AP

Marc Gasol’s triple-double helps Grizzlies top Hawks 103-91

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ATLANTA (AP) Marc Gasol had 18 points as part of his triple-double and the resurgent Memphis Grizzlies beat the Atlanta Hawks 103-91 on Thursday night.

Gasol, who had 10 rebounds and 10 assists, reached the triple-double with his assist on JaMychal Green‘s 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining.

The Grizzlies have won three straight – including road games at Chicago and Atlanta on back-to-back nights – following a five-game losing streak.

Mike Conley and Green had double-doubles for Memphis. Conley had 22 points and 12 assists, while Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led Atlanta with 18 points.

Memphis led 55-52 at halftime before extending the lead with a 13-4 run to open the second half.

Gasol caused early defensive problems for Atlanta as he scored nine of the Grizzlies’ first 14 points. When Dwight Howard was slow to follow Gasol to the perimeter before Gasol made a 3-pointer, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer called a timeout and assigned Paul Millsap on the center.

Minutes later, Ersan Ilyasova fouled Gasol, who made both free throws.

Budenholzer called another timeout midway through the third quarter after Gasol penetrated before passing out to Tony Allen, who sank a 3-pointer to push the lead to double digits at 66-56 lead. Following the timeout, Gasol missed a jump hook but Allen’s jam off the rebound pushed the lead to 12.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Allen and Brandon Wright each had 10 points. … Coach David Fizdale said 40-year-old Vince Carter‘s continued production is a result of his career-long dedication to conditioning. “He’s the first guy in the weight room after the game working out, which most guys don’t do,” Fizdale said. “He’s always consistently done it. He’s prepared himself over the course of his career to play longer.”

Hawks: Ilyasova leads the NBA in charges taken. “I think there’s an art to it,” Budenholzer said, adding “a willingness to give up your body is one of the big things.” The Hawks acquired Ilyasova from the 76ers on Feb. 22 for Tiago Splitter and draft picks, and Budenholzer said the ninth-year veteran’s knack for drawing charges is “a nice little added perk,” but wasn’t the reason for the deal. … Hardaway made two 3-pointers, going 2 of 9. He has at least one 3 in 20 consecutive games, the longest stretch of his career. … Falcons star Julio Jones had a front-row seat.

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Host San Antonio on Saturday in the first of two games against the Spurs in six days.

Hawks: Open a three-game road trip at Charlotte on Saturday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.