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Indiana basketball’s Kel’el Ware feels Mike Woodson prepared him for NBA success

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Indiana basketball’s Kel’el Ware feels Mike Woodson prepared him for NBA success


CHICAGO — Kel’el Ware saw what Mike Woodson was able to do with Trayce Jackson-Davis.

That partially is what drew Ware from Oregon to Indiana.

Playing for a former NBA coach who’d just developed an NBA big convinced Ware that Woodson could put him on a similar path.

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“He just told me he was going to get me back to where I needed to be,” Ware said. “If I chose to come to Indiana, he would be able to get me back here, he would be able to get me ready for it and I feel like that’s what he did.”

More: Indiana basketball’s Kel’el Ware declares for 2024 NBA Draft

As Ware noted at Tuesday’s NBA Draft Combine, Woodson was correct.

After a freshman season where he struggled at times for Oregon, Ware was allowed to play through mistakes at Indiana.

Ware entered the NBA Draft after one season with the Hoosiers in which he averaged He averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.5 assists and shot 56.8%, including 42.5% from 3.

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He will likely be a first-round pick next month.

“He was a top high school recruit. He was very athletic and could shoot,” said Connecticut guard Tristen Newton, who played against Ware when he was both at Oregon and Indiana. “That was his thing going into college and he displayed that (during Monday’s combine drills).”

That athleticism included one of the fastest 3/4 court runs as Ware, who measured 6-feet, 11 3/4 inches, blazed a trail in 3.29 seconds. Ware also had a 36-inch vertical.

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Ware knows there are still concerns, though.

“The motor aspect of it, what everybody says about my motor,” Ware said. “I feel like I’ve proven that enough, but I still got more to prove.”

More: Indiana basketball’s Kel’el Ware isn’t sure he’s lock to go in first round of NBA draft

Otherwise, it’s easy to see why Ware is projected to go high in the draft.

He’s long (7-foot-4 1/2 wing span) and quick enough that he can guard on the perimeter. Ware can pick and pop, shoot and serve as a lob threat.

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“My AAU coach he was telling me to bring the ball up the court sometimes,” Ware said. “I was never just a back to the basket player. I’ve always had the dribbling, shooting, I’ve always been able to do everything because I’ve always worked on it growing up.”

Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at sking@jconline.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.



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Boston Celtics (2-0) at Indiana Pacers (0-2) Eastern Conference Finals Game #3 5/25/24

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Boston Celtics (2-0) at Indiana Pacers (0-2) Eastern Conference Finals Game #3 5/25/24


As the series moves to Indiana, the Celtics look to take a commending 3-0 lead in the series. The Pacers stayed with the Celtics throughout the first game and it was only due to their miscues and lack of poise at the end of regulation and in OT that the Celtics were able to pull out the win. They hung with the Celtics at the start of Game 2 but in the end, the Celtics were able to pull away for a comfortable win.

The Celtics are 10-2 in the playoffs so far. Their 2 losses were at home in Game 2 in both of the first two rounds. They are 4-0 on the road in the playoffs so far, winning Games 3 and 4 on the road in both Miami and Cleveland. The Pacers, on the other hand are 6-0 at home in the playoffs so far. They have also won 11 straight home games going back to March 18. The Celtics are going to need to come in focused and ready to play hard in order to get a win on the Pacers home court.

Game 3 in any series is important. Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home go on to win the series 94.0% of the time. Teams that lead a best-of-seven series 2-1 go on to win the series 79.8% of the time. However, teams that win the first three games of a best-of-seven series go on to win the series 100% of the time. No team has ever come back from being down 0-3 and so if the Celtics can win Game 3, they can pretty much guarantee themselves a trip to the Finals.

This is the Celtics 6th appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 8 years. It is also their 3rd straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The Pacers have not been in the Eastern Conference Finals since 2014 when they lost in 6 games to the Heat. The Pacers last appearance in the playoffs was in 2018-19 when they were swept by the Celtics in the first round. The Celtics won 4 of the 6 series between these two teams so far and all of them were in the first round.

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Kristaps Porzingis has been ruled out for this game. He is still dealing with a calf injury that he suffered in Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series against the Heat. The Celtics are being cautious with him but are hoping to get him back for Game 4 of this series. However, he hasn’t practiced with the team as yet so it’s only rumor as of now. He did travel with the team to Indiana, however. Jrue Holiday was a late addition to the injury list as questionable with a non-covid illness. I’m not sure who Mazzulla would start if Jrue can’t go but it may be Payton Pritchard or maybe Oshae Brissett.

