Kurt Helin

Damian Lillard, Mike Conley

Grizzlies’ Mike Conley leaves game, heads to medical facility after elbow to eye

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Mike Conley is key to what Memphis does — he can hit threes, he is a good floor general, and he’s a fantastic perimeter defender. The Grizzlies were +17.7 points per 100 possessions when he’s been on the court in the first two games of the playoffs. That despite him battling a foot injury that caused him to miss games at the end of the season (one he’s not fully recovered from).

In the third game, he took an inadvertent elbow to the face from C.J. McCollum as he leaned in to go for a steal (while McCollum stumbled) that knocked him out of the game.

He left the game in the third quarter after it happened, went to the locker room, then not long after was taken to a local medical facility for further evaluation, the team announced. Reports from the arena had Conley with a swollen eye.

There has not yet been an update on his injury.

Conley had 14 points and four assists when he got injured.

The Grizzlies were without Beno Udrih, their backup point guard, due to injury. The ball fell to the hands of Nick Calathes, who played a solid game and helped the Grizzlies hang on for the 115-109 win. Memphis is now up 3-0 in the series and seems destined to advance, with or without Conley.

They will need Conley to have any hope in the next round against Stephen Curry and Golden State (which has advanced after sweeping the Pelicans).

 

Watch Jerryd Bayless’ back cut, game winner to keep Bucks alive vs. Bulls

Jerryd Bayless
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After the game, Bucks players said they anticipated Derrick Rose would overplay the inbound pass, and they thought they could take advantage of that. Jason Kidd (or assistant Joe Prunty) drew up the play.

Jerryd Bayless cut to the corner (the place both Rose and Joakim Noah guarding the inbound wanted to cut off) and when Rose overplayed it Bayless made a hard cut back to the basket. Jared Dudley hit him with a beautiful pass before Rose knew what happened; Bayless made the lay-up to give the Bucks a 92-90 win.

For a young and growing Bucks team this was a big win. You can see the development curve for this team, they could be incredibly dangerous in a few years, and this is a step along the way.

It’s not going to change the series, the Bulls very likely make this a gentlemen’s sweep, winning Game 5. You can’t blame the Bulls (or their fans) for looking ahead to a showdown Cavaliers. But Saturday night belonged to the Bucks.

Kawhi Leonard puts up 32 spot on Clippers (VIDEO)

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Three
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The Spurs still have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, all three someday destined for the Hall of Fame.

But this is Kawhi Leonard’s team now. We’ve seen the transition take place.

Friday night Leonard tore apart the Clippers’ Matt Barnes — and Doc Rivers had no other options to turn to — on his way to a personal playoff high 32 point night. That was the backbone of a comfortable Spurs win and a 2-1 series lead.

PBT Extra: Stephen Curry starting to have his defining playoff moments

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three
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If you’re going to be a true NBA superstar, that has to come with some defining playoff moments. Whether it’s Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan or LeBron James, their biggest plays came on the biggest stages.

Tim Duncan has reminded us these playoffs that he can still do that as well.

But these feel like Stephen Curry’s playoffs. He has had the defining shot of the playoffs so far, the corner three that sent Game 3 against New Orleans into overtime. These playoffs are going to get more challenging for the Warriors, Golden State is going to need more of those moments from Curry, but he may well give us those moments. He is creating his mythology right now. He is the star in ascendance.

Behind 32 points from Kawhi Leonard, Spurs rout Clippers to take 2-1 series lead

Kawhi Leonard
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For two games, the Clippers and Spurs had played each other tight, with the little things swinging games. Yet at the end of Game 2, it felt like the Spurs were starting to figure things out. They had seen this Clippers defense a lot in recent years — it’s basically what LeBron’s Heat played — and were beginning to make the plays to beat it.

Friday night they looked like they figured it all out.

The Spurs held the Clippers to 34.1 percent shooting and got 32 points from Kawhi Leonard to pull away in the second half and win handily, 100-73.

The Spurs now have a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 Sunday in San Antonio.

“I just think it was one of those nights,” Gregg Popovich said after the game. “We had a great night shooting; they had a real difficult night shooting, and that’s a bad combination. They get a loss. We’re not that good, and they’re not what you saw tonight, without a doubt. We had a heck of a night.”

Leonard had a heck of a night at both ends for the Spurs. On defense, the just named defensive player of the year took J.J. Redick out of the game at points, then made plays on anyone he switched on to. On offense, he exposed the Clippers long-standing issues about wing defense, Matt Barnes had no answers for him.

The problem for Doc Rivers and the Clippers is they don’t have the depth to try much else if option No. 1 doesn’t work. The Clippers bench remained an issue, shooting just 11-of-41 on the night (and that looks better thanks to some garbage time buckets).

The Spurs depth was on display all game — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 12 points. This was about everyone else, such as Leonard (32) and Boris Diaw, who added 15.

The Spurs led from the start, racing out to a 25-13 lead early and keeping a comfortable lead through the first half, then they blew it open in the third quarter. The Clippers scored just 11 points in the third quarter as the Spurs defense was simply fantastic. Duncan may be turning 39 this weekend, but he can still quarterback a defense with the best of them.

We can break down the details of the game, but Popovich may be right, this may just be a one-off in a tight series where the Clippers were cold on a night the Spurs were hot. Certainly Sunday’s Game 4 should see a much more desperate Clippers squad and a closer game. More like the first couple in the series.

But it feels like San Antonio has figured Los Angeles out, and we see which way the series is trending.