Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Missing 4 starters, Grizzlies stun sloppy Cavaliers 106-103

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CLEVELAND (AP) — When word reached the Cavaliers’ locker room shortly before tip-off that the Memphis Grizzlies were down four starters, LeBron James got an uneasy feeling.

His fears were warranted.

Tony Allen scored a season-high 26 points and the Grizzlies, playing with just one of their starters, stunned the Cavaliers 106-103 on Monday night.

“We’re all in this league for a reason,” James said. “We didn’t respect them tonight and they beat us.”

Vince Carter made four free throws in the final 13.4 seconds to steal the upset by a Memphis team missing Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Chris Andersen, Matt Barnes and had more coaches than players sitting on the bench.

A day after the Los Angeles Lakers shocked the Golden State Warriors, the Grizzlies dazed the Cavs.

“The guys played their hearts out,” Memphis coach David Joerger said. “We had guys cramping, but they left it all out there. It’s a happy locker room. The phones are blowing up from everybody in Memphis. All of our guys that (are) back home like Marc (Gasol) and Birdman (Andersen) are jumping and down in their living room right now.”

Lance Stephenson added 17 points and JaMychal Green 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who forced the Cavs into a season-high 25 turnovers and never backed down against the Eastern Conference’s top team.

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Allen returned after missing eight games with a knee injury for Memphis, which only dressed eight players.

“I don’t care who you are playing, if it’s my son’s little league team you’re going to lose when you give up that many points off turnovers,” James said. “We were very careless with our mindset – and with the ball.”

James scored 28 points and Kyrie Irving had 27 – 14 in the fourth. James also moved past Hall of Famer John Havlicek into 13th place on the NBA’s career scoring list.

Perhaps overconfident following weekend wins over Washington and Boston, and against a wounded Memphis team without, the Cavs were outplayed at both ends. Cleveland trailed the Grizzlies the entire game before taking its first lead on Irving’s steal and layup with 2:42 remaining.

Memphis figured to buckle, but the Grizzlies wouldn’t give in and took a 101-100 lead on Mario Chalmers‘ layup with 25 seconds left.

Allen then tied up James on a drive, forcing and winning a jump ball with 17 seconds to go. Chalmers made a free throw and Carter made two free throws before James hit a 3-pointer to bring the Cavs within 104-103.

Carter, who finished with 15 points, made two more from the line and the Grizzlies escaped with an unexpected win when Irving’s 3-pointer at the horn hit the back of the rim.

“I just thought they were tougher than us tonight,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Thought they played hard and out-scrapped us. You got to respect everybody in this league. Everyone gets a paycheck.”

Only an hour before tip-off, Joerger still wasn’t sure who would start.

The Grizzlies initially said only Conley (foot) and Andersen (shoulder) would be out, but then Joerger broke the news that Randolph (knee) and Barnes (hamstring) were also sidelined, making things even tougher on a Memphis team already without Gasol, done for the season with a broken right foot.

The short-handed Grizzlies faced a daunting task, but they weren’t intimidated and nearly led from start to finish.

“This is big time for us,” Carter said. “We had a lot of guys out. When you see shots go down you gain confidence. We did a great job of executing and not getting rattled.”

LEARNING CURVE

James chalked up the unexpected loss to a team still figuring things out.

“We’re a team that’s still learning, man,” he said. “We got some young guys and a group that’s been together for a little over a year. It’s another learning experience for us.”

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Conley underwent an MRI and the team is hoping to have a better sense of how long he will be sidelined later this week. … Memphis has lost more playing time due to injury or illness this season than any other current playoff team. … The four missing starters average a combined 42.9 points.

Cavaliers: James said the chance to play one final game against Olympic teammate Kobe Bryant would not take precedence over any decision for him to sit out and rest. The Cavs visit the Lakers at Staples Center on Thursday night. Bryant is retiring at the conclusion of his 20th season in the NBA. James said he and Lue have discussed possible games he’ll sit but “it’s still day-to-day.”

