Not a good day for the Miami Heat

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Not a good day for the Miami Heat

From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Paul George made no attempt to downplay the importance of his matchup with LeBron James."It's a chance to for me to see where I'm at, going against one of the best, if not, the best in the league," George said. "Another challenge to myself to go at LeBron. I definitely wanted to battle him."George rose to the occasion with 29 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pacers held Miami to a season-low point total in an 87-77 win over the Heat on Tuesday night.George has moved from shooting guard to small forward and has become a primary scoring option with Danny Granger, Indiana's leading scorer last season, out all season because of a left knee injury.Indiana's 22-year-old forward has earned James' respect for the way he has handled his new responsibilities."I see him playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of opportunities," James said. "The simple fact that Danny Granger is hurt has created this opportunity for him to show what he can do. He's doing everything. He was a good player last year, but we weren't able to see it because he wasn't a featured player."David West added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points for the Pacers (21-14), who have won 11 of their last 14 games.Dwyane Wade scored 30 points and James had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Miami (23-10), which still has the best record in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time the teams had met since Miami beat the Pacers in six games in the conference semifinals last year.The Pacers outrebounded the Heat 55-36 to help make up for 36 percent shooting."That was a big emphasis tonight," George said. "Miami is a team that, for as good as they are, they struggle with rebounding. We knew that coming in. We knew that we had to get the boards. And we're bigger. We're a big team."George had gone 8 for 29 in his previous two games, but he broke out of his slump by making 12 of 27 shots against Miami.Miami entered the game leading the NBA in field goal percentage, while Indiana led the league in field goal percentage defense. The matchup resulted in the Heat scoring only 35 points in the second half, their lowest-scoring half of the season."Offensively, we did not have a very fluid game on that side of the court," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I'll have to take care of that tomorrow."Indiana led 38-28 in the second quarter before the Heat rallied late in the half. Wade hit a 3-pointer to cut Indiana's lead to 38-37, and a putback by James gave the Heat the lead. The teams were tied at 42 at halftime. Wade scored 23 points in the first half, including 16 in the second quarter.The Heat found their offensive flow in the early minutes of the second half. A 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers gave the Heat a 51-44 lead and caused the Pacers to call a timeout, but Indiana rallied. Stephenson found West in the corner for a 3-pointer, then Stephenson made a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 55-53 lead.George made consecutive 3-pointers to make it 67-57 at the end of the quarter. The Pacers made 5 of 8 from 3-point range in the period. Miami scored just 15 points on 7-for-18 shooting in the third and Wade went scoreless.George opened the fourth with a jumper over James to expand Indiana's lead to 12, and Ian Mahinmi's putback bumped it to 14.Another 3 by George made it 77-60 with about 8 minutes to go, and the Pacers remained comfortably ahead the rest of the way.Wade scored just seven points on 1-for-4 shooting in the second half. George said Stephenson deserved credit for bothering Wade."He made it hard for him in the second half," George said. "Everybody was locked in to his drive and tried to contest all his shots."The Pacers were subdued in the locker room after the game, perhaps a sign that they have come to expect such victories."We can't overreact to this," West said. "We're just happy to get a win. That's a good basketball team."Notes: Vogel said Granger's recovery from his left knee injury is on schedule, meaning he should be ready to play in about a month. ... The Pacers led 20-19 at the end of the first quarter, despite shooting just 28 percent. ... Wade was fouled on a 3-pointer in the second quarter and made all three free throws. ... West's 3-pointer was just his third of the season and the 39th of his 10-year career. ... Indiana won its eighth straight at home.

Notre Dame turns to 'Grandpa Av' seeking experience at safety

Notre Dame turns to 'Grandpa Av' seeking experience at safety

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Isaac Rochell joked he’s known sixth-year Irish graduate student Avery Sebastian for “like 10 years, since he’s been in college for like 10 years.”

The Notre Dame defensive end teamed up with Sebastian way back in the fall of 2010 when the pair both played for Eagle’s Landing Christian High School in the Atlanta area. Rochell is now a senior captain, but is by no means the oldest guy on the team — that would be Sebastian, who enrolled at Cal in 2011. 

“Every day with mess with Avery about his age,” Rochell said. “… One thing (defensive coordinator Brian) VanGorder always says is a player isn’t his best until he’s 25. Avery’s not 25 — but we’re always like, that’s Avery right now.”