Luke Kornet suffered a sprained left wrist in the first quarter of Thursday’s game and is doubtful for this game. With Porzingis out and trying to keep Horford’s minutes low, this leaves the Celtics short handed at center. When Kornet went out in Game 2, Joe Mazzulla chose to go small and brought in Oshae Brissett for his first meaningful playoff minutes. By going small, the Celtics rotated quicker and were able to keep pace better with the Pacers. The Celtics may go small again or may give Xavier Tillman some time at center as well.

For the Pacers, Benedict Mathurin remains out after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. With just under three minutes left in the third quarter of Game 2 on Thursday, Tyrese Haliburton left the game and limped to the locker room. He was ruled out for the rest of the game with a hamstring injury. He injured the same hamstring on 1/8 and missed 10 of the next 11 games. Indiana went 6-4 without him. He is listed as questionable for this game. I’m going to guess that they will keep him out of this game and that TJ McConnell with get the start in his place.

Probable Celtics Starters

Celtics Reserves
Oshae Brissett
Sam Hauser
Svi Mykhailiuk
Payton Pritchard
Jordan Walsh
Jaden Springer
Xavier Tillman
Neemias Queta

2 Way Players
JD Davison
Drew Peterson

Injuries/Out
Kristaps Porzingis (calf) out
Luke Kornet (wrist) doubtful
Jrue Holiday (illness) questionable

Head Coach
Joe Mazzulla

Probable Pacers Starters

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(As of now, Haliburton is questionable with a sore hamstring. Since this is a recurring injury I’m guessing that he will be out. But, as of now, he is just questionable and McConnell starting is just a guess.)

Pacers Reserves
Isaiah Jackson
Quenton Jackson
James Johnson
Doug McDermott
Ben Sheppard
Jalen Smith
Obi Toppin
Jarace Walker

Two Way Players
Kendall Brown
Oscar Tshiebwe
Isaiah Wong

Injuries/Out
Benedict Mathurin (shoulder) out
Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) questionable

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Head Coach
Rick Carlisle

Key Matchups

Jayson Tatum vs Pascal Siakam
Siakam finished Game 1 with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal while shooting 52.2% from the field and was 0-2 from beyond the arc. He finished Game 2 with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 76.5% from the field and was 2-2 on three pointers. Tatum has struggled early in both games so far but thankfully his teammates were able to come up big until he was able to contribute later in the game. The Celtics need more from him on both ends of the court throughout the game in this one.

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Al Horford vs Myles Turner
Turner finished Game 1 with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks while shooting 69.2% from the field and 75% from beyond the arc. He struggled somewhat in Game 2 with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal while shooting 42.9% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. The Celtics have to be aware of his presence in the paint as he is a good rim protector and also a good rebounder. They also have to stay with him on the perimeter as he has been shooting very well from beyond the arc. With the Celtics trying to limit Horford’s minutes and Kornet likely to be out, we may see some Xavier Tillman at center or we may see more small ball with Brissett getting more minutes.

Honorable Mention
Derrick White vs Andrew Nembhard
Ordinarily, this would be the Holiday/Haliburton matchup, but with Haliburton out, or not 100%, this would be a key with Nembhard looking to pick up his game to make up for Haliburton being injured. In Game 1, Nembhard finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists while shooting 50% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. In Game 2, he finished with 16 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal while shooting 50% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc. In Game 2, White came alive offensively, after struggling for a couple of games. He finished with 23 points, including 4 threes. The Celtics need more of that from him in this game.

Keys to the Game
Defense – Defense is the key to winning every single game and especially against the Pacers as they lead the playoffs with 121.0 offensive rating. The Celtics are 2nd in the playoffs with a 120.1 offensive rating. The Celtics are 3rd in the playoffs with a defensive rating of 108.1. The Pacers are 13th with a defensive rating of 119.1. The Celtics need to make defense their identity and their priority. In Game 1, the Pacers shot 53.3% from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc. In Game 2, the Pacers shot 52.4% from the field and 37.9% from beyond the arc. The Celtics have to step up their defense in this series as they likely won’t win a shoot out against the high scoring Pacers. The Celtics must defend them both in the paint and on the perimeter. Defense down the stretch helped to pull out Game 1 and defense allowed the Celtics to pull away in Game 2. Defense will determine the winner of this series. The Celtics need to play lock down defense for 48 minutes and not just in spurts.

