Grizzlies' Tony Allen celebrates on the bench during the third quarter in Game 3 of their NBA Western Conference final playoff basketball series against the San Antonio Spurs in Memphis

Tony Allen is watching broadcast replays during game to find an edge

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There are certain things Tony Allen does. Play his pregame music at deafening volume, for one. Watch a lot of film to gain a defensive edge, for another.

Allen is even trying to watch some film during games against the Spurs to gain an edge.

That from a great note by Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com.

At every timeout, Tony Allen did the same thing. The Memphis Grizzlies were gathering at their bench, forming a semi-circle around coach Lionel Hollins, but Allen walked away from his team and toward the other team. Toward the Spurs…

I watched this happen twice. But for the third timeout, I looked away from Allen, toward the Spurs’ bench. What was he staring at? What were they doing down there, anyway?

And then I saw it. This big TV screen, maybe 35 inches, sitting at midcourt. It was the screen used by the referees to study replays, and it was aimed at the Grizzlies’ bench. The Spurs’ bench was behind the TV, but it dawned on me: Allen wasn’t watching the Spurs; he was watching the TV. He was watching the replays.

As you likely know, television broadcasts are on a several second delay from real time. And as you also know, before a broadcast goes to timeout there is almost always a replay of a recent key play shown as the broadcasters give the score and say they will be right back.

Allen was watching those replays looking for an edge. You have got to love that. It’s a great story.

Unfortunately for him, the edge the Grizzlies need in this series can’t be found on tape. As well as Memphis has played, their need for perimeter shooting has been greatly exposed this series as the Spurs have all but ignored Allen and Tayshaun Prince on the wings to provide more support inside. The Grizzlies have tried to counter with Quincy Pondexter, but that brings other concerns. (And don’t say that’s where the Grizzlies miss Rudy Gay — he shot 32 percent from three this season and the Spurs would gladly have let him take his mediocre outside shot all game long.)

But Allen is still the kind of guy you want on your team — a ferocious defender who is always looking for an edge. Which is why the Grizzlies need to find a way to bring the unrestricted free agent back.

Three Hawks lose uncontested rebound out of bounds (video)

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How did Mike Scott, Mike Dunleavy and Malcolm Delaney fail to secure this rebound?

No wonder the Hawks lost to a Clippers team playing without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

James Harden makes impressive chase-down block. Really. (video)

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If we’re going to post all of James Harden‘s defensive lowlights, it’s only fair to acknowledge this impressive block.

Please overlook the fact that Jason Terry is 39 years old.

Steven Adams posterizes Rudy Gobert AND Derrick Favors with one thunderous dunk (video)

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Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors form an impressive defensive tandem that usually walls off the paint.

If there were any walls here, Steven Adams jumped right over them.

Video Breakdown: How Kyle Lowry dismantles NBA defenses from 3-point range

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Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry is arguably the team’s best player thanks in large part to his increase in 3-point shooting ability this season. He’s just above 43 percent from deep this year, much better than his career average of 36 percent. Lowry has increased his 3-point percentage six points over last season, and he’s a big part of why the Raptors are so good on offense, and why they’re a contender in the Eastern Conference.

So how does he do it?

Watch the full video breakdown on Lowry’s 3-point shooting above, or read the text version of the article below.

Early Offense

I looked at a lot of tape of Lowry over the last 3 years and he hasn’t changed much on his shot mechanics. There’s no big change in his sweep or sway toward the basket when he shoots, and he still brings the ball up from his left side.

Part of his leap is be how quickly he’s getting his shots off and how many of his early offense field goal attempts come in the form of 3-pointers.

Lowry has bumped up how many 3-pointers he’s taken in the early offense, recorded here as between 24 and 15 seconds on the shot clock. Year-over-year he’s taken nearly eight percent more of his field goals as three pointers in this range.

This takes form on the court in a couple of ways, both in transition on the fast break and on quick 1 or 2 dribble pull ups off the pick-and-roll.

Transition

With the ball in secondary transition here, Lowry gets a quick screen from DeMarre Carroll to open him up for a 3-point bucket against the Hornets. And that’s still with 18 seconds left on the shot clock!

Pull-up and off-the-bounce jumpers

The other way Lowry scores quickly is off the dribble, with quick pick and rolls. Toronto is great at screen assists — picks leading to an immediate field goal — and have three players in the Top 50 and two in the Top 10 in setting them.

Here, the Celtics defender cuts off Lowry’s attack to the middle of the floor. The screener sets up to Lowry’s right, but then quickly flips it to his left. One dribble, and it’s an easy 3-pointer.

Here against Portland, the Raptors run a two screen setup with one wing and one post. The Blazers make the switch and try to blitz Lowry, but he stays resilient and sinks the bucket with what little space they allow him anyway.

Working with DeMar DeRozan

The other thing that’s been talked about a lot is the gravity of DeMar DeRozan, who himself is having a career year for the Raptors. While Lowry is making a ton of unassisted 3-pointers this year, the Raptors point guard does benefit from DeMar.

Part of that is how good they are in transition together.

Here you can see DeMar bringing the ball up the court with Lowry in front of him. He sets the screen, then fades to the arc. Three Utah Jazz are trying to stop DeRozan, and Lowry is left all alone.

When he’s not the primary ball handler on the break, Lowry will immediately get out to the wing. DeRozan has a way of finding him to get up quick Js.

Of course, in good old set plays the Raptors see this gravity effect as well.

Here Toronto is running another double screen with a guard and a post, but Lowry is one of the screeners. At this point, all three Heat players are guarding against DeRozan’s midrange jumper, leaving just enough daylight for Lowry.

Toronto is also third in the NBA in “hockey” or secondary assists, which means two or more passes leading to a made field goal.

On this baseline out of bounds play, again it’s DeRozan’s gravity that frees up Lowry. As the ball is inbounded, DeRozan sucks three warriors defenders with him, including Lowry’s. Meanwhile, Kyle is running down the baseline to get a bucket off a pass on the opposite side of the floor. All the raps have to do is rotate the ball.

So that’s a little bit on why Kyle Lowry has been so good. It’s been about shot selection, decisiveness, and some practice in addition to the effectiveness of his teammates.