Kurt Helin

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 17: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs dunks in front of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 17, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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Kawhi Leonard leads Spurs to 32-point victory over Grizzlies

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat Memphis 106-74 on Sunday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series, handing the Grizzlies their worst postseason loss.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points, and Tony Parker had 15 points and six assists for San Antonio. The Spurs sat their starters in the fourth quarter to rest them for Game 2 on Tuesday night in San Antonio.

San Antonio shot 68 percent in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis 33-14 to break open what had been a relatively close game against the short-handed Grizzlies.

Memphis matched a postseason low in the first quarter with 13 points, and only Xavier Munford‘s 15-foot jumper with 46.1 seconds remaining kept it from matching the worst output in any quarter.

Vince Carter had 16 points to lead Memphis. Zach Randolph was held to six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Memphis’ largest previous losing margin was 27 points against Oklahoma City on May 11, 2011.

Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat Memphis 106-74 on Sunday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series, handing the Grizzlies their worst postseason loss.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points, and Tony Parker had 15 points and six assists for San Antonio. The Spurs sat their starters in the fourth quarter to rest them for Game 2 on Tuesday night in San Antonio.

San Antonio shot 68 percent in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis 33-14 to break open what had been a relatively close game against the short-handed Grizzlies.

Memphis matched a postseason low in the first quarter with 13 points, and only Xavier Munford’s 15-foot jumper with 46.1 seconds remaining kept it from matching the worst output in any quarter.

Data curated by PointAfter

Vince Carter had 16 points to lead Memphis. Zach Randolph was held to six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Memphis’ previous largest losing margin in the playoffs was 27 points against Oklahoma City on May 11, 2011.

Memphis was able to keep the game close in the first half despite being without starters Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, but San Antonio closed the second quarter on a 9-0 run leading into its dominant third.

The Spurs also ran a series of defenders to harass Randolph. He had a shot blocked by Leonard in the first quarter, had Leonard step in front of him for a steal, and was stripped of an inlet pass by Tim Duncan.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Memphis is 2-3 in the postseason against teams that have won at least 60 games in the regular season. San Antonio entered the 2011 playoffs as the West’s top seed with a 61-21 record but was upset in the opening round by the Grizzlies in six games. Memphis also beat Oklahoma City in five games in the 2013 West semifinals. …The Grizzlies’ postseason low in any quarter was 11 in the fourth quarter against the Spurs on April 19, 2004. … Memphis used an NBA-record 28 players this season. … Grizzlies coach David Joerger was assessed a technical foul with 7:51 remaining after arguing a non-call on a turnover that led to Leonard’s fast-break dunk.

Spurs: Duncan played in his 242nd postseason game, the third-most in league history. He trails former teammate Robert Horry by two games and former Lakers guard Derek Fisher by 17. … San Antonio’s largest margin of victory in the postseason is 40 points against Denver on May 4, 1983. … The Spurs outscored Memphis 406-356 during the regular season, winning by an average of 12.5 points. … Parker averaged 16.3 points, 4.3 assists against the Grizzlies during the regular season. … San Antonio is in the postseason for the 19th consecutive season, the league’s longest active streak. Atlanta is second with nine consecutive appearances.

Blake Griffin posterizes Mason Plumlee with left-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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That is some old-school Blake Griffin.

He backed down the smaller Damian Lillard — good job by the refs with the no-call on Lillard’s flop (yes Blazers fans, that was a flop) — and Griffin went to the rim with authority. Mason Plumlee tried to come over and help, but he just ended up in the poster.

From the start, the Clippers tried to post-up Griffin, especially if they could go at Al-Farouq Aminu. To Griffin’s credit, he was not settling for jump shots he was using his power to get to the rim. This was as good as he’s looked since his return from quad injury/broken hand/suspension. 

Heat bench reaction to Hassan Whiteside and-1 dunk is real highlight (VIDEO)

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This Hassan Whiteside and-1 dunk was impressive, part of Miami’s high-energy Game 1 beatdown of the Charlotte H0rnets.

But the Miami bench reaction was far better than the dunk itself.