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Rebound – The Celtics are 3rd in the playoffs, pulling down 44.3 rebounds per game. The Pacers are12th with 40.9 rebounds per game. In Game 1, the Pacers out-rebounded the Celtics 44-43, and the Celtics almost lost the game. In Game 2, the Celtics out-rebounded the Pacers 40-37. Much of rebounding is desire and effort and the Celtics have got to put out more effort on the boards than the Pacers if they want to get a win in this game. Other than Game 1, the Celtics have won every game in the playoffs that they have out rebounded their opponent and they have lost the 2 games where they were out-rebounded. As with defense, rebounding will be key to winning this game

Bench Play – The Celtics need to get help from their reserves. The Celtics bench loses a lot with Al Horford moving into the starting lineup and will take another hit with Luke Kornet’s injury. In their first 2 rounds, the Pacers reserves averaged 32 points or more per game. TJ McConnell, who is a problem off the bench as he is a pesky defender and brings a lot of energy to the Pacers may need to start with Haliburton questionable for this game. In Game 1, the Pacers got 30 points off their bench while the Celtics got just 13 points from theirs. In game 2, the Celtics got 19 points from their reserves while the Pacers got 39 points from their reserves. The Celtics need for their reserves to score and to defend well to take some of the pressure off the starters.

Effort and Focus for 48 Minutes – The Celtics have to play every minute with extra effort. The Pacers play hard and fast and so the Celtics need to match that effort and play even harder. The team that plays harder and is more aggressive is usually the team that comes out on top and that also gets the better whistle. The Celtics also have to stay focused. They have to focus on taking good shots and making them and on playing as a team and making the right play every time. They also have to keep that effort and focus up for 48 minutes with no let up and no collapse, especially on defense.

Move the Ball – The Celtics are tough to beat when they keep the ball moving and they make the extra pass to find the best shot. They struggle when they lapse into iso ball and when players hold the ball too long. The Pacers move the ball very well and are 1st in the playoffs, averaging 30.1 assists per game. They racked up 38 assists on 53 field goals in Game 1. In Game 2, they had just 23 assists while the Celtics had 28 assists. The Celtics have to keep the ball moving and avoid lapsing into iso ball and over dribbling the ball.

X-Factors
On The Road – The Celtics are on the road for the first time in this series. The Pacers are 6-0 at home in the playoffs so far and the Celtics are 4-0 on the road. During the regular season, the Celtics were 27-14 on the road while the Pacers were 26-15 at home. The Celtics can’t allow the distractions of travel and a hostile crowd to take away from their focus on the game.

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Injuries – Injuries may come into play in this series with Porzingis remaining out and now Luke Kornet being doubtful. That will make the Celtics short handed at center and so it will be next man up, whether Xavier Tillman gets minutes at center or possibly we will see more of Oshae Brissett in this one again. For the Pacers, if Tyrese Haliburton is out with the hamstring injury, it will affect the Pacers offense. However, it may help their defense somewhat since the Celtics were constantly targeting Haliburton’s defense in Game 2.

Officiating -Officiating is always an x-factor. Every crew calls the game a little differently with some calling it tight and others letting them play. They seem to be letting them play more in these playoffs so far, but that could change with any given crew and any given game. In Game 1, the Celtics shot 30 free throws to just 10 for the Pacers. In Game 2, the Celtics took 20 free throws to 16 for the Pacers. The Celtics have to adjust to how the game is being called and focus on the game and not on the officials.

Official Report
Crew Chief – Marc Davis – Davis has a home win/loss record of 41-34 this season. He calls 51% of fouls on the road team and 49% on the home team. Boston is 7-3 in their last 10 games with Davis as the crew chief, including the May 1 win over Miami in the first round and May 13 win over Cleveland in Game 5. Indiana is 6-4 in their last 10 with Davis, including Game 2 loss and the Game 7 win in New York. Davis was voted the third worst referee in the league in a poll of the players, behind Scott Foster and Tony Brothers. Comments from players say he is arrogant and will sometime instigate things. He wasn’t bad in Game 5 against the Heat or Game 4 against the Cavs.

Referee – John Goble – Goble has a home win/loss record of 22-13. He calls 43% of fouls against the road team and 57% on the home team. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Goble including the Game 2 loss to the Cavs and the game 4 win over Miami. The Pacers are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Goble including Game 2 win over the Bucks and Game 4 win over the Knicks. Goble also called one win and one loss against Indiana in the regular season.

