Grizzlies’ Tony Allen has strained left calf, will miss at least start of playoffs

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Memphis was already facing long odds going into a playoff series against the Spurs — a team that plays the Grizzlies’ style but better — and now things just got worse.

Tony Allen will miss at least the start of the playoffs — and maybe all of them — with a strained left calf muscle, the team announced. Here is the wording from the official press release:

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen has been diagnosed with a strain of the medial gastrocnemius muscle (calf) in his right leg. Allen is out indefinitely and will be continually re-evaluated while beginning rehab immediately.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports added these details.

The injury came in the first half of a meaningless game Wednesday night. And you wonder why teams rest guys.

Allen averages 9.1 points per game for the Grizzlies, but that’s not his primary role — he is an All-NBA Defensive Team level defender at the guard spot that the Grizzlies rely on to help shut opponents down. The Grizzlies outscore opponents by 1.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, they get outscored by almost a point per 100 when he sits.

This means Vince Carter will have a larger role for Memphis in the postseason, which is a boost to the offense but hurts defensively — Kawhi Leonard didn’t have a great regular season against the Grizzlies because Allen was on him. Now things will open up for the Spurs’ best player. Also, expect to see more Troy Daniels and James Ennis for the Grizzlies.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)