The “end” of the Memphis’ Grizzlies season just relies on a few mathematical kinks. The Grizz currently sit at ninth in the West, putting them just outside the post-season crowd. That’s an impressive feat given Memphis’ preseason projections, but the 6.5 games that stand between Memphis and the impressive Portland Trailblazers might as well be an ocean. There just isn’t enough time for the Grizzlies to make a serious run at the eighth seed, and Portland has shown no sign of letting up.
It’s just a matter of time until the Grizz are mathematically eliminated, rendering their season more or less over. Nobody told that to Ronnie Brewer, though, who still hopes to return from a hamstring injury to play again this season. From Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
“I’m still working my way onto the team in practice and trying to
get stronger,” Brewer said. “I’ll come back when it feels closer to
Brewer returned to action March 16, a little more than three weeks
after he suffered a partially torn right hamstring. The 6-8
guard/forward insists he didn’t come back too soon. “No. I don’t think so,” Brewer said. “The first game, it felt really
good. The second game, it was weaker. I really couldn’t do the things
I’m capable of doing, so I decided to take a step back.”
Brewer, a restricted free agent this summer, still sounds as if he’s eager to carve out his place on the Grizzlies. “My goal is to get back on the floor,” Brewer said, “because I feel like I can help this team.”
Power to him, though I’m sure no one would blame Brewer for working on resting and recovering instead of getting back on the hardwood. There’s no need to risk aggravating the injury, after all, if the Grizzlies don’t have any tangible gains to play for. The free agency angle is certainly an interesting wrinkle in this scenario, although I wouldn’t doubt Brewer’s sincere desire to return to the court in a season where he’s only played 58 games.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.
Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.
So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.
Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.