Umpire – Courtney Kirkland – Kirkland has a home win/loss record of 30-33 this season. In the playoffs, he calls 47% of fouls on the road team and 53% on the home team. The Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Kirkland on the crew, including Game 4 at Miami in Round 1 and Game 4 against Cleveland. Indiana is 4-6 in their last 10 with Kirkland, including Game 6 win over the Bucks. 2 years ago during the ECF between Boston and Miami, Kirkland was the replay official in Secaucus who said Max Strus was out of bounds on a key 3 in Game 7. He was not bad in the previous games in these playoffs.

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Indiana DNR: Prioritize water safety

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Indiana DNR: Prioritize water safety


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) – The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking Hoosiers to prioritize water safety.

Indiana DNR says Hoosiers should discuss the dangers of water as well as where, when, and who are going before participating in any activities on a body of water.

Indiana DNR adds Hoosiers should always wear a life jacket, be mindful of their surroundings, avoid being intoxicated, and avoid flooded or fast-moving waterways.

For Hoosiers that are operating boats, Indiana DNR says boat safety should also be a priority.

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Indiana DNR says Hoosiers operating boats should assess and monitor their boat and the body of water being traveled while reducing speeds and raising awareness for unfamiliar areas or unusual water conditions.

Indiana DNR adds Hoosier should always wear a life jacket while on a boat, and that the operator of the boat should always be sober as required by the law.

For more information on the Indiana DNR, visit https://www.in.gov/dnr/.



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‘I was due’: Caitlin Clark leads Indiana Fever past Sparks to first win of season

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‘I was due’: Caitlin Clark leads Indiana Fever past Sparks to first win of season


Caitlin Clark had 11 points and 10 rebounds for her first WNBA double-double and the Indiana Fever beat Los Angeles 78-73 on Friday night to snap a season-opening five-game skid in front of a Sparks record crowd of 19,103 that included several Hollywood stars.

“The first one feels really good,” said Clark, who also had eight assists.

Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana (1-5) with 18 points and Aliyah Boston and Temi Fagbenle had 17 each.

Clark’s rebounds were a career high. She missed her first seven three-point attempts, but finally made one of her trademark deep threes with 2:27 remaining in the game, triggering an explosion of cheers and applause. A giddy Clark high-fived actor and Iowa native Ashton Kutcher sitting courtside.

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“That’s a fellow Hawkeye, somebody that’s been very supportive of me over the course of my college career,” she said. “He was encouraging me the whole game.”

The game featured the youth and future of the WNBA, with No 1 draft pick Clark playing against No 2 pick Cameron Brink and fourth selection Rickea Jackson of the Sparks.

“They’re making a huge impact in our league,” Fever coach Christie Sides said before the game.

Brink had 15 points and nine rebounds and Jackson added a career-high 16 points off the bench for the Sparks (1-3). Dearica Hamby had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Jason Sudeikis, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, USC star JuJu Watkins along with teammate Rayah Marshall and coach Lindsay Gottlieb were among the sellout home crowd for the Sparks’ first game at Crypto.com Arena this season.

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“The crowd was absolutely amazing, especially there at the end,” Clark said. “They were into it, they were invested.”

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) greets actor Ashton Kutcher after making a fourth-quarter three-pointer on Friday night. Photograph: Ashley Landis/AP

After trailing by 11 points early in the game, Boston, Fagbenle and Mitchell dominated the fourth quarter, with Mitchell hitting back-to-back three-pointers.

Brink made a three-pointer and Lexie Brown scored to draw the Sparks within 73-71. But Clark answered with her second deep three-pointer with about 40 seconds left and the crowd roared again as Indiana stayed in front, 76-71.

“I was due, like they had to go in,” said Clark, who was 4 of 14 from the field, 2 of 9 on three-point attempts. “I had missed so many throughout the game.”

The Fever were just 7 of 25 from long range; the Sparks also struggled, going 5 of 24.

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The Sparks played their first two home games in Long Beach, but with Clark and the Fever in town the game was moved to downtown Los Angeles.

Trailing 45-34, the Fever opened the third quarter on a 16-3 run to lead 50-48. Fagbenle and Boston combined to score all of Indiana’s points, with Fagbenle’s 3-pointer capping the spurt. Clark didn’t score but she came up with a big steal at midcourt and after she missed Boston scored.

“She was running our offense. She’s learning her system, learning her players,” Sides said of Clark. “She hit some huge shots and did everything we needed her to do.”

The teams meet again Tuesday in Indianapolis.





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