Gentle ribbing aside, Notre Dame will be counting on the elder statesman of its defense quite a bit when it takes the field Sunday night to face Texas at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. Freshman Devin Studstill may be Notre Dame’s free safety of the future, but in the present, Kelly & Co. are turning to Sebastian — a more natural in-the-box strong safety — to replace dismissed two-year starter Max Redfield. 

“He's assignment correct, he makes very few errors, and that's what we like,” Kelly said. “We have two performers back there in (Drue) Tranquill and Sebastian that are assignment correct.

“Now, do they have the range maybe at times that we'd like? Probably not. But they do a lot of really good things for us, and they can play the kind of defense that we need to to be successful. So where maybe they lack some of the range of the younger players who will play and play considerable roles, they're rock solid and they're veteran players.”

The back end of Notre Dame’s defense has been plagued by errors over the last two seasons, which directly contributed to opponents racking up 30 plays of 30 or more yards against the Irish in 2015 (85th in FBS). Redfield and Elijah Shumate were an athletic duo but committed far too many errors in VanGorder’s complex scheme. 

So Tranquill and Sebastian represent a departure from Redfield and Shumate in the sense that Notre Dame could be trading recruiting stars for fewer communication errors. It’s perhaps not ideal — having Redfield, who was formally charged with illegal possession of a firearm this week, back there would’ve been — but it’s what coaches view as the best option for the team heading into the season. 

“That’s one of the things that we try and emphasize is, you never know when your last day is going to be and somebody’s going to have to step up,” senior cornerback Cole Luke said. “You can’t play with one safety. And Avery’s done a good job of stepping up and doing what he has to do.” 

Sebastian missed all but a handful of plays in the 2015 season after breaking a bone in his foot in Notre Dame’s opener against Texas. He started seven games during his tenure at Cal (2011-2014) and has been around for so long that other members of his recruiting class included Stephon Tuitt, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Jr., among others. 

Or, to put it another way: Studstill was starting eighth grade when Sebastian began his college career. 

Studstill, who enrolled early in January, had an impressive showing during spring practice but missed a good chunk of August camp due to a hamstring injury. That knock set him back, Kelly noted, but Notre Dame still probably would’ve gone with Sebastian to start given the experience gap between the two. 

“I think if Devin was clearly ahead of Sebastian, we'd have Devin on the field over Sebastian,” Kelly said. “But Sebastian's had a good camp. He's been really rock solid.

“… You want to try to keep as many veterans in that starting role as possible and let those younger guys work their way into the lineup. But more than anything else, Devin put himself a little behind with the injury. He didn't put himself behind, but the injury caused him to be a little bit behind. But he's made up a lot of ground in a very short period.”

Chances are Studstill, along with fellow freshmen safeties Jalen Elliott, D.J. Morgan and Spencer Perry, will all play against Texas and throughout the season. But asking a true freshman to start in front of 100,000 people in his first college game could’ve been problematic. 

So Sebastian will get the start, and Notre Dame will hope he can hold his own at free safety — and maybe avoid some of those crippling mistakes made by his predecessors. 

“We call him the Grandpa, Grandpa Av,” Luke said. “He’s been around. He’s been in multiple system, he’s seen multiple looks. He just has that knowledge and that wisdom that you would expect him to have.” 

Rumors of a move surface, but David Accam stays with the Fire

Rumors of a move surface, but David Accam stays with the Fire

Rumors surfaced on Wednesday that David Accam could be on the move this transfer window.

However, just like in the winter, the rumors didn’t lead to anything and Accam is staying with the Chicago Fire.

Taylor Twellman of ESPN first reported that French club Nantes was going after the Ghanaian. Nantes was American international Alejandro Bedoya’s club before he joined Philadelphia earlier this month. Doug McIntyre followed up with a report saying Nantes offered $3 million for Accam.


However, the transfer deadline for the big leagues in Europe closed tonight and Accam is still with the Fire. Accam is currently with Ghana’s national team for a African Cup of Nations qualifier.

Interest in Accam is no surprise and nothing new. When healthy, Accam has been the Fire’s most dangerous attacker and is the most valuable asset on the team.

This winter rumors started of a possible move for Accam after he trained with English Premier League club Stoke City. Accam has expressed interest in moving to Europe, specifically England, at some point in his career.

