Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while trying to figure out how you could afford the home from “Scarface”….
The Portland Trail Blazers. Yes, they lost. Their season is over. If you think that deserves a low grade I pity you, learn to embrace the joy of the game — and these Blazers were worth embracing. They (and their fans) should look back on this season with pride. The Blazers had one of the best and most entertaining offenses in the NBA. LaMarcus Aldridge can hold his own with any four in the league. Damian Lillard’s star continues to rise. They need to be better on defense, some roster tweaks are coming, but this is a team on the rise in the West — one that was not expected to be this good this season. It was a great run, they should savor it.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs. I don’t really care what you nickname him, if he plays like this you can call him anything you want. When Tony Parker went down he stepped up. Defensively he seemed to be everywhere. He shot 6-of-8 inside eight feet and was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He had some great dunks. It was an impressive game and him playing like that makes these Spurs better than last year’s version.
LeBron James, Miami Heat. He wasn’t brilliant, but he was good enough — he had 12 points in the fourth quarter and helped spark the 13-3 run to close out the game that gave the Heat the win. He was there making defensive plays in the final seconds. He was the best player in this series, which is exactly what we expect him to be but we shouldn’t take it for granted. He alone can get the Heat to the Finals.
Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.
These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.
The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).
Just like coach David Fizdale drew it up.
The shot of Tuesday night went to Troy Williams, the starting Memphis guard who didn’t have a great night in the Grizzlies win over the Sixers but did hit this stumbling, falling, one-handed shot.
By the way, the Grizzlies are now 4-1 since Mike Conley‘s injury with this win. Didn’t see that coming.
Zach Randolph was away from the Memphis Grizzlies and its fans for seven games to deal with the passing of his mother, Mae. When he returned to the floor, something special was waiting for him.
During Z-Bo’s arrival against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, fans at FedEx Forum gave Randolph a standing ovation in support of his difficult time.
From ESPN NBA:
Randolph dropped 12 points, collected 14 rebounds, and added an assist as the Grizzlies beat the Sixers, 96-91, in a game that went down to the wire.
Teammates of Randolph — like Marc Gasol — were glad to have him back and let Randolph know he was being thought about during his absence.
Gasol even took to Twitter after the game in a heartwarming gesture:
CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers starting shooting guard J.R. Smith will miss at least one game – and probably more – with a hyperextended left knee.
The Cavs said an MRI taken on Smith’s knee on Tuesday did not reveal any structural damage, but he will sit out Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks. Smith got hurt in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win in Toronto on Monday night.
While his teammates flew to New York, Smith returned to Cleveland to undergo tests. The team said he is day to day while he receives additional treatment.
Smith’s knee buckled after he dropped a short shot in the lane in a 116-112 win over the Raptors. He had been bothered by soreness in his knee for the past week, and that may have contributed to his slow start this season.
Smith, who did not report to training camp before signing a four-year, $57 million contract before the opener, is averaging just 7.8 points and shooting a career-worst 31 percent from the floor. He’s shooting only 19 percent (8 of 42) in his last six games.
It’s not clear who will take Smith’s spot while he’s out. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has several options, including veterans Mike Dunleavy and Richard Jefferson. On Monday, Lue gave more playing time to DeAndre Liggins, who scored five points as the Cavs beat the Raptors for the third time this season.