Archive for May 25th, 2013

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 recap

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan scored the first five points of overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93 Saturday night and move a win away from the NBA Finals.

The Spurs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals and now have won five straight this postseason. With the memory of blowing a 2-0 lead a year ago in the West finals to Oklahoma City, when they lost the next four, the Spurs shook off their sloppy play early and pushed the young Grizzlies to the edge of elimination in the first West final played in Memphis.

San Antonio, which didn’t lead this game until the opening minute of the fourth quarter, can wrap up the series Monday in Memphis and get back to the finals for the first time since their last title in 2007.

The Spurs hit eight of their 10 shots in overtime, with Duncan scoring seven of his 24 points. Tony Parker had five of his 26 in overtime, and even Tiago Splitter playing with four fouls, scored six in the extra five minutes to finish with 11.

mike conley

Mike Conley led Memphis with 20 points. Marc Gasol had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Zach Randolph added 14 and 15, and Quincy Pondexter had 15 points. But the Grizzlies, who thrived at the free throw line in knocking off No. 1 seed Oklahoma City in the semifinals, got there only 18 times and made only 10.

The Grizzlies last led 85-84 with 1:04 left in regulation on a 15-footer by Gasol. After that, they managed only to tie it up twice, the last on a layup by Randolph with 4:28 left in overtime. Duncan scored and knocked down the free throw with 4:10 remaining to put the Spurs ahead to stay.

Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

The supporting cast has always raised issues for this team the past three seasons, but now Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have entered the equation. Bosh and Wade have done little to assist James through two games, at least not the way they have in the past.

James has scored 66 points in the series, nearly equaling Bosh and Wade combined (67).

“We’re just doing what we can with our opportunities,” said Wade, who has taken 15 fewer shots than James in the two games. “We don’t have the ball every possession. We’re doing what we can with our opportunities. Hopefully, we get more.”

Wade meant that he and the others have to play more aggressively instead of leaving all the responsibility on the league’s most valuable player. Even though he had two costly turnovers in the final minute, James finished with 36 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the losing effort. In Game 1, he recorded a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, including the winning basket as time expired.

“You always want more [shots], but we can’t say nothing against LeBron,” Wade said. “He had a hell of a game [Friday]. If he’s not shooting, then other guys with opportunities better be making shots. Because if you make them, you can’t say nothing about anything.”

Reported by Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Roy Hibbert

With his massive size and even more massive contract, Roy Hibbert almost feels a responsibility to serve as bouncer for the Indiana Pacers.

If that requires him to interrupt an interview with a throng of reporters to make sure that his locker room neighbor D.J. Augustin can get dressed, to cover for Paul George to block New York star Carmelo Anthony’s dunk attempt or even if he has to absorb a knee to the groin from the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier while contesting a layup, the 7-foot-2 Hibbert wants be there for his teammates.

“I always tell guys, if they get beat, don’t foul them, I’ll be there to clean it up,” said Hibbert, the former Georgetown standout said. “It’s just that I feel I’m important. I want to be on the court. That’s why they brought me back. That’s why they gave me all this money.”

Last summer Hibbert signed a four-year contract for $58 million, the maximum he could receive under the collective bargaining agreement, but at no time has he appeared more valuable to the Pacers than right now. He has proven to be the difference maker thus far in the Eastern Conference finals against the defending champion Heat, which shift here to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Sunday night’s Game 3 tied at one game apiece.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post

In Game 2 of the Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals playoff series, Dwyane Wade ran down the court, jumped, and elbowed Lance Stephenson in the head. It’s hard to say exactly what D-Wade was doing that caused him to jump at that exact moment, or what his elbow was doing and why it needed to connect with Stephenson in that manner.

Watch for yourself:

Read NBA fan reaction and share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

Tim Duncan and wife are getting divorced

Tim Duncan and wife are getting divorced

San Antonio Spurs All-Star Tim Duncan is getting divorced.