The sticking point for a move to England is that he would not be able to get a work permit without going through the tricky appeal process. Accam does not hold an EU passport so he would need to get a work permit to play in England. The only way to get a waiver for one is to have played a certain percentage of games with your national team in a given period. Accam is with Ghana now, but missed the last international window due to injury.

Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez is hosting a media roundtable, the second one of the season, on Thursday. While the Accam move didn’t happen, it will be brought up for Rodriguez to comment on.

Complete Traveler's Guide to Austin for Notre Dame vs. Texas

Complete Traveler's Guide to Austin for Notre Dame vs. Texas

*Author’s Note*

Hello all, this is my first official article for CSNChicago.com, and what better way than by telling you about places in Austin for those traveling to Texas to watch the Fighting Irish play the Longhorns? While the video segment — check it out above — from JJ Stankevitz and I was more focused on tacos and humor, here are some more places to use as a reference guide for visiting the lovely city in Central Texas.

Breakfast/Brunch

Whole Foods Flagship, 6th and Lamar: breakfast tacos, and a general odyssey of food with built-in restaurants and fun stuff, along with Austin souvenirs.

South Congress Café: you have not had Migas until you’ve had these.

Juan in a Million: the famous “Don Juan” breakfast taco is the mother of them all. Expect a wait but prepare to be amazed. Order one with extra tortillas. Just trust me.

[RELATED: Notre Dame adjusts to schedule disruption of Sunday opener]

Tex-Mex

Matt’s El Rancho: home to the mother of all queso, the “Bob Armstrong Dip.”

La Condesa: it’s one of those cool kid spots. You’ll feel cool.

Fonda San Miguel: a favorite amongst Austinites for its more authentic fare. Excellent brunch as well.

Torchy’s Tacos: their creative tacos leave you wanting unlimited space for a variety of tacos, from breakfast to dinner. Their queso is also excellent.

Barbecue

Lambert’s: a more formal setting in downtown Austin.

Rudy’s: the opposite of Lambert's, informal fast barbecue served on butcher paper.

Franklin Barbecue: be prepared to get in line as early as 6 a.m. for this popular restaurant, which sells out fast.

The Salt Lick: it needs no introduction but it’s amazing. The original location is about 45 minutes west of Austin, and there’s one in Round Rock too, near the Dell Diamond.

Other Restaurants

Sophia: located in the former Bess Bistro spot on West 6th street, this new and inventive Italian restaurant is run by the BDG group from Chicago and features the executive chef of Prosecco in Chicago heading up cuisine.

Galaxy Café/Zocalo: a pair of quick and tasty restaurants just west of downtown Austin.

Whataburger: it’s not in Chicago. The burgers are great. Breakfast starts at 11 p.m. Look into the taquitos.  

[SHOP NOTRE DAME: Get your Fighting Irish gear right here]

Places!

Sixth Street, just east of downtown, west of I-35: home to many college bars. It’s what people think of when they think of 6th street in Austin. The natives call it “Dirty Sixth.”

West Sixth Street: this is considered the more “mature” side of 6th street. Lots of bars as well, just a little older on average than “Dirty Sixth.”

East Sixth Street: the cool kids go there. I’d say “hipster” but that’s not doing it justice. It’s a growing district with great restaurants as well.

South Congress: home to the aforementioned South Congress Café. It also features Allen’s Boots — mentioned in video — along with a variety of shops and restaurants and a very scenic stroll with the Capital Building in the distance. The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to many bats, which you can see emerge at sunset to go eat mosquitos. Hopefully lots of mosquitos.

Barton Springs: a natural swimming hole in the middle of town, this spring-fed pool is an oasis.

Zilker Park: not the only oasis in downtown Austin! Zilker Park is home to countless events and people wanting some daily recreation.

Lady Bird Lake Trail: the trail around the “lake” in downtown Austin is a favorite for runners, walkers and bikers alike.

Rainey Street: a growing spot just east of downtown which is home to a variety of bars and restaurants.

The Dell Diamond: home to the Round Rock Express, the enjoyable minor league park hosts the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A club and is a good place for Cubs fans to get their revenge for Longhorns singing “Texas Fight” at Wrigley last year.

These are just a few of my recommendations in Austin. Enjoy and have a great time.