Tag: Marc Gasol

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game One

PBT Extra: How will Warriors respond to playoff adversity?


Nobody wins an NBA title without facing adversity. Not Jordan’s Bulls, not the Duncan Spurs, not Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, not anybody.

The Warriors are getting facing their first real adversity of the playoffs, down 2-1 to the Grizzlies, and Julie Donaldson and I discuss how the Warriors will respond.

I think the Warriors will start to hit some of the shots they’ve been missing, but the question is can they get some more stops and turn those into transition/early opportunity points? Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have won the battle inside, and that has taken away the easy buckets the Warriors thrive on.

Marc Gasol banks in dagger for Memphis in win over Warriors (VIDEO)

Marc Gasol

All weekend the big shots have seemed to bank in. Derrick Rose was first. Paul Pierce followed suit.

Marc Gasol wanted in on the action.