From SI’s Chris Mannix, with a tip of the hat to The Basketball Jones and the DC Sports Bog:
Lately, [Young and Arenas] have been seeing each other plenty. In Memphis, the Clippers are staying at a hotel across the street from the arena, the same hotel Arenas moved into when he got to town. Young’s room is just a few floors above Arenas’, not that he spends much time in it. He’s downstairs, with Gilbert.
For hours Arenas and Young hang out, rekindling a friendship that was unceremoniously torn apart. They don’t do much. They watch television. They watch game film. And they talk trash. Arenas feeds Young disinformation (“We’re going to double you here”) and Young (“What do you know? You play like 10 minutes a game”) fires back. When they are hungry, they go eat. When they want to shop, they go to the mall. When they want coffee, they go to Starbucks together.
“Gil is like my family,” Young said. “His sons call me ‘uncle.’ It’s been really good to see him.”
Arenas and Young were, of course, teammates in Washington, which was a team with serious problems both on and off the court — problems which were often caused by Arenas and Young’s behavior, specifically Arenas’ decision to bring guns into the locker room. Now that both players have found their way into the playoffs, they’re putting their past behind them and focusing on their friendship, as well as the task at hand — beating each other’s teams.
Young was an integral part of the Clippers’ epic comeback win in game 1, as he came off the bench to hit 3 three-pointers in exactly one minute to cut the Grizzlies’ lead from 12 points to 3 points with just over a minute remaining. Arenas, who spent most of the season as an unsigned free agent, isn’t as important to his team as Young is, but he’s still being relied upon as a backup option at the point guard spot.
While we all love to see players battling it out on the court like nothing else matters, it’s also good to see stories like this, when we’re reminded that friendships can be more important than uniforms — at least until the opening tip.
The AP’s Paul J. Weber:
The Jazz are mapping a more physical game plan for All-Star Tony Parker after the Spurs point guard shredded them for 28 points in Game 1. Jazz point guard Devin Harris said his counterpart will likely be in for a ”hard foul or two” after Parker slashed into Utah’s big and bruising frontcourt without hesitation.
It wasn’t tough talk from Harris, who had complimented Parker in the same breath. Jazz center Al Jefferson said the goal was ”not to hurt him or nothing like that,” but rather to dissuade Parker from barreling into the paint and punishing Utah with either an acrobatic layup or kicking out to a 3-point shooter.
”The playoffs is physical. We just can’t let him feel like he can come down in that paint any time he ready,” Jefferson said.
Parker brushed off the warning Tuesday. He’s heard worse.
”It’s not the first time someone has said that,” Parker said. ”My answer is always going to be the same: I’m going to keep coming.”
Parker torched the Jazz for 28 points on 10-19 shooting and 8 assists in San Antonio’s 106-91 defeat of the Jazz in Game 1. Parker is clearly the “head of the snake” for San Antonio’s offense right now, and the Jazz will have to slow him down in tonight’s Game 2 if they want to have any chance of evening up the series before it goes to Salt Lake City. As NBA fans, all we can hope is that the Jazz don’t cross the line with Parker when they try to muscle him up and cause another injury in a playoffs that has already seen to many of them.
It’s been a very tough 49:09 of basketball for the Chicago Bulls, who finished the regular season with the Eastern Conference’s best record. At the end of Game 1, which the Bulls were winning comfortably, Derrick Rose awkwardly landed after a jump-stop and blew out his ACL, which ended Rose’s season and probably effectively ended the Bulls’ title hopes.
The Bulls, who are more than capable of beating the 76ers without Rose, did their best to come out tough in Game 2, and led 55-47 after the 1st half. However, the 76ers responded by thrashing the Bulls with a 36-14 3rd quarter, and Chicago was never able to recover. Lou Williams and Jrue Holliday, who both struggled in Game 1, absolutely torched Chicago in Game 2, combining to score 46 points on a combined 19-28 shooting from the field, and Evan Turner added 19 points of his own for Philadelphia.
The Bulls certainly didn’t have a bad game offensively, as Joakim Noah (21 points on 10-11 shooting from the field) led their offense to 92 points on 45.2% shooting from the field, which isn’t a bad showing against a top-5 defense like Philadelphia’s, but Tom Thibodeau’s top-ranked defense had few answers for the 76ers, which is odd because Rose is a much more integral part of Chicago’s offensive game plan than he is of their defensive one.
More than anything, Game 2 suggested that losing Rose (and the title hopes that go along with him) may have taken some of the wind out of Chicago’s sails, which is completely understandable. The Bulls have always played each game like it’s their last, with or without Rose, so I’d expect this to be an extremely competitive series that the Bulls still have a great chance of winning, but it looks like the psychological effects of losing a superstar in the first game of the playoffs may be taking their toll on the Bulls sooner rather than later.