Author: Kurt Helin

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol drains game winner to beat Rockets (VIDEO)


It was tied and tight at the end, with the feel of a playoff game between Memphis and Houston. Both teams went to their stars at the end to get the win.

Houston isolated James Harden, who drove around his defender into the trees of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol but didn’t the call he was hunting (Randolph got away with a reach).

Marc Gasol didn’t go hunting. Through the key stretches of the game, Kevin McHale had Terrence Jones on Gasol, and while Jones had a fantastic game (again) that is a tough matchup for him. The play was Gasol isolated (it was supposed to be at the elbow, but he was almost out to the wing), he drove and Jones couldn’t stop him.

Game winner.

If you’re wondering “how do the Grizzlies win close games in the playoffs without a superstar” go watch that video again. They have the guys.

(Sorry that this video has the homer Rockets announcers on it. They certainly can make a case Harden deserved that late call, that’s how fans should react, but that’s also far from the only reason the Rockets lost the game.)

Anthony Davis returns to Pelicans’ lineup after five game absence

Anthony Davis
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The New Orleans Pelicans are just one game out of the playoffs in the West, although catching and passing the Oklahoma City Thunder will be a tall task. One that would be nearly impossible without Anthony Davis in the lineup.

He’s back.

After missing five games due to a shoulder strain the Pelicans’ franchise player and All-Star big will play Wednesday night against the Pistons, coach Monty Williams confirmed pregame.

“His workouts have gone well,” Williams said of Davis. “He had a really good workout yesterday. A semi-workout this morning. He passed everything with flying colors, so we’re happy to have him back in the lineup.”

The Pelicans went an impressive 4-1 without Davis, doing it with an amazing offense scoring 109.1 points per 100 possessions (the best in the league over that stretch). Tyreke Evans should take a lot of credit for that with his play during the run.

But the Pelicans need Davis back. He has averaged 23.9 points on 54 percent shooting, plus pulled down 10.3 rebounds a game. While he’s an offensive force it’s the other end of the court where he may be more needed, he brings 2.7 blocks and a lot of intimidation in the paint to New Orleans.

Report: Mark Rachesky jumps into bidding for Hawks; price tag north of $900 million

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When news leaked out recently that the highest bid for the Atlanta Hawks was $800 million, we noted that the only reason to leak that number this early in the process — those were the early, non-binding bids — was to drive up the price. Try to create a bidding war.

Well, there is at least one new player and the price to be in the hand is indeed going up.

Mark Rachesky, a guy known for snapping up businesses at a bargain after their rough times, has entered the bidding, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. And the bid mentioned a week ago is already old news.

Mark Rachesky, chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment and a noted distressed-asset investor, has emerged as the most recent bidder for the Atlanta Hawks, according to league sources.

Sources told that Rachesky, ‎who heads the investment firm MHR Fund Management, is a close associate of Atlanta Braves controlling owner John Malone, which is said to have sparked Rachesky’s interest in the Hawks.

That’s interesting because the Braves are building a new stadium out in the Cobb County suburbs and getting out of downtown, urban Atlanta — the area the Hawks have embraced this season. The Hawks are seeing sellouts in part because of that shift (that and the winning team).

The Atlanta price tag will not be a bargain. Soon, after some background checks, the interested parties will be asked to put their real, final bids on the table.

Binding offers would then follow, with one source telling this week that at least one of the interested groups has made its willingness known to pay in excess of $900 million for the team.

There are multiple groups in on the bidding, some with local faces in front of foreign money. There is the group Atlanta legend Hank Aaron is fronting (they have both domestic and foreign investors). There is the group Grant Hill is in on, along with Junior Bridgeman ‎and Jerry Colangelo. There are some other groups, at least one working to court Dominique Wilkins and other NBA legends to front their groups (heavy on international money). Rachesky is in that mix.

This process has not been quick, although it has lacked the public drama of the Clippers sale (and the potential Nets sale). But by the time they are done the Hawks could fetch $1 billion — and that new owner would be buying a contender.