Kurt Helin

Stephen Curry

Tony Allen on MVP Stephen Curry: “It ain’t nothing I ain’t never seen before”

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Stephen Curry had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting in the Warriors blowout Game 1 win, plus dishing out seven assists. He was 4-of-8 from three but struggled a little inside the arc, shooting just 3-of-6 inside eight feet. Not a vintage performance but he drew the attention of Grizzlies defenders leaving room for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others to do their thing.

The Grizzlies seemed to have their best success with a no point guard lineup and putting defensive ace Tony Allen on Curry. Any success the Grizzlies had was relative, but it was something to try in Game 2 depending on the status of Mike Conley.

Allen is not overly impressed with Curry, he told Nate Stuhlbarg of CSNBayArea.com.

“He can shoot the ball pretty good and he got a nice handle,” Allen said when asked what makes Curry special. “But it ain’t nothing I ain’t never seen before.”

We’ll just ignore the double negative… actually, that’s a triple negative. Impressive.

To be fair, Allen also said Curry’s MVP was “well deserved,” but he may not have wanted to poke the game’s best shooter.

I disagree with Allen on these grounds: Who have we seen like Curry before? How do you answer the question “Curry is like player X?” Who is the comp? We’ve seen great shooters before, great ball handlers before, great floor generals before, but rarely in the same package. Curry’s skill set is perfect to run a modern NBA offense because he can work on or off the ball equally well, plus is a gifted passer. There are no good comps for him.

When you run into a player that is hard to compare to anyone else before, you know you have a special talent.

PBT Extra: Grizzlies searching for answers, Mike Conley in Game 2

Dave Joerger
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There are no easy answers for Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger in round two, no simple fixes that change the matchup issues he faces against the Golden State Warriors.

What can he do? Jenna Corrado and I discuss that in this latest PBT Extra.

The best thing that can happen is he gets Mike Conley back (something up in the air as of when this is posted). They need Conley’s defense; they need the way he gets their offense flowing more comfortably. After that, the Grizzlies had a little success going without a traditional point guard and putting Tony Allen on Stephen Curry, but how well that can work outside a short stint remains to be seen.

That said, there may be no truly good options for Memphis.

 

PBT Extra: Hawks need to lean on starters more, hit open looks in Game 2

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Six
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Washington earned an upset Game 1 win on the road against the Hawks, one that wasn’t a total surprise based on the team’s first-round efforts.

What do the Hawks need to change to in Game 2? That’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

There are a couple obvious steps. First, the Hawks’ starters outplayed the Wizards — they were +8 in the game and with a net differential of +16.2 per 100 possessions — but Mike Budenholzer only played them 18 minutes together. That’s fine in December, not in the second round of the playoffs. Second, the Hawks shot just 36 percent on uncontested looks — they need to knock down shots.

Blake Griffin puts up triple-double, keys Clipper offense in win (VIDEO)

Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford
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Blake Griffin had a triple-double in Game 7 against Spurs, it’s just that few noticed because of Chris Paul’s heroics.

People noticed Monday.

Griffin, playing a some point forward in the second half, had 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists and led the Clippers to a surprise Game 1 victory on the road without CP3. The Clippers ran their offense through Griffin in the second half, and the Clippers won the half by 20. The Rockets did not have an answer for him.

 

CP3 who? Clippers come from behind to take Game 1 from Rockets on road.

Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford
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The Rockets learned the hard way the Clippers — even without Chris Paul — are not the Dallas Mavericks.

It was announced before the game that Paul — the “point god” and quarterback of the Clippers’ offense — would not play Game 1 due to his strained hamstring. With that news, the Rockets did not respect the Clippers. Houston played like all they had to do is show up and they win.

Nope.

Blake Griffin had a triple-double — 26 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists — and the Clippers hit 11-of-16 three-pointers in the second half while the Rockets turned the ball over 23 times on the night. The result was a 117-101 Los Angeles win.

The Clippers are up 1-0 with a road win heading into Game 2 Wednesday night — when the Clippers might have the best point guard in the game back in the rotation.

“That first half could have gotten away from us and the fact we kinda were able to keep our composure, turn the ball over and only be down four I think,” Clippers’ Doc Rivers said, correctly. “That was the turning point.”

Austin Rivers got the start at the point for the Clippers but the Rockets showed no respect for his shot — he started slow but finished with 17 points and hit 4-of-6 from three. Then Jordan Crawford came in and was making plays. A little while later, Doc went to Lester Hudson for minutes at the point. That’s not good, but the Clippers hung around. It was ugly early as the Clippers shot just 32 percent in the first quarter and were 1-of-10 from three (Rivers making the lone bucket).

But the Rockets didn’t take advantage. Trevor Ariza started out 4-of-4 and scored 11 of the first 15 Houston points, but nobody else could knock down a shot. It was a six-point Rockets lead after one and as Clippers got into their bench Rockets went on 19-5 run to take a 13-point lead. Meanwhile, the Clippers looked out of sync — Griffin, J.J. Redick, and Matt Barnes are rhythm shooters who missed Paul setting them up.

The turnovers made it an ugly game, and it was 50-46 Rockets at the half. The Rockets had their chance and didn’t take advantage. As the game got tight late the Rockets seemed to panic, going away from their offense and what worked.

In the second half the Clippers went on runs — a 12-0 and a 10-0, both in the fourth quarter — as they started to run the offense through Griffin. The All-Star power forward showed off how far his game has developed from his rookie year when he could just dunk — Griffin is a very good passer, reads the game well, and has great ball handling skills. The Rockets didn’t have an answer.

As the game got tight late the Rockets seemed to panic, going away from their offense and what worked.

“They had more of an edge; we did not play very well,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale understated. “I didn’t believe our effort was, huh, for a second round game trying to hold home court…. they had more energy than we did…

“There are no excuses, they played better than we did.”

The Clippers loaded up on James Harden, and he had 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting — not a horrible night but he has a history of struggling against quality playoff defenses, and that is still a legitimate concern. Dwight Howard had 22 points on 13 shots (and five blocked shots) but had to work for all of it against DeAndre Jordan. Trevor Ariza added 17 points.

With the Clippers loading up on Harden the Rockets needed to knock down their threes or find baseline cutters, but they did not. Houston was an okay 11-of-33 from three, but it wasn’t enough. In addition, some guys just missed looks: Corey Brewer was 0-0f-4 on uncontested looks. Plus they didn’t take advantage of the Clipper turnovers (21 of them): The Clippers had 34 points off turnovers, the Rockets 21.

The Clippers just made plays — and the Houston defense was not good enough. Griffin hit 8-of-14 contested shots while Matt Barnes hit 6-of-8 uncontested looks. Los Angeles had six players in double figures: Griffin with 26, Jamal Crawford with 21, Matt Barnes with 20, J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers with 17, and DeAndre Jordan with 10 points (and 13 rebounds).

“It looked like we were being reactive to what they were doing all night, it didn’t look like we were proactive,” McHale said.

The Clippers are now in control of the series. They could consider resting Chris Paul for Game 2, knowing that even if the series is tied they will be coming back home for two with the chance to own the series.

Houston had a chance in Game 1 to take control of the series, and they didn’t play with the focus needed to take care of business. Their road back in this series is now a long and winding one.