Defense, more than anything, but also some timely shooting.
First, with 9:12 remaining, OJ Mayo hit a 3 to put the Grizzlies up 95-71.
Then the Clippers started cooking. Chris Paul hit Reggie Evans for a lay-up. Blake Griffin hit a short jumper. Eric Bledsoe hit a 3 and a long 2. After Mike Conley hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 96-82, Blake answered with a gorgeous lay-in.
The way he made 3 Grizz defenders bite on the upfake before swiveling for the lay-up underneath was McHale in ‘84—at his finest.
A couple minutes passed without a score, but after an LA timeout, that’s when all hell broke loose on the Grizzlies.
Specifically, the 3-point barrage Nick Young had between 2:47 and 1:47 in the 4th quarter. Young hit 3 3-pointers and two of them were from almost the exact same spot in the right corner on feeds from Paul in mini-transitions.
1,2,3, all in a minute’s time. Boom, there’s 9 points and all of a sudden it’s 96-93 and the crowd is reeling.
At this point, Blake Griffin was fouled, and actually made both free throws! He cut the Memphis lead to 96-95.
During the 4th quarter run, Chris Paul twice found Reggie Evans rolling to the bucket, including this one to give the Clippers their first lead of the game, 97-96.
It was at this point—after a 26-1 run by the Clippers over the last 7:30—Memphis finally scored a field goal. Chris Paul got caught defending Rudy Gay in the right post. Gay backed him down and hit a simple turnaround over the 6 foot Paul to give the Grizzlies the lead back, 98-97.
This is when Tony Allen took on the challenge of defending Chris Paul. Unfortunately for the Grizz, he got tangled up with Paul near the right elbow and was whistled for a foul.
The Grizzlies were in the penalty, so Paul calmly sank both free throws to give the Clippers their second lead of the game, 99-98.
Even after losing a 24 point lead, Rudy Gay had a chance to win it for the Grizz at the end…
But he missed, and the Clippers won 99-98. They had come back from 24 down with 9 minutes remaining. They lead the series 1-0 going into game 2 in Memphis on Wednesday.
Ruh roh, Celtics fans. You just lost to the Hawks, but the ending was particularly nasty. After a loose ball foul on Brandon Bass with around 40 seconds remaining and emotions running high, Rajon Rondo screamed at a ref, got T’d up, and then continued to argue his point right into the ref’s back. I’m sure Stern is gonna suspend him (but for how many games?). Rondo visibly chest-bumped the ref from behind as he was getting the first T. You can’t do that. I hope he isn’t suspended, and you can make the case he might have tripped during his enthusiastic screaming, but check out what happened below. He didn’t trip, he chest-bumped, and may have chest-bumped his way out of this series. Stern does not take kindly to physicality with refs.
We’re almost done with the Boston-Atlanta game at the writing of this post, but there are already 6 games in the bag, so why not some gifs? I’ll avoid the plays I’ve already shown or written about the first two days of action.
Russell Westbrook sharing the ball with Kevin Durant.
Durant with a block on Jason Kidd from behind. The Mavericks could have used those 2 points.
Then again, Kidd had this nasty pass to a rotund Vince Carter. Not so rotund he couldn’t slam the ball though.
Serge Ibaka has made 2 treys this season. He hit the second one last night.
C.J. Watson will be replacing Derrick Rose as the Bulls’ starting point guard moving forward. Here he gives us a glimpse of his talent, with a reach-around dish to Noah for the dunk.
Against OKC in Dallas’ first game last night, Dirk Nowitzki did what Dirk Nowitzki does, and scored 10 of his team’s last 12 points. This 3-point play was more of the same from last summer as Dirk drove hard to his left, and banked in a one-footed, off-balance leaner from 10 feet. Ibaka was helpless. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and the Mavericks lost.
Manu with eyeballs in the back of his dome.
Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 19 points in their loss to the Lakers earlier this afternoon. But he did burn Kobe on this spin baseline for the reverse slam.
Tim Duncan burned Al Jefferson on this play—which flies in the face of what I wrote earlier this afternoon, but I saw Jefferson handle him a couple times (I promise)—then he threw it down with authority. Duncan likes dunkin’.
- 50 hours of rest between the last game of the season and the first playoff game
There has never been a basketball fan who is as hungry for basketball, as David Stern is for money.
Read Winston’s diatribe against David Stern. Normally Winston keeps his feelings in check, but this is one instance that forces EVERYONE to rise up in collectieve anger and discharge David Stern from his throne of snarky power.
The correlation between Rose’s injury and Stern’s schedule after losing games from the lockout, is hard to ignore. If you love basketball as much as we all do, you’ll reblog Winston’s post, plus any others calling for Stern to step down. The NBA, as a whole, should think long and hard about what David Stern has done.
These NBA playoffs will be incredible (that much I’m sure about), but lets not forget what happened before all the first games had even been played. The Chicago Bulls lost Derrick Rose. The Knicks, far from contention like the Bulls, still lost their best defender, Iman Shumpert.
That’s on Stern. Don’t forget that even as you cheer on your favorite team.
I wasn’t actively rooting for the Bulls, but now I’m rooting for the Bulls to win the title, then snub Stern at the podium. David Stern is a scumbag, and I’ll leave you with Winston’s closing remarks; however tinged with anger they may be—they’re right.
As for the NBA commissioner? He should step down at the end of the season. Good riddance, once & for all.
Kareem was suspended a grand total of 0 games for the punch. The 1980’s were tougher, but that’s because players were tougher. WMP’s elbow was a horrific accident. The 1980’s rough and tumble world and WMP’s unfortunate elbow are mutually exclusive. The defense rests.