Kurt Helin

J.J. Redick, Darren Collison, Caron Butler

Clippers edge Grizzlies 94-92 on Redick’s late scoring

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Clippers got drawn into playing the Grizzlies’ grinding style and still managed to eke out a victory.

J.J. Redick scored six straight points in the final 55 seconds to rally Los Angeles to a 94-92 victory Monday night, snapping a two-game skid.

“We made the game a lot harder than it was supposed to be,” said DeAndre Jordan, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds. “Being able to finish the game shows our maturity. I don’t think we would have won this game a few years ago.”

Blake Griffin had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers during a back-and-forth game in which neither team led by more than eight points.

“Once you get in that type of game you just have to win,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We played their game and won but that’s not the way we want to play.”

Redick finished with 16 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer and then all three free throws after being fouled by Tony Allen to put the Clippers ahead 90-86.

Zach Randolph scored 26 points for the Grizzlies, who dropped their third in a row. Marc Gasol added 18 points but had a couple of costly misses at the foul line in the closing seconds, and Mike Conley had 16.

“We played Grizzlies basketball,” Randolph said. “If we play like that, keep playing like that, we’ll get back to our old selves. A loss is a loss but we’ve got to take the positives, the energy, the defense, the things we did well.”

The final 13 seconds turned into a foul fest.

Chris Paul fouled former teammate Matt Barnes on a 3-point attempt with eight seconds left, and Barnes made all three to draw the Grizzlies to 90-89.

Jamal Crawford hit a pair of free throws after being fouled by Courtney Lee to keep Los Angeles ahead 92-89 with seven seconds left. Crawford added 13 points off the bench, but drew groans from the fans with a rare miss that had Los Angeles leading 93-90 with five seconds to go.

Gasol was only 3 of 6 over the final six seconds while an especially loud male fan taunted him. Two of his misses cost the Grizzlies a chance to tie the game.

“I just overthought the free throw,” he said. “I outsmarted myself.”

Neither team led by more than six points through the first three quarters.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Barnes faced his old team for the first time since leaving over the summer. He had eight points, six rebounds and four fouls in 27 minutes off the bench. … Gasol received a flagrant-1 foul after hitting Griffin in the nose with his left arm in the fourth.

Clippers: Both teams had 40 rebounds, making it the first time that the Clippers weren’t outrebounded this season. … Paul returned after missing one game with a sore right groin. … Paul Pierce was called for a flagrant-1 foul on Jeff Green, who landed in the courtside photographers in the fourth.

 

Emmanuel Mudiay blocks Damian Lillard to help preserve Nuggets win

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That’s your shot of confidence for Emmanuel Mudiay.

The Nuggets’ rookie had a big last minute to ensure Denver’s win over Portland Monday. With :56 left in the game he hit a 15-foot fadeaway to put the Nuggets up by four. Then with :18 seconds left he drained to free throws to keep that lead at four.

That’s when Damian Lillard took the ball and attacked the rim — and Mudiay got up and rejected him. You can see the video above.

Mudiay has plenty to work on — his shot, reducing turnovers — but this kind of confidence booster help the learning process along.

Andrew Wiggins with monster slam, monster night

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The Minnesota Timberwolves made a “we are a team to watch” statement Monday, going into Atlanta on the second night of a back-to-back and beating the Hawks.

Andrew Wiggins made a statement with this emphatic dunk off the give-and-go. That and his 33 points.

Minnesota led by as many as 34 and had to hang on at the end for the win, but this is still an impressive victory. Minnesota is 4-2 on the young season and have looked like a team that could be in playoff contention in the West.

Kobe says another Olympics ‘would mean the world’ to him

Kobe Bryant
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MIAMI (AP) — Kobe Bryant says a spot on the U.S. Olympic team next summer “would mean the world” to him.

Bryant spoke with The Associated Press on Monday about the reasons why he wants to play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a tournament that theoretically could mark the end of his competitive basketball career if he retires at the conclusion of this NBA season.

The notion of Bryant on the Olympic team has been bandied about since August, when USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo revealed that he had talks with the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star – who previously said he wouldn’t play in Rio – about the potential of being on the team.

Bryant says he feels like he could add value to the Olympic roster “from a leadership perspective” and with his defense.

UPDATE: After announcing Noah would start, Mirotic starts for the Bulls

Joakim Noah, Ben Taylor
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UPDATE 8:45 pm: Just kidding. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg decided to play fake the media on Monday, he turned in the official starting lineup before the game with Joakim Noah listed as the starter next to Pau Gasol. Then, when the game tipped off Nikola Mirotic was starting next to Gasol, just like always.

I’d say nothing to see here, but the points about the Bulls big man lineups below remains valid — they should start Noah and Mirotic and bring Gasol off the bench.

7:31 pm: The Bulls have made it official — and they could still do better.

As had been rumored earlier, Joakim Noah got the start for the Bulls Monday night in place of Nikola Mirotic. From Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

I get the idea; Noah is the better defender and the Bulls have lost three of five. That said, I’m glad it’s not settled because I think Hoiberg is not using his best combinations.

While Mirotic had a couple rough games last week, the fact of the matter is the Bulls offense is 7.8 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court this season, and even the defense if five points per 100 improved when he plays. Even when he’s not hitting shots he has real value for them on the court because defenders have to respect him and it creates spacing.

Hoiberg needs to send Pau Gasol to the bench instead of Mirotic. When Gasol and Noah are paired together this season, the Bulls are +0.4 points per 100 possessions, when it’s Gasol and Mirotic it’s -4.1, but when it’s Noah and Mirotic the Bulls are +18.8. This comes with a major grain of salt because of the small sample sizes, but if something seems to be working then stick with it.

We’ll see now the new/old Gasol and Noah front court fares against the Sixers. Which is not exactly the best test.