Author: Brett Pollakoff

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Three

LeBron gets loose for breakaway windmill slam in Game 3 vs. Celtics (VIDEO)


LeBron James put a little something extra on this uncontested, breakaway windmill slam he converted in the third quarter of Game 3 against the Celtics, but the steal he came away with in order to have this opportunity might have been more impressive.

James starts the possession on the low block, but sees almost immediately where the ball-handler will have no choice but to throw his next pass. James shoots the gap, and arrives in the passing lane before the ball does. Once he has it, his head start down to the other end of the floor is too great for anyone to be able to catch him.

Celtics’ Evan Turner commits flagrant foul on LeBron James in Game 3 vs. Cavaliers (VIDEO)

LeBron James

Late in the second quarter of Game 3 between the Celtics and the Cavaliers, Evan Turner dragged LeBron James to the floor to stop the easy points on a fast break, and was whistled for a flagrant-one foul because of it.

It wasn’t a terribly physical play, nor was it necessarily one that was dangerous. But after a physical first half where a similar play between Jonas Jerebko and Kyrie Irving was let go as a common foul by the officials, they likely made the call to let the players know to relax with the excessively-physical plays.

James has 17 points and eight rebounds at the intermission, and Cleveland closed on a 12-0 run to take a halftime lead of 56-48.

Spurs list Tony Parker as questionable for Game 3 vs. Clippers

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five

The Spurs evened their best-of-seven series against the Clippers at a game apiece with an overtime victory in Los Angeles on Wednesday, but Tony Parker had very little to do with it.

Parker finished with just one point on 0-of-6 shooting in 30 minutes of action — an uncharacteristically poor performance, to say the least.

It appears as though injury was the cause of his less-than-impactful output; Parker did what he could, but left the game with 5:10 to play, and was unable to return for the remainder of regulation, or any of the overtime session.

The team said tightness in Parker’s right Achilles was to blame, and as of now, the Spurs have listed him as questionable for Game 3 in San Antonio on Friday.

Parker hasn’t done much at all in the series, scoring just 11 total points on 4-of-17 shooting through its first two games. It’s a testament to the depth of the Spurs and the system in place that they’ve been able to overcome his disappearance to this point, but whether or not they’ll be able to do it while making a deep run through the postseason remains to be seen.

Grizzlies again cruise to easy win over Blazers, take 2-0 lead in first-round series

Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Two

The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 points in their Game 1 victory over the Blazers, and while Game 2 never got quite that out of hand, the result was the same nonetheless.

Memphis once again used stellar guard play and its strong team defense to frustrate Portland into 39 percent shooting, on the way to a 97-82 victory and a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

During the regular season, opposing guards regularly torched the Blazers defense. James Harden scored 44 and 45 points against Portland in separate performances, while Russell Westbrook had two 40-point games of his own. It’s been no different from Memphis so far in this series, just on a slightly smaller scale, and with the points coming from three players instead of one.

Mike Conley, Beno Udrih and Courtney Lee combined for 46 points on 18-of-31 shooting, while Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph — who were one and two for the Grizzlies in scoring during the regular season — combined to shoot 9-of-31 from the field for just 25 points.

On the Blazers’ side, LaMarcus Aldridge started out hot with nine first-quarter points, but overall Portland simply couldn’t get anything easy. A lot of that was of their own doing early on, with plenty of shots being forced, contested or rushed, and often times coming early in the shot clock.

Damian Lillard struggled to find his way for the second straight game. He finished 5-of-16 from the field in this one, after a 5-of-21 Game 1 performance. He’s 1-of-11 from three-point distance through the first two games of the series, and the one he finally hit came late in Game 2 with the contest already decided.

Portland was one of the league’s better home teams during the regular season, so maybe things change for Lillard and company when the series shifts on Saturday. But the Grizzlies appear to be playing too cohesively for the Blazers to be able to impose their will for extended stretches, and if Lillard and Nicolas Batum can’t give Aldridge some help offensively, this could shape up to be a very short series.

Report: Investment group which includes Grant Hill finalizing deal to buy Atlanta Hawks

Grant Hill

The current Hawks ownership group was forced to sell the team after Bruce Levenson made racially insensitive remarks in an internal email sent back in 2012.

The bidding was down to two groups a few weeks back, and now it appears as though a deal has been finalized.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Private equity billionaire Antony Ressler is leading a group that is finalizing a deal to purchase the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ressler’s group will purchase the team from majority owner Bruce Levenson for a figure somewhere between $750 million and $900 million, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Atlanta entrepreneur Jesse Itzler will be investors in the group, sources said.

Many wondered if the recent sale of the Clippers, which Steve Ballmer purchased for $2 billion, was the new benchmark for franchise values. But the process by which that deal was completed seems to have artificially inflated the price.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

The sale is expected to be announced north of $800 million, perhaps even as high as $850 million once it’s complete.