The San Antonio Spurs are here. Still playing. Manu Ginobili hit a wild shot. Gary Neal hit the thrilling game saver to force overtime. Tony Parker morphed into Tony Parker circa 2005 in the overtime. San Antonio staved off elimination Wednesday in dramatic fashion.
But it did not change the underlying issues in this series. The things that put the Grizzlies up 3-1 in this series are still there heading into Game 6 in Memphis Friday night (Memphis is now up 3-2). So long as the Grizzlies stay true to who they are — as they have through the first five games — it may take another San Antonio miracle to force a Game 7. And it’s hard to survive on miracles.
Memphis still has Zach Randolph and the Spurs still have no good answer for that. Mark Gasol and Mike Conley continue to be rock solid, consistent every game. Memphis continues to defend the corner three well (the Spurs are shooting 2.4 fewer of their bread-and-butter shots per game and are hitting 39 percent, down fro 42 percent in the regular season). The Spurs are shooting just 31 percent from three overall in the series. Memphis continues to own the paint. And the boards.
And now Memphis goes home. With the chance to close out the franchise’s first ever playoff series win in front of their home crown in a legendary upset. They are going to bring it hard.
At this point in a series there are no more surprise coaching adjustments, it’s simply execution. The Spurs are going to need the Manu Ginobili from Game 5 — 33 points on 18 shots — and the Parker from overtime of that game to pull off the win. The Spurs will need Tim Duncan to jump in the hot tub time machine for a night because this older one struggles against the Grizzlies twin big men. San Antonio cannot count on end of game heroics. Not this time.
San Antonio needs to find the Spurs from December, the ones whose offensive execution ripped everyone apart. Otherwise this will be the last stand for the West’s top seed this season.
Matt Barnes is an instigator. He has been arrested for domestic violence. He also had a weird thing where he implied he was dating Rihanna only for her to claim they’d never never met.
Which is to say this is believable – that the Grizzlies forward attacked Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating his estranged wife.
Ian Mohr of the New York Post:
Sources said Fisher was at the LA home of Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife, who stars on “Basketball Wives LA” — on Saturday. Fisher and Govan have been dating for “a few months,” a source said, after Fisher filed to divorce his wife of 10 years, Candace, in March.
But when Barnes learned that Fisher was at his former home with Gloria, he drove 95 miles to LA to “beat the s–t” out of Fisher, sources said.
“Derek was in Gloria’s back yard with about 10 people having a bonfire on Saturday,” said a source. “Derek’s separated from his wife and there’s a relationship with [Gloria].”
The source added, “Barnes was in Santa Barbara [at Memphis Grizzlies training camp] and heard that Fisher was in his house. He went crazy. He got in his car and went to the house and went after Fisher.”
A source close to Fisher confirmed the fight but said, “Matt came after Derek but he only had a few scratches … Derek’s not going to press charges, he’s going to let it go.”
Even if Fisher – who missed practice Monday for what the Knicks called “personal reasons” – isn’t pressing charges, the NBA is investigating.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This is a weird jurisdictional issue, especially if no criminal charges are filed. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the league punishes Barnes – a former Lakers teammate of Fisher – if it finds evidence to support the Post’s description of events.
Caron Butler wrote an autobiography, a recently published excerpt details his accounting of the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident when they were with the Wizards.
An excerpt of the excerpt in The Washington Post:
When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert.
“Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”
“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”
He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.
Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature. They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him.
Somebody outside the locker room called 911. Flip Saunders was the coach back then, but he was too scared to even come into the locker room.
Click through to read the entire excerpt. It’s captivating.
Arenas is essentially retired and still spouting off silly takes.
Crittenton is currently serving a 23-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
Butler plays for the Kings.