Report: Phil Jackson has already spoken to Luke Walton about Knicks coaching job

Luke Walton
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Coaching searches work a lot like free agency in the NBA: There is a lot of behind the scenes reaching out, assessing of interest, and preliminary legwork done long before the formal interviews start. To put it another way, teams that have not even fired their coaches yet have reached out to Scott Brooks and other elite coaches to judge potential interest and talk fit.

So the fact Phil Jackson has reached out to Warriors’ assistant Luke Walton shouldn’t be a shock. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details.

Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton already has interviewed with several teams about their head-coaching vacancies, including the Knicks and Nets, according to multiple NBA sources. Walton had pulled himself out of consideration for the Nets before they announced the hiring of Kenny Atkinson on Sunday.

According to a source, Knicks president Phil Jackson has spoken with Walton in a phone interview…

A league source said Walton could stay with the Warriors another season, and he isn’t close to deciding what to do.

The Warriors are not going to stand in the way of Walton taking a head coaching job anywhere he wishes to go, and Walton certainly will have options. But know that the Warriors are not terribly concerned about losing Walton to the Knicks where Jackson wants him to run the triangle offense. If you just spent the last couple seasons with a front row seat to the Stephen Curry and the small ball revolution, would you want to run the triangle?

Walton is going to take his time with any decision — remember Alvin Gentry didn’t make his decision to leave Golden State for New Orleans and the lure of Anthony Davis and great gumbo until the Finals in June. Walton may be on a similar timeline, if he decides to leave Golden State at all. But you can be sure that a number of teams — including the Lakers, if and when they make a coaching change — will be putting in a call. If they haven’t already.

Curry still questionable for Warriors for Game 2 vs Rockets

after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 at ORACLE Arena on April 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. By defeating the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors win their 73rd game this season, setting the record for the most games won during the NBA regular season. The Warriors finish the 2015-16 NBA regular season with a 73-9 record.
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors are preparing to play without NBA MVP Stephen Curry for Game 2 of their playoff series against Houston as he nurses an ankle injury.

Even if they know he will beg and plead to play through any pain. As long as he can’t make it worse, Curry insists it will be hard to keep him off the court Monday night.

“Oh, yeah, for sure,” coach Steve Kerr said of Curry campaigning to play. “When Steph’s out, our guys understand that he’s not there to count on, so they have to execute. If they don’t, we’re just not going to score enough points.”

Kerr called Curry’s status questionable again Sunday, when the point guard didn’t practice a day after hurting his right ankle late in the first half of a 104-78 win over the Rockets in the playoff opener.

“Steph is a warrior. If he can play, he’s definitely going to be out there,” center Festus Ezeli said.

Curry was undergoing treatment on the ankle Sunday and unavailable for interviews.

“He’s doing a little better than yesterday,” Kerr said. “He’ll get some rest, get off his feet and we’ll do the same thing tomorrow at shootaround and see how he’s feeling.”

If Curry can’t play Monday, Shaun Livingston will start in his place. The Warriors won at Houston on Dec. 31 without their superstar.

“It kind of changes things. We don’t seem to be as good of a coaching staff when Steph goes out – I don’t know why,” Kerr joked after practice. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. I think Steph missed three or four games this year. We did fine. Obviously we’ve got to find different ways to score. We’ll prepare for that and see what happens.”

Golden State’s backups have prided themselves all season in not losing a step when the second team comes into the game. In fact, contributions by the bench were a big reason the Warriors set the NBA record with 73 wins to top the 1995-96 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls that Kerr played for.

“We’re prepared. We’re going to continue to play. We’re ready to step in,” said power forward Marreese Speights, who scored 12 points in 15 minutes off the bench Saturday. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play and will impact the game. We know Steph, when his 30 points are taken off the board – or really 60 points with all the stuff he’s doing on the court, playing defense, passing the ball, helping, controlling the offense – but we’ll be all right.”

Curry landed awkwardly shortly before halftime Saturday.

“I just tried to change direction, missed the shot, and tried to get back on defense, and then slipped a little bit and felt it slip or tweak,” he said after the game.

Andrew Bogut knows it will take a lot for Curry not to play. The positive if he does sit is the Warriors have until Thursday to get him healthy for Game 3 at Houston.

“He’s the MVP. Take the MVP out of the lineup and there will be some tweaks and changes made,” Bogut said. “You know Steph’s a competitor. He wants to play every game he can.”