The Memphis Grizzlies have to be shaking their heads in disbelief right now. While the Grizzlies’ blown opportunity in Game 3 wasn’t nearly as disastrous as their historic Game 1 collapse, the fact of the matter is that Memphis could easily be up 3-o on the Clippers right now, but instead they find themselves down 2-1 thanks to two games that were decided by a grand total of two points.
Chris Paul was once again fantastic — he finished the game with 24 points, 11 assists, and 4 steals, and scored or assisted on six of the Grizzlies’ final seven points of the game. Foul trouble limited DeAndre Jordan to just 18 minutes of play, but the Clippers still held their own in the paint, outscoring Memphis 34-20 inside the painted area. The Clippers also prevented Memphis from winning the transition game — both teams had exactly 17 turnovers, and the Grizzlies only managed to grab one more offensive rebound than the Clippers did. Randy Foye did a great job in giving Los Angeles the 2nd option they so desperately needed, scoring 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
On the Grizzlies’ side of things, Rudy Gay led Memphis with 24 points, although he missed a potential game-winning jumper with just seconds left. The Grizzlies have played great basketball in this series, but the breaks didn’t go their way in games 1 or 3, and now they need a road win to keep from falling into a huge 3-1 series hole. They can pull it off, but they need to keep their eyes on the prize and play for the full 48 minutes if they want to tie this series back up.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.