The Hawks’ defense intentionally packed the paint Tuesday night — they were not giving up easy, uncontested buckets near the rim. Boston was going to have to nail jump shots (they didn’t) because the paint was going to be a no-fly zone.
The result was Atlanta blocking 15 Boston shots on the night. Al Horford had five and Paul Millsap four to lead the way. For the game, Boston shot just 36 percent inside three feet of the rim.
Atlanta held Boston to seven first-quarter points and led by double digits almost the entire game to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series that now heads to Boston for Game 3.
It’s not for lack of effort — the Grizzlies’ grit and grind mentality has never gone away. This team doesn’t quit and Tuesday night they showed a lot of pride. At home in front of the faithful maybe they can make one game series in close.
But with devastating injuries that have robbed the roster of any playmakers or versatile scoring threats, Memphis is completely outclassed by San Antonio this first round series. Matt Barnes put it perfectly.
Memphis shot 32.6 percent Monday night, scored just 11 points in the first quarter, nobody on the roster scored more than a dozen points for the game, and as expected fell to San Antonio, this time 94-68. The Spurs now lead the series 2-0.
The Spurs defense, the best in the NBA during the regular season, was at it’s trapping best Tuesday. Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger tried some new tricks — JaMychal Green looks like a player — but the Grizzlies just missed the open looks they did get. The referees let the game get physical like Memphis prefers, but when you don’t have playmakers or shooters there is simply nothing that will change the outcome.
The Spurs were not terribly sharp on offense, but they were sharp enough. Patty Mills led the way with 16 points for San Antonio, and Kawhi Leonard added 13.
The only other interesting note is that Lance Stephenson has fallen so far he’s barely in the Grizzlies rotation, playing just seven minutes before the garbage time the fourth quarter.
Normally this is where I would write about adjustments for Game 3 Friday, but there is nothing Joerger or anyone else can do to change the outcome of that game or this series. There is no magic bullet adjustment to be found. San Antonio has far more talent and is far deeper than an injury riddled Memphis team. A Grizzlies team that has just two games left in its season.
The Sacramento Kings are casting a wide net in their coaching search, reaching out and talking to a range of coaches with a variety of experience.
One man getting an interview is Mike Woodson — a former NBA player with nine years NBA head coaching experience between Atlanta and New York — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
As part of a broad search process for head coach, the Sacramento Kings plan to interview Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson, league sources told The Vertical.
The Kings sought and were granted permission by the Clippers to meet with Woodson in the near future, sources said. Woodson, 58, is one of several former head coaches with whom the Kings want to discuss their job opening. The Kings also have interest in Vinny Del Negro, Kevin McHale and Mark Jackson, among others.
In Atlanta Woodson’s teams got better and better each season. While his offense was not exactly groundbreaking — remember “iso Joe?” — the team won 53 games his final season there. He won 54 games one season with the Knicks and got the team it’s first playoff series win in 13 years, but that was followed by an ugly season and he was cleared out as Phil Jackson came into power.
Don’t expect any decision soon from the Kings.
Sacramento comes with a cornerstone player in DeMarcus Cousins, but one not easy for coaches to get along with (or teammates). It’s also an organization plagued by instability — which started at the top with ownership — trying to lay a foundation as it moves into a stunning new building in downtown Sacramento next season.
Whoever gets hired, and whatever style of play the Kings settle on, they just need to stick with it for
Earl Watson — the Phoenix Suns’ interim coach — gets to keep his job.
Watson was the guy the players wanted and was considered the front-runner, and now multiple reports have him keeping his job. Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Phoenix was first with the story.
It has since been confirmed by the Suns.
“Earl did a very good job with our team last season after taking over as interim head coach during a challenging time for the organization,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said in a statement. “Earl’s natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with and motivate our players have stood out throughout his time here in Phoenix. We are excited to see what he can do with a healthy roster after having a full offseason to prepare.”
Watson is getting a three-season deal in the big chair, according to multiple reports.
Watson was just 9-24 after taking over mid-season for the fired Jeff Hornacek, but GM Ryan McDonough liked working with Watson and saw real potential. This was a roster that saw turmoil this season — the trading of Marcus Morris, which made his brother Markeiff Morris unhappy, and the two point guard experiment that never clicked — and Watson seemed to settle it down. That is why the players pushed for his return.
Now we’ll see what kind of roster he has to work with around Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler (all of whom are on longer contracts).
Dallas Mavericks big man JaVale McGee had a quality seat for his team’s dramatic win over the Thunder and Steven Adams‘ just-too-late putback attempt (McGee was a DNP-CD). ,
After the game, McGee went to the “crying Jordan” meme to rub a little salt in Oklahoma City’s wounds.
Early in Game 3 Thursday we’re going to see if this and Charlie Villanueva’s antics are just tugging on Superman’s cape.