LOS ANGELES — There wasn’t much insight to be gained from Vinny Del Negro’s session with the media before his Clippers took down the Grizzlies in Game 1 of their playoff matchup on Saturday.
But there was some fun at the very end, when Del Negro gave an honest answer to a question about the other NBA team that plays at Staples Center.
Del Negro was simply asked if the Lakers have a shot against the Spurs. His one-word answer, after pausing for a second or two: “No.”
The room responded with laughter at both the brevity and the clarity of the response, and Del Negro light-heartedly defended his choice by reminding us of where he spent six of his 12 seasons as an NBA player.
“I played for the Spurs,” he said.
Lakers fans didn’t think this was very funny, however, as evidenced by the way they laid waste to my Twitter mentions with hilarious (and largely profane) replies after I posted Del Negro’s remark Saturday night.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.