Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

Spurs/Grizzlies preview: Game 2 will be closer, but will that be enough for Memphis?

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Game 2 is not going to look like Game 1.

Memphis is not going to get its doors blown off from the opening tip as happened in their Game 1 loss. You can expect better pick and roll defense out of Memphis. You can also expect better ball movement and more Zach Randolph. You can expect the kinds of adjustments out of Lionel Hollins and his staff that had them losing the first games of the last two series and still going on to advance. You can also expect the Spurs will miss a shot or two, they will not stay as hot shooting (14-of-29 from three) as they did in Game 1.

But will all that be enough against the Spurs remains to be seen?

San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio Tuesday to get a split in the series.

That has to start on defense, where the Spurs carved up the Grizzlies on the pick-and-roll. Notice that one thing the Spurs did was use whatever big man was not being guarded by Marc Gasol to come up and set the initial pick — San Antonio schemed to keep the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year away from the ball. Smart. It left Randolph and Darrell Arthur as the bigs trying to show out on Parker, or it left Mike Conley trying to fight over the top of the pick. The result was Parker having space, the Grizzlies collapsing on him and ending up in a scramble. Then Memphis paid the price.

On offense, the Grizzlies need more Zach Randolph, but to make that work he may need to start the game as a decoy — other guys will have to hit shots.

The Spurs fronted and denied passing lanes to Randolph, then brought help off of the corners to double him — Memphis never swung the ball quickly to the open men to make them pay. Memphis hesitated and the Spurs defense reset.

They need better ball movement this time and some guys are going to have to knock down outside shots — Tayshaun Prince, we’re looking at you — to space out the floor. Do that, slow the help and Randolph will have room to operate and do damage.

What that all boils down to is you can expect a tougher, grittier, grindier (sure, that’s a word) Memphis team on Tuesday night.

But you can also expect the Spurs to execute like the well-oiled machine they are. They will still share the ball and guys will get looks. And that may still be too much for Memphis (expect Tim Duncan to have more than 6 points this time).

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

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The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show got the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score 6 (!) fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
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Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.