Kurt Helin

Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Barea

PBT Extra: Rockets must adjust to new Mavericks starting lineup in Game 5

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Normally by Game 5 of a series we’re through most of the major adjustments in a series — everyone knows what everyone else is going to do, it’s about execution under pressure.

The Rockets and Mavericks Game 5 is different, and that’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

The addition of J.J. Barea with Monta Ellis as starters — and the subtraction of Rajon Rondo — upped the tempo and threw off the Rockets defense in Game 4. Now it’s up to Kevin McHale to make the next set of adjustments, and Houston to defend better.

Portland comes from 10 down in fourth quarter to win 99-92, stay alive in series

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four
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With about eight minutes left in the game, it looked like only one team was going to be making the flight back to Memphis. The Grizzlies were up 10 and seemingly in control of Game 4, locking down the Blazers with their defense. This was about to be a sweep.

But Portland raged, raged against the dying of the light.

Portland closed the game on a 29-12 run thanks to a dozen fourth quarter points from Damian Lillard, and the Blazers stayed alive with a 99-92 win at home. Memphis now leads the series 3-1, with Game 5 back in Memphis on Wednesday.

Lillard, freed from the shackles of Mike Conley (who was out following surgery to his fractured face Monday morning, he is not expected to play Wednesday either), was in attack mode. Lillard averaged 18 points a game in the first three but shot just 35.2 percent, not impacting the game the way the Blazers needed. With Conley out that changed — he put up 32 points. Lillard was attacking, shooting 5-of-8 inside eight feet of the rim, but his midrange jumper was falling as well with a little more space (11 of his 23 shots were uncontested).

Portland also got a boost from their bench. C.J. McCollum had 18 points, and Meyers Leonard was tremendous as a stretch five, scoring 13 points and hitting 3-of-3 from three. Leonard’s play pulled Memphis bigs out of the paint and opened things up for Lillard to drive.

The bench contributions were especially huge on a night LaMarcus Aldrige was just 6-of-22 from the floor, and Nicolas Batum was 3-of-13.

With Conley out, Beno Udrih had 13 points, while Nick Calathes added 12 and hit 4-of-5 from three to give the Grizzlies some production from the one spot. But the problems was on the other end — they could not begin to contain Lillard and that sparked the Blazers’ runs.

Memphis once again got off to a fast start, starting out 12-4 to open the game. But this time Portland responded with a 13-2 run of their own to take a small lead. Portland had its best first quarter of the series and was up 27-22 after one. With Leonard spacing the floor and Lillard attacking Portland stretched out the lead to 55-48 at the half.

Then in the third quarter the Grizzlies took charge again, their defense returned, and they won the quarter 27-13. The Trail Blazers started out 5-25 from the field in the second half. Memphis was battling through screens, blowing up Portland’s pick-and-roll game. The result was a lot of  Grizz just fighting through screens and forcing Blazers to go 1-on-1. It worked.

For a while.

Credit Portland for this: They could have just started thinking about tee times for the summer. They didn’t. They fought back.

Can Portland replicate it on the road in Game 5?

Maybe, because it’s tough to imagine Conley is going to play. That said, Memphis was in position to win Game 4 and get the sweep, and at home they are not going to take their foot off Portland’s throat — don’t expect the same defensive slips. It’s going to be much harder for Portland to earn a second win.

But they earned the chance to try.

 

Take that Paul Pierce: Deron Williams leads Nets with 35 to get win (VIDEO).

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four
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A few weeks back, Paul Pierce made headlines saying the Nets lacked leadership and that all started with Deron Williams.

Williams sent his own message, turning back the clock and putting up 35 points to lead the Nets to a 120-115 win and even the series with the Hawks 2-2. This effort tied Williams’ career playoff high.

It helps the Nets cause that the powerhouse Hawks team from January is nowhere to be seen come April, but Williams is still leading his team through that open door.

PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Wizard’s defense peaking at right time

Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards - Game Four
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The Washington Wizards were a top 5 defensive team this season, but come the postseason they unquestionably cranked up the intensity and the result was a sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the first round.

Just how good were the Wizards?

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.

Washington’s averaged defender distance to the Toronto shooter was 3.55 feet, the closest defense any team played in the first round of the playoffs. If they do that in the next round — either against the Nets or a Hawks team that has not looked like the vintage Hawks — the Wizards will have a chance to advance.

Report: Chandler Parsons to have knee surgery, could require microfracture surgery

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets- Game One
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Dallas has really missed Chandler Parsons during their first round playoff series with Houston — he was the guy supposed to match up on James Harden, but he has been out with an injured knee (he played in Game 1 but couldn’t continue after that).

Now they may be missing him a lot longer.

Parsons is going to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but depending on what they find microfracture surgery could be next, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Dallas Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons might need microfracture surgery on his right knee, sources told ESPNDallas.com, although there remains a possibility that the cartilage damage could be repaired with arthroscopic surgery.

If microfracture surgery is necessary, Parsons could be sidelined to begin next season.

Basically, the doctor is going to open him and see what the situation looks like up close.

Microfracture surgery usually takes six-to-eight months to recover from and return to the court. That would have Parsons back around the start of next season at the earliest, and the Mavericks likely would be cautious in bringing him back.

Parsons averaged 15.7 points a game last season (second highest on the Mavs), shot 38 percent from three and had an above-average PER of 16.3. Parsons had the third highest win shares on the team, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler.