Associated Press

Tony Allen has season-high 22 as Grizzlies down Rockets 110-105

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HOUSTON (AP) — Tony Allen scored a season-high 22 points, Mike Conley added 17 and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit for a 110-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Memphis led by two late in the fourth quarter before scoring the next five points, capped by a 3-pointer by Troy Daniels, to make it 110-103 with 26 seconds left. A dunk by James Harden came next, but Houston missed two shots after that to allow the Grizzlies to hold on for their third win in four games.

Harden had 27 points and nine assists for the Rockets, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Memphis was up by one in the fourth when Conley tossed a ball from about halfcourt as he fell into the front row of seats to Allen for a dunk. Conley hit a 3-pointer a few seconds later to push the lead to 101-95 with about 5 minutes left.

The Grizzlies scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with five from Zach Randolph, to go on top for the first time in the second half, 92-85. Houston got going after that, scoring the next seven points to tie it with about 8 minutes left.

The Rockets led by 15 after an alley-oop dunk by Montrezl Harrell with about 9 minutes left third quarter. The Grizzlies then used a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 71-64 with about three minutes later.

Houston hadn’t scored a basket in almost four minutes when Harrell made a jumper with about 5 minutes left. Consecutive 3-pointers by Eric Gordon helped leave Houston ahead 79-68.

It didn’t take long for Memphis to start another run as Gasol hit a 3-pointer after that to start a 15-5 spurt that got the Grizzlies within 84-83 with about a minute left in the third. Daniels had two 3s in that stretch and Randolph added one.

Sam Dekker made a free throw for Houston near the end of the quarter to leave Houston ahead 85-83 entering the fourth.

Houston made just 2 of 14 3-pointers in the third quarter and shot just 25 percent overall in the period, while the Grizzlies made 5 of 10 3s and shot 65 percent to close the gap.

Houston led 64-51 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Allen fouled out with 3:35 remaining. … Randolph finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. … Daniels scored 13 points.

Rockets: Gordon returned after missing two games with a toe injury and had 13 points. … Harrell scored 10 points for his ninth double-digit scoring game in the last 13. … Coach Mike D’Antoni received a technical foul early in the second quarter. … Houston has scored 100 points or more in 28 straight games.

NO LOVE

Memphis forward Chandler Parsons did not get a warm welcome in his return to Houston, getting booed loudly every time he touched the ball. Parsons was drafted by the Rockets in 2011 and played three seasons in Houston before leaving for Dallas. He spent two seasons there before joining the Grizzlies this season. He finished with five points, two rebounds and two steals.

 

This story has been corrected to show that the Grizzlies have won three of four, not four straight.

Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer agree to part ways

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This was expected.

It was pretty obvious Mike Budenholzer didn’t want to stick around and lose a lot of games with the Atlanta Hawks as they rebuild the next few years, especially after he had been stripped of his GM powers. Budenholzer went well down the road with the Phoenix Suns about their open coaching position before thinking better of it. Since then he has set up a meeting with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy, a job he reportedly wants badly.

At this point there was no need for the Hawks and Budenholzer to continue their sham marriage, so they have agreed to amicably separate, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the Hawks.

Budenholzer said this to Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

For Budenholzer, the long-time Spurs assistant and a strong Xs and Os coach, look for him to both push for the Knicks job and be in the running if/when the Milwaukee Bucks job opens up whenever their season ends. In both cases he’s a fit — those are teams that need a culture and system reset, and Budenholzer proved he can bring that to Atlanta (that was a good team before they let Al Horford and Paul Millsap walk for nothing).

With Atlanta, they likely will turn to a top assistant coach who will get a chance to develop young players on that team (and not cost Atlanta as much as an established coach). Stephen Silas of the Hornets is a rumored name, but there are others.

LeBron James overrules controversial finish with game-winning 3-pointer (video)

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LeBron James‘ turnover with the game tied late looked like a bad call. LeBron’s block of Victor Oladipo on the ensuing possession looked like a goaltend.

Did the Cavaliers get robbed of a crucial possession? Did the Pacers get robbed of two go-ahead points?

LeBron nullified those questions with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 98-95 win and a 3-2 series lead. The game-winner capped a great game by LeBron (44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) and moves the Cavs to the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

The odds are even better with LeBron. LeBron has won 11 straight closeout games, nine of them on the road. He’ll have another opportunity Friday with Game 6 in Indiana.

Raptors’ ‘culture reset’ shines in Game 5 win over Wizards

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The Raptors promoted ball movement. They emphasized 3-point shooting. They empowered their reserves.

This was why.

Backups Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and starting center Jonas Valanciunas – who was benched in previous postseasons due to his old-fashioned style, but expanded his game beyond the arc this year – scored Toronto’s final 18 points in a 108-98 Game 5 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Stars DeMar DeRozan (0-for-4 from the field) and Kyle Lowry (0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-2 on free throws) struggled down the stretch, as the Raptors burst open what had been a one-point lead.

Though DeRozan (32 points) and Lowry (17 points and 10 assists) were good overall, they succumbed late in previous playoff games. Toronto didn’t want that duo stuck with the burden of creating so much in a stagnate offense.

Hence, Masai Ujiri’s famous “culture reset.”

The results have been mixed so far against a tougher-than-average-eight-seed Washington. But at least the Raptors – up 3-2 entering Friday’s Game 6 in Washington – are on the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

Raptors honor victims of van attack before Game 5 (photos)

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TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors honored the victims the deadly van attack Monday with a moment of silence Wednesday night before Game 5 of their playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

Players from both teams held up banners with the hashtag #TORONTOSTRONG as they stood on the court during the tribute and the national anthems that followed:

The Raptors, the Wizards and the NBA will make a donation to a fund for victims and those affected by the incident.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri spoke about the attack after the Raptors practiced Tuesday.

“What we do doesn’t really matter sometimes,” Ujiri said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on that sidewalk.”

Guard Kyle Lowry said he was impressed by the actions of Const. Ken Lam, who earned international acclaim for peacefully arresting of suspect Alek Minassian.

“In America he would definitely have been shot up,” Lowry said. “He did an amazing job of making a judgment call. I think more people could learn from that.”

Coach Dwane Casey was struck by how close the carnage occurred to his own Toronto neighborhood,

“It’s not too far from up the street from where I live,” Casey said.

Casey and his coaches were in the midst of a meeting Monday afternoon when assistant Rex Kalamian’s phone buzzed with someone informing him of the tragedy. The coaches stopped their meeting and turned on a television to find out what had happened.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Casey said. “Just this weekend I was talking to people saying how safe Toronto is, how it’s a melting pot and you don’t have the same crime. Hopefully though, sport can offer a relief, some reprieve.”

Like Casey, Ujiri said he is proud of Toronto’s reputation as a safe, welcoming place.

“Everywhere I go, I brag about this city,” Ujiri said. “It’s the safest place in the world. It’s the best city in the world and it’s going to continue to be the best place and the best city in the world.”

Toronto police said the 10 people killed and 14 injured in the attack were “predominantly” women, but have declined so far to discuss a motive. The 25-year-old Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.