Kurt Helin

Billy Donovan

PBT Extra: Reaction to the Thunder hiring Billy Donovan

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ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin joins Jenna Corrado to discuss the Thunder’s decision to hire Billy Donovan. Helin believes the Thunder are taking a gamble, as Donovan will be expected to win right away.

Mike Conley’s face looks swollen, still not timetable to return to Grizzlies

Mike Conley
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Mike Conley was in the building to watch the Grizzlies close out the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night, hanging out in a luxury box just a couple days after facial surgery to repair multiple fractures following  an inadvertent elbow from C.J. McCollum in Game 3.

The big question is when Conley will be back on the court? Memphis tips off against Golden State in the next round on Sunday, and the Grizzlies need his defense against the loaded Warrior backcourt (nothing against Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, and Nick Calathes, who are doing their best, but it’s not the same).

The answer is nobody knows. And everyone with Memphis is tight-lipped about a potential timeline. That includes Conley, who was interviewed by TNT’s Lewis Johnson and showed a face remained quite swollen. It didn’t look good, but Conley said it was vastly better than it was a couple days ago, after surgery that put two new steel plates in his face.

At some point, the healing will reach a place where he will get cleared by doctors to play in a mask, but when that point is nobody knows exactly. Conley said he hoped to be back “sooner rather than later.”

But looking at his face in this interview, it wouldn’t be a shock for him to miss the first game — or few games — of the next round still. There is still a lot of swelling there, a lot of recovering to do.

Vince Carter still has hops, shows them off on putback dunk (VIDEO)

Vince Carter
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It wasn’t exactly vintage Vince Carter who showed up for Game 5 of the Grizzlies and Blazers, but he was a guy making some plays. He was diving on the floor at points, bringing some hustle (and nine points) to Memphis off the bench.

And he had one nice putback dunk off a Zach Randolph miss.

Carter helped spark the 99-93 Memphis win advancing them to the next round. The Grizzlies are going to need more — and more vintage — Carter in the next round against the Warriors.

Kevin Love has surgery to repair shoulder injury, officially out for all of playoffs

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The Cavaliers implied this was coming, but now it is official:

Kevin Love had surgery Wednesday afternoon to repair the torn labrum that was part of his dislocated shoulder, the Cavaliers announced. The recovery time for this is four to six months — he is out for the rest of the playoffs, no matter how far the Cavaliers advance. He should be ready for the start of next season (although he could miss or have a reduced workload for part of training camp).

Love suffered the injury when he was tangled up with the Celtics Kelly Olynyk during the Cavs sweep of the Celtics in the first round. Olynyk locked up Love’s arm and gave a tug, dislocating it. You knew it was bad when Love ran directly to the locker room after it happened.

Olynyk denied this was anything intentional, but Love thought it was calling the move “bush league.” The NBA sided with Love, giving Olynyk a one-game suspension for his part in the incident.

The Cavaliers will miss the floor spacing Love brings during the rest of the playoffs. Tristan Thompson will see an increased role with Love out, although expect a lot of Lebron James at the four.

PBT Extra: Can Blake Griffin’s fourth quarter struggles be blamed on short Clippers’ bench?

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This much we know: Blake Griffin is struggling in the fourth quarter against San Antonio in the Clippers’ first round playoff series (currently led by San Antonio 3-2). Griffin was 1-of-9 in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, he is now 4-of-21 in the fourth in this series.

And he looks tired, without spring in his step come the fourth quarter. That’s why he’s 1-of-9 on jump shots in the fourth (and left a key free throw short in Game 5). His legs aren’t under him. (Tim Duncan guarding him in Game 5 didn’t help, either.)

Doc Rivers tried to downplay the bench issue after the game, but Doc the coach needs to tell Doc the GM to improve the bench this offseason.