Amy Duncan apparently filed for divorce in March according to court documents obtained by the San Antonio Express-News. Spurs spokesman Tom James confirmed Saturday that Duncan and his wife are divorcing.

Duncan did not speak to reporters after Saturday morning’s shootaround, but James says the center will not be discussing his family situation.

Reported by the Associated Press

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Game 3 is Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

The AP reports: The towels are showing up all around Memphis. They hang over neighborhood signs and even at a door to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The sentiment? Believe Memphis. The Grizzlies certainly do. Yes, they are down 0-2 to San Antonio in their first Western Conference final, but they take heart in knowing they dug themselves out of an 0-2 hole in the first round against the Clippers. No NBA team has won separate series in the same postseason after losing the first two games. The Grizzlies now see only opportunity at home, where they have yet to lose this postseason. ”We got to believe,” Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph said. ”We got to be confident. We got to believe. Game 2 went down, we came all the way back and went to overtime, so we got to have that confidence and we got to believe in ourselves.”

The AP reports: ”We’re down 0-2 and we’ve got to take care of home just like they took care of home,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said Friday. ”Simple as that.” The Grizzlies’ confidence also stems from a return to the arena they call the ”Grindhouse.” They set a franchise record winning 32 games there this season, and they are 19-1 here since Feb. 8. Memphis also has lost three straight only twice this season, the last in mid-January. This series took a three-day break after the Spurs won 93-89 in overtime Tuesday night in Game 2. The Grizzlies took off Wednesday after flying home and practiced Thursday and Friday. The Spurs practiced Wednesday and Thursday before taking off Friday. The home team has won 17 of the last 20 games between these teams, and the Spurs lost both trips to Memphis during the regular season. With strong memories of blowing a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City in the Western finals, the Spurs know the games in Memphis will be hard.

The AP reports: It would be tough for the Grizzlies to shoot much worse than they did in the first two games in San Antonio, including a stretch where they missed seven straight layups in one sequence. They missed 15 of 18 attempts inside 5 feet in the first half, a statistic that surprised Grizzlies guard Mike Conley because of their strength scoring in the paint.

Spurs vs Grizzlies Game 3 preview

The AP reports: The Grizzlies also want to make Spurs point guard Tony Parker work harder and spend more energy bringing the ball up the court. That also might slow Parker from getting his teammates involved, something he did all too well in Game 2 with a playoff-best 18 assists.

The San Antonio Express-News reports: For much of the season, the Grizzlies’ best offense has been to throw the ball at the rim, then let Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol score on offensive putbacks. Memphis enjoyed a 19-4 edge on the offensive glass in Game 2 but converted those second chances into only eight points. Expect that ratio to rise in Memphis, meaning the Spurs have to do a better job of limiting the Grizzlies to one shot per possession. Something akin to Game 1, when Memphis managed only 10 offensive boards, should suffice.

The San Antonio Express-News reports: A precautionary MRI to monitor the recovery of Tony Parker’s bruised left calf revealed he’s on track and, as expected, ready to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday. “Everything is fine,” Parker said of the procedure, which was done before Thursday’s practice. “They still see a lot of blood but the size is going down. Like I said (Wednesday), I feel like I’m turning the corner and I feel like I’ll be fine for Saturday. “It feels better. Now, (the bruise) is like spread out. That’s why it felt like my Achilles was inflamed. Now it’s fine. Rest and treatment — ice and massaging to move all the blood out of there.”

The AP reports: Allen did not talk to reporters after Saturday’s shootaround for Game 3 against the Spurs. But Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said whether Allen hit his head on the floor or not had nothing to do with the flagrant foul. Allen was grabbed out of the air by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili on a fast-break drive to the basket, and Hollins said it didn’t matter if Allen hit his head. ”They reviewed it, they still called it a flagrant,” Hollins said. ”Flopping is not a part of the game and shouldn’t be a part of the game. That’s why we have rules in place. There’s probably a few more that could be called on a lot of people that are still in the playoffs.”

lebron james

The Eastern Conference finals between the plucky Indiana Pacers and top-seeded Miami Heat is giving NBA fans a battle with all the hallmarks of a classic series, including a fierce duel between two red-hot players.

