they haven't had Danny Granger so it's allowed him to grow and show more of what he can do.''

The decision to extend Vogel's deal came just as Indiana was preparing to host Miami, the Southeast Division champ, for the first time this season. Coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat know the Pacers are a physical team.

That's just Vogel's style, and he's not about to change things now.

``I don't know if I've changed a whole lot to be honest with you,'' Vogel said. ``I know I have to be firm with the guys and that I need to have a strong coach-player relationship. This is not a dictatorship that I've been running.''

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.

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