 

Pacers take control early, surprise Spurs with 99-91 victory

Associated Press
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Paul George added 23 to help the Indiana Pacers end the San Antonio Spurs’ eight-game winning streak with a 99-91 victory Monday night.

The Pacers led by double digits most of the night and hung on after San Antonio trimmed the deficit to three several times in the final 2 minutes.

It’s only the second time in 17 meetings since 2008 that the Pacers have beaten the Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 23 points for the Spurs.

The loss came hours after the team said coach Gregg Popovich did not make the trip because of a “family medical situation.” A team spokesman did not provide additional details about his absence.

Without Popovich, San Antonio wasn’t the same and the Pacers took advantage.

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Indiana grabbed the lead with a 14-0 first-quarter run and never trailed again.

It was a stark contrast to the first meeting between the old ABA rivals, which San Antonio won 106-92.

George had his worst game of the season, going 1 of 14 from the field and 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. On Monday, George was 7 of 20 from the field, 2 of 5 on 3s, made all seven of his free throws and completed a three-point play with 15.7 seconds left to seal it.

But San Antonio had much bigger problems. It missed 14 of its first 15 3s, shot a season-low 35.4 percent from the field and spent almost all night playing catch-up.

After giving up back-to-back baskets to start the game, the Pacers ran off 14 points in a row to take the lead that they extended to 25-13 after one quarter.

They led by as much as 16 in the second and never let San Antonio get closer than five until Aldridge scored on a follow shot with 1:55 to play.

The Spurs cut the deficit to three two more times after that, but Ellis’ basket with 26 seconds left and George’s three-point play wrapped it up.

POP OUT

Popovich is also expected to miss Tuesday night’s game at Minnesota. In his place, assistant coach Ettore Messina filled in. Popovich is expected to return to the bench Thursday night when the Spurs host Chicago.

TIP-INS

Spurs: The Spurs scored 13 points in the first quarter, their lowest total in any quarter this season. … San Antonio still has the best record in franchise history after 63 games…. Tim Duncan had 14 rebounds to give him 14,998 in his career. … Tony Parker left with a bruised left toe in the second half and did not return. … The loss also ended a six-game road winning streak.

Pacers: Forward C.J. Miles missed the game with a strained left calf. … George was 2 of 5 on 3-pointers, making him 175 of 461 and putting him within striking distance of Reggie Miller for fifth on the team’s single-season list in both categories. Miller made 180 3s in 2001-02 and attempted 464 in 2000-01. … The Pacers held a moment of silence before the National Anthem in honor of former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday. … Indiana University guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell drew loud applause when he was shown on the big screen television.

 

Ty Lawson sprains foot five minutes into Pacers debut

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This is not the debut Ty Lawson or the Pacers hoped for.

Five minutes into his debut for the Pacers off the bench, Lawson went down on a drive grabbing his foot. He left the game and not long after came the news from the Pacers that he was out for the night with a sprained foot.

No word yet on how serious this is, reports Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

The Pacers led from the start — the Spurs were ice cold shooting — and held off a San Antonio charge at the end to get a big win at home. Monta Ellis had 26, and Paul George had 22 for the Pacers in the win.

Zach LaVine throws down 360 dunk in game (VIDEO)

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Just a reminder as to why Zach LaVine is your two-time defending Dunk Contest champion.

He took the outlet pass from Gorgui Dieng and, since he had some room, gave the fans in Charlotte a little show.

It wasn’t enough, Charlotte remained hot and beat Minnesota 108-103 behind 34 from Kemba Walker.

Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to miss 2 games because of family issue

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not make the trip to Indianapolis for Monday night’s game against the Pacers because of a family medical situation.

The team did not provide details about the situation.

Popovich will be replaced for the next two games by assistant coach Ettore Messina, who told reporters before the game that the team knew of Popovich’s plans before leaving for Indy.

The Spurs play at Minnesota on Tuesday before returning home to play Chicago on Thursday. Popovich is expected to make his return against the Bulls.