Mike Conley, Marc Gasol lead Grizzlies past Suns, 130-112

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Mike Conley scored 29 points and Marc Gasol added 28 while making all five of his 3-point shots to lead the Memphis Grizzlies past the Phoenix Suns, 130-112 on Tuesday night.

Zach Randolph finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Tony Allen had 11 points as Memphis shot 56 percent, including 12 of 25 from outside the arc. The 130 points were a season high for Memphis, which won its second straight.

Conley was 10 of 19 from the field. Gasol shot 10 of 16 and Randolph was 10 of 15 as Memphis shot a season-best percentage from the field.

Eric Bledsoe had 20 points for the Suns, while TJ Warren finished with 17 and Alex Len had 12. Devin Booker, the Suns’ second-leading scorer at 21.1 points a game, was limited to nine points on 3 of 11 from the floor.

Phoenix lost its third straight and 13th in the last 16.

After a close first half, Gasol converted his fourth straight 3-pointer of the game to provide Memphis its largest lead at that point, 72-66 early in the third. Both teams were still shooting in the vicinity of 55 percent.

Memphis would use 11 points from Gasol in the third to grab the first double-digit lead of the game late in the quarter before carrying a 93-85 lead into the fourth.

The Grizzlies broke the game open with the first seven points of the final period, eventually extending the lead to 19 points on Conley’s 3-pointer near the midway point.

In a testy first half that led to the ejection of veteran Vince Carter in the first quarter, both teams shot better than 50 percent and the Suns carried a 56-55 lead into the break.

Carter received a pair of technicals after a scuffle involving members of both teams and the Suns built an early nine-point lead. Memphis made several runs at the advantage, but could never build a lead of more than three points.

Phoenix led at the half despite 14 points from Gasol and 13 from Conley.


Suns: Bledsoe has reached double figures in 46 straight games, dating to Nov. 19. .The Suns are 2-12 their last 14 meetings with Memphis. .It was the first time Booker did not reach double figures since scoring eight points against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 28.

Grizzlies: Memphis played its first home game since Feb. 15, before the All-Star break. .Memphis made 12 3-pointers, marking the 29th time this season the Grizzlies have made at least 10 from outside the arc. .Memphis scored 38 points in the third quarter, matching the most points in a quarter this season. .Memphis’ previous high for points this season was 128 against Golden State on Jan. 6. .The previous high this season for field goal percentage was 53.9 percent against Houston on Jan. 13.


Some have wondered if the Grizzlies would tweak their starting lineup to put slumping forward Chandler Parsons in a different role. Coach David Fizdale is not ready tinker with the lineup just yet. “As we go down the stretch,” he said, “I’m going to make sure I look at everything to give us the best chance to win moving forward and going into the playoffs. Nothing is going to happen right now, but I’m definitely evaluating everything.”


For the second consecutive game between the teams, there was an altercation, this time between Carter and Booker in the first quarter. Carter flicked an arm out at Booker after a foul was called on the Suns guard, and Booker hit the floor hard. There was an exchange of words and after review, Carter was given a pair of techs, sending him to the locker room. The last time the teams faced each other on Feb. 8, the closing minute included a ruckus that started with trash talking between Memphis reserve Troy Daniels and Booker. Six players received technicals and three were ejected, including Daniels. Later, Len was given a one-game suspension by the league for leaving the bench area.


Suns: Open a season-high, five-game homestand on Thursday against the Charlotte Hornets.

Grizzlies: Travel to Dallas on Friday to face the Mavericks.

Hornets’ coach gives savage, frank assessment of Willy Hernangomez

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When Willy Hernangomez was not getting much run with the Knicks this season, especially as injuries opened up space in the front line rotation, there were questions as to why. Then the #freeWillyHernangomez movement popped up.

Eventually, Hernangomez was traded to the Hornets where… he barely plays. He’s gotten more than 10 minutes just once since coming to Charlotte.

What gives? Hornet’s coach Steve Clifford didn’t hold back when answering that question to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“If you were in one place and didn’t play much, if you want to play more in the next place, I’d say work harder and kill myself,” Clifford said at the Hornets shootaround at the Players Association’s midtown headquarters. “The reality is he wasn’t playing here for a reason. He’s got to change things…

“He’s not up to speed on what we’re doing to play a lot,” Clifford said. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle for him. He’s smart, but he’s not this high-flier, phenomenal, natural athlete able to make up ground. He’s got to be on top of things, especially on the defensive end. If he’s not detailed defensively, he’s not that [athletic] guy…

“To be an every-night player, and I’ve told him this, he’s got to improve his shooting,” Clifford said. “He is right now, in my opinion, a back-to-the-basket player who can pass. But the reality is his passing doesn’t come into play until they have to get close to him and know he’s not going to knock down a shot. And he’s not a knockdown shooter.”

Well then.

Just to be clear he’s got to put in a lot more effort, become smarter on the defensive end, and improve his shooting. That’s a healthy off-season checklist.

Hernangomez has another year on his contract at a very reasonable $1.5 million before the Hornets have to make any kind of decision on him, which means whoever is the new GM in Charlotte he will choose to keep Hernangomez around. For now. He flashed potential his rookie season with the Knicks, when asked to play strictly to his strengths, but Clifford and the Hornets — and basically every other team in the NBA — is going to ask more of him.

Clifford was clear, as no doubt he has been clear to Hernangomez (Clifford is as straight a shooter as the league has). The ball is in Hernangomez’s court.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis denies drug charges while eating Popeyes on a charter plane

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Best. Denial. Ever.

Last month, former NBA player Glen “Big Baby” Davis was arrested last month at a hotel in a suburb of Baltimore by Jimmy McNulty and Lt. Daniels with 126 grams of marijuana and more than $96,000 in cash, according to a police report. He has been charged with possession and intent to distribute.

Davis has declared his innocence in the best denial video ever — eating Popeyes chicken and flashing cash and a championship ring.

I have no idea whether Davis is guilty or not, I was not at a Hampton’s Inn outside Baltimore last month. The court system will sort that out, that is what it’s there for.

But I know a brilliant video when I see one. This is it.

Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.