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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Indiana Pacers unable to move up from the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference Cheap Uchenna Nwosu Jersey , the team will likely have a new look for the regular-season finale on Tuesday night against Charlotte.
For the Pacers to have reached the No. 4 spot, the Cleveland Cavaliers had to lose back-to-back games to the New York Knicks. But after Cavs beat the Knicks on Monday night, Pacers coach Nate McMillan is expected to rest his starters and key reserves quite a bit against the Hornets.
Rest might be welcome thing.
“Yeah, I thought that they fought through some fatigue,” McMillan said of his players in Sunday’s 123-117 win at Charlotte. “Even though we won, I thought that we were flat for most of this game. We found a way to get some energy. I thought the bench came in and gave us a lot of energy and played well to help us get this win.”
Pacers center/forward Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 30 points.
“My teammates were trusting me like always and I do my best to finish,” Sabonis told Fox Sports Indiana. “I love it here. It’s been a very fun year. I love my teammates, coaching staff and I’m just happy to represent Indiana.”
Sabonis averages 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds.
“He’s always crashing the boards, plays well in the pick-and-roll, a very, very smart IQ guy,” Pacers point guard Cory Joseph said.
After scoring below double figures for the first time all season Friday night with five points in a loss at Toronto, Pacers leading scorer Victor Oladipo bounced back with 27 points.
The Hornets were plagued by 22 turnovers, and Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said in four of the last five games turnovers have been the difference.
“I think we’re first or second in the NBA in taking care of the basketball Youth DaeSean Hamilton Jersey , but four of the last five games we’ve had 17 or 18 turnovers, which is more product of playing more guys and something that you can live with,” he said. “So we did some good things. Those guys in the fourth quarter did a good job, so we’ll go there on Tuesday and see if we can put together longer periods of good play.”
Clifford said he will start thinking about the offseason later. After the Hornets won four in a row, they have lost five of the last six games.
“It’s been important to me that we play these games well so in nine of the last 10 we’ve been pretty good, competitive and organized,” he said. “So we’ve been putting just as much into these games as we have all year and frankly you worry about the next season in the next season.
“I want to win Tuesday and I want (the players) to, too. So I haven’t even thought about stuff like that.”
Hornets rookie guard Malik Monk, who averages 6.5 points, has scored 20 or more points in the last three games.
Clifford said Monk has gotten better with his pick-and-roll game and has been more efficient offensively.
“The thing he is doing better is he’s making plays for other people,” Clifford said.
Clifford has noticed Monk’s assists-to-turnovers numbers have been solid recently as well.
“That to me is as much of an indicator as anything of the growth that he’s made in terms of learning how to play in a manner that both he can score and the rest of the guys can play well when he’s on the floor,” he said. “In this league at his size (6 feet 3), pick and roll is going to be a big part of it.”
Denver Broncos fans have pretty much given up on Paxton Lynch.
No longer do they fill the airwaves and social media posts with debates about how Denver’s 2016 first-round draft pick should be learning on the job even though he hasn’t earned the Broncos’ starting quarterback job.
They’re wearing Case Keenum No. 4 jerseys now, ready to move on from the crisp No. 12s that have gotten about as much wear and tear as Lynch’s own game-day jersey.
Two men who aren’t quite ready to label Lynch a blunder are general manager John Elway and coach Vance Joseph.
While that might seem predictable Eli Manning Jersey , both men are adamant that the ex-Memphis QB is just a late bloomer, not a bust.
Even after signing Keenum in free agency to a two-year deal and declaring the sixth-year veteran the team’s starter, Elway has stuck by Lynch.
To the surprise of many, he bypassed a bevy of quarterback prospects in the NFL draft. After using all 10 of his picks on other positions, he declared that Lynch is still young and hasn’t run out of chances in Denver.
”We are not kicking him to the curb,” Elway said. ”He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, we knew it was going to take some time.”
Elway added this caveat, however: Lynch will compete with Chad Kelly , ”Mr. Irrelevant” as the final selection of the 2017 NFL draft out of Ole Miss, for the backup job this summer.
The buzz around Broncos headquarters is that Lynch is a more dedicated pro this year. His performances on the field, at least those open to the media, have looked a lot like his first two years: flashes of jaw-dropping brilliance but still some head-scratching poor plays and bad decisions.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave saluted Lynch’s red zone play Wednesday and said, ”We want those decisions, those habits Cowboys Authentic Jerseys , to become part of his fabric so they can become natural, reactive.”
Joseph praised Lynch in an interview with The Associated Press, saying, ”I think Paxton is really motivated to show everyone that he can be a No. 1 quarterback in this league and watching him work this entire offseason he is different because I’ve seen him a lot more up in the halls here.
”And that takes time to find your comfort zone with coaches, with your organization.”
Joseph noted that Lynch has had three offensive coordinators in Denver so far, something that reminds him of another QB he worked with early in his career.
”I was with Alex Smith his first three or four years and it kind of looked like Paxton because Alex had four coordinators in his first four years in the league,”’ Joseph said. ”How can a guy comfortably get better as a quarterback in a system that is brand new every year, right?
”These guys need time to develop as quarterbacks. We want them to walk in and play. Now some guys do. Russell Wilson walked in and did it. But most guys don’t do it.”
What Lynch needs, Joseph said, is ”time to be in a system for a two-year period and you will see real growth.”
Joseph said he saw improvement last year even though Lynch was hurt most of the season and only started twice.
Like Elway, Joseph was impressed with Lynch’s performance in the season finale, when he went 21 for 31 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 27-24 loss to Kansas City.
”He played that position very, very naturally in that game,” Joseph said. ”Now Youth B.J. Hill Jersey , from that point to now, he’s a different guy. He’s 10 percent better. Now, when it comes time for him to play for us this year and win a football game, he’s going to be 20 percent better because he’s been with Billy for a year and a-half now in the same system. That makes a difference.”
First things first, Joseph insisted that Lynch still has to beat out Kelly in training camp to win the backup spot.
Yet, Joseph’s effusive praise of Lynch reveals the degree to which the Broncos’ brain trust still believes it didn’t whiff by moving up to select him with the 26th overall pick two years ago.
Joseph said Lynch deserves such patience ”because he does have rare talent.”
”Who wants to throw out rare talent before you give him a chance to develop?” Joseph asked. ”I don’t want to. John doesn’t want to.”
Notes: DeMarcus Ware, who retired last year, has been brought back to Denver as a part-time pass-rushing consultant. He’ll visit the team a few times every month and work a selection of home games, Joseph said.
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