JaMychal Green,

Spurs sign JaMychal Green to partially guaranteed contract

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The Spurs have had their eye on JaMychal Green for quite some time.

After he went undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, he played for San Antonio’s summer summer-league team. He spent that season with the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ D-League team. Then, following last season in France, Green joined San Antonio’s summer summer-league team once again this summer.

For most of that journey, Green was deemed – despite his hustle – too unrefined for the NBA.

That has changed.

Spurs team release:

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward JaMychal Green.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

That partial guarantee usually indicates a player is likely to make the team, but the Spurs now have 16 players with at least partially unguaranteed contracts – plus Aron Baynes.

A restricted free agent, Baynes remains unsigned. He had a fully guaranteed $1,115,243 qualifying offer that remains on the table until Oct. 1 if it wasn’t pulled by July 23. I’ve seen no reports San Antonio withdrew it, but that type of thing can fly below the radar. If the qualifying offer remains intact and Baynes accepts it – and I find it unlikely another NBA team offers more money, though a foreign team could – he’d give San Antonio 17 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts.

That’s two over the regular-season limit of 15.

Cotton’s deal is only $50,000 guaranteed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Green received a similar guarantee. Maybe the Spurs would be willing to eat the fully guaranteed salary of someone like Austin Daye, or perhaps they have a trade already lined up.

Possibly, San Antonio was just willing to give Green and Cotton partially guaranteed contracts to ensure its top targets were in its camp. But if Baynes re-signs, the Spurs would have room for neither Green nor Cotton without waiving a fully guaranteed player.

To an NBA team, spending $50,000 on a player is a relatively small investment. But it’s not one most teams make without a clear path for that player to join the roster. I’m not sure what San Antonio has in mind here, but it’s something.

Heat players past, present throw support behind David Fizdale heading to Memphis

David Fizdale
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The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.

It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.

Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.

Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.

Watch Kevin Love drop 25 points on Toronto

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Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.

Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.

Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?

Cavaliers’ defense foundation for blowout win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland blitzed Toronto from the opening tip.

Literally.

Cleveland cranked up their defensive pressure by getting back to aggressively blitzing Raptors’ guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan every time they came off a pick. Or they would chase DeRozan over the top of the pick and trail him, never letting him get comfortable to pull up from the midrange. Whatever the defensive scheme, the Cavaliers were physical with Lowry and DeRozan — the pair was 4-of-14 shooting in the first half.

From the start, the Cavaliers defense dictated the flow of the game and set the tone for a 38-point blowout win.

It is that defense they will need to close out this series on the road Friday night.

“We understood that coming back from Game 3 and Game 4 we just didn’t play our defense the right way,” LeBron James said after the game. “We didn’t play how we should have played, and they took advantage of every moment. We had to get back to our staple; we had to get back to what we wanted to do defensively in order for us to play a complete game. That’s the most satisfying thing, the way we defended, holding these guys to 39 percent shooting.”

Defense triggered the offensive runs by the Cavaliers in the first half — Cleveland had eight steals and scored 20 points off turnovers before halftime. Playing with a renewed energy, the Cavs did a fantastic job fighting over screens and disrupting plays, and they closed out on shooters at the arc. It was their best defensive game of the series. It was the polar opposite of how they played in Toronto.

“I think our intensity picked up, our aggressiveness picked up, we were very physical to start the game and it just kind of led to us getting out in transition, us getting steals and getting easy baskets,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

“They were locked in, from the start to the finish,” according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey.”The force that they play with is different here and we didn’t meet it.”

Back home and with their backs against the wall, you can expect a very different, very desperate Raptors team. Lowry and DeRozan will shoot better.

But if the Cavaliers pack their defense and take it north of the border this time, they should close out the series.

LeBron James was dunking all over the Raptors (VIDEO)

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With their defense creating turnovers to get breaks — and the Raptors’ defense just breaking down — the Cavaliers put on a dunking exhibition against Toronto Wednesday.

LeBron James led the way, with 23 points and plenty of dunks. Here is another.

To change things up, here is an and-1.