Miami’s LeBron James, the top player in the league today, was always going to be the key figure in the 2013 playoffs but Indiana’s Paul George has emerged as the young pretender to his crown with the best-of-seven series tied at 1-1.

Toward the end of Indiana’s 97-93 road win on Friday in which James carried a strangely misfiring Heat team with a game-high 36 points, the 23-year-old George delivered game-winning defense against the Heat star to add to his 22 points.

There were moments where the play between the two truly took on the nature of a duel, none more so than a wild sequence in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

Moments after George beat James en route to powering home a highlight-reel dunk, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, facing George, responded with a three-pointer to close the quarter and cut Indiana’s lead to 76-74.

James, 28, then slapped hands with George and, according to the Pacers forward, said: “I got you back young fella.”

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

roy hibbert

The Indiana Pacers threw open the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Friday, upsetting the Miami Heat with a 97-93 victory to level the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

LeBron James scored 36 points for Miami but gave up two crucial turnovers down the stretch that cost the Heat, while Roy Hibbert top-scored for the Pacers with 29 points and Paul George added 22 and produced some outstanding defensive work.

“That was a heck of a basketball game wasn’t it?” said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, whose team never looked intimidated in either of the opening games on the defending champions’ home court.

“This team believe we can win this series and they are giving it all their might, playing with confidence and rising to the challenge,” he added.

The Pacers took full advantage of a slow start from Miami, grabbing a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter and they were up 53-47 at halftime.

With James producing some outstanding play yet again, Miami fought back and led 88-84 with 6:09 on the clock but, as in Wednesday’s Game One overtime thriller, the Pacers refused to buckle and came roaring back.

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

Roy Hibbert

David West punched two passes from LeBron James away in the final minute, then punched the air.

He had plenty of reason to celebrate.

The Eastern Conference finals are tied, and home-court advantage now belongs to West and the Indiana Pacers.

Roy Hibbert scored a postseason career-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, West broke up two passes by James for huge turnovers, and the Pacers evened the East title series at a game apiece with a 97-93 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 2 on Friday night.

”We haven’t done anything yet,” Hibbert said. ”We haven’t closed the series out. We won one game. A lot of us feel we should be up 2-0.”

Paul George scored 22 points, George Hill added 18 and West finished with 13 for the Pacers, who handed the Heat just their fourth loss in their last 50 games, closed the game on a 13-5 run - and denied one of the game’s best playmakers in James twice in the final moments to finish it off…

With Indiana up 95-93, West intercepted a pass that James was throwing to Ray Allen with 43 seconds left. Indiana didn’t cash in that mistake, instead turning the ball over with a shot-clock violation.

So on the next Miami trip, West denied James - who led all scorers with 36 points - again…

The Heat got 17 points from Chris Bosh and 14 from Dwyane Wade. The Heat led 88-84 in the fourth quarter, only to let the lead, the game and the home-court edge slip away, and James had almost an expressionless look afterward…

Hibbert was creating one problem after another for Miami, so James took it upon himself to challenge him in the fourth. And with about 8 minutes left, he swatted a putback attempt away from the 7-foot-2 Indiana center, starting a play that ended with Chalmers scoring at the other end to give Miami an 85-84 lead…

The Pacers were called for four technicals (one a defensive 3-second) in a 4-minute span of the second quarter.

Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

According to ESPN.com, “James had two turnovers in the game’s final minute, which is extremely unusual for him.  This was the first postseason game in his career in which he had two turnovers in the game’s final 60 seconds.  In 125 previous playoff games, James had turned the ball over only seven times in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime.  Roy Hibbert was on the court when James drove into the lane and turned the ball over with eight seconds remaining. James has one basket and four turnovers on drives to the basket in which Hibbert is on the floor in these two games. When Hibbert is off the court, James has four baskets (on five shots) and no turnovers on drives to the hoop.  James finished with three assists and five turnovers. The last time he had more turnovers than assists in a game was March 27 against the Chicago Bulls, a 101-97 loss that snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak.”

Updated 2013 NBA Power Rankings

The updated 2013 NBA power rankings are for entertainment purposes only, folks.

1) Miami Heat (66-16) - Best team in regular season, with league’s best player, looking like the best in the NBA playoffs so far.

2) San Antonio Spurs (58-24) - Experienced Spurs still relying on Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and smart play.

3) Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22) - Injury to Russell Westbrook doomed OKC in playoffs. Kevin Durant continues to be all-world.

4) Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) - Low-scoring, grit-and-grind Grizzlies do it with defense. Smart, tough team.

5) Denver Nuggets (57-25) - Balanced, talented, versatile, super-scoring team was hurt by injury to Danilo Gallinari.

6) LA Clippers (56-26) - Terrific regular season but first-round loss to tough Grizzlies resulted in team saying goodbye to head coach Del Negro

7) Indiana Pacers (49-32) - Rugged, defensive-minded Pacers have serious competitive fire. Physical team with big frontcourt.

8) New York Knicks (54-28) - Live by the jumper, die by the jumper. And in the playoffs, JR Smith and friends missed a lot. Low-assist squad.

9) Golden State Warriors (47-35) - Super-shooting backcourt and some frontcourt talent with size is a good foundation

10) Chicago Bulls (45-37) - Heart and hustle allowed Bulls to keep fighting in playoffs despite constant injuries

11) Brooklyn Nets (49-33) - Slow team whose limited athletic ability prevented these guys from turning it up in playoffs

12) LA Lakers (45-37) - Lakers were doomed in playoffs anyway, but season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant helped ensure it

13) Houston Rockets (45-37) - Great at scoring, but just as great at… not defending. Interesting young combo of players.

14) Atlanta Hawks (44-38) - Good passing and running, but team lacks identity beyond that. Josh Smith enters free agency.

15) Utah Jazz (43-39) - Big summer of free agency, especially in the Jazz frontcourt with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.

16) Boston Celtics (41-40) - Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are aging, but injuries to Rajon Rondo and others limited them further.

17) Dallas Mavericks (41-41) - A full rebuild is needed in this old folks home. Aging Dirk Nowitzki needs new guys around him.

18) Milwaukee Bucks (38-44) - A nice surprise was the emerging play of young Larry Sanders.

19) Philadelphia 76ers (34-48) - Andrew Bynum didn’t play. Jrue Holiday has some game. Rebuilding project.

20) Toronto Raptors (34-48) - Rudy Gay brings scoring, but team is still limited in overall talent.

21) Portland Trail Blazers (33-49) - Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge have nice game, but team was a disappointment

22) Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51) - Ricky Rubio shot bricks, and Kevin Love was injured. Team is building for the future.

23) Detroit Pistons (29-53) - Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are a solid, young, big frontcourt combo.

24) Washington Wizards (29-53) - John Wall looked like a seriously dangerous talent once he got going.

25) Sacramento Kings (28-54) - Sacramento got to keep their NBA team. That’s the one big win here. Good scoring, bad defense.

26) New Orleans Pelicans (27-55) - Hornets are now the Pelicans. Not many positives this season.

27) Phoenix Suns (25-57) - Played decent team basketball, but simply not talented enough to compete. Good season from Goran Dragic.

28) Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58) - Kyrie Irving is great (when healthy), but with Anderson Varejao injured there was very little help here.

29) Charlotte Bobcats (21-61) - Bobcats backcourt was OK. Rest of team was invisible. As a whole, team was awful at everything.

30) Orlando Magic (20-62) - Nikola Vucevic was decent. This was a D-League level team.

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