Kurt Helin

Vince Carter

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

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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.

Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers fined $25,000 for criticizing officials after Game 5

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“I don’t complain much…” the second those words left Doc Rivers’ mouth after Game 5, there was not so much outright laughter as eye rolls throughout the NBA. No team complains to and about officiating as much as the Clippers.

But as he continued everyone knew this was going to cost him cash.

“I thought we got some really tough calls tonight,” Rivers said. “Some brutal calls. The travel on Blake (Griffin), the goaltend on Matt (Barnes), which wasn’t a goaltend. You think about the playoffs, and they’re single-possession games. Those possessions those were crucial. J.J. (Redick’s) foul that got him (fouled) out, J.J. didn’t touch anyone. It’s not why we lost, but those were big plays for us.”

Those comments cost Rivers a $25,000 fine, something the league announced.

He’s not wrong about some of those calls. Barnes’ offensive interference was a poor call, as was the Griffin travel. To be fair, the officials had some questionable calls both ways (particularly early in the game some interesting decisions went against the Spurs), but late in the game the Clippers seemed to get the worse of it.

That said, the officials are never the sole reason a team loses a game. The Clippers were 1-of-14 from three, Blake Griffin was 1-of-9 in the fourth, DeAndre Jordan had an offensive interference call that likely cost the Clippers a key basket with seven seconds left (and that was a good call, Jordan admitted touching the ball).

One other thing: The Spurs handle the ups and downs of the calls and the game much more smoothly than the Clippers. They spend a lot of energy complaining.

PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Rockets’ wealth of easy buckets fuels win over Mavericks

Dwight Howard
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When people talk about how the Houston Rockets score, the focus is often on James Harden getting to the free throw line or the team’s barrage of three-pointers.

But against Dallas they did it with buckets at the rim.

PBT has partnered with the fantastic NBASavant.com to break down the Sports VU Camera data and look more closely at the advanced stats of the NBA playoffs and what decided a series.

 

In the first round of the playoffs, Houston had 14 more dunks and 21 total more made baskets in the restricted area than any other playoff team. Dwight Howard’s improved play was just a part of this, as was Dallas’ weak defense.

This you can be sure of, whether they face the Spurs or Clippers in the next round, buckets at the rim will be much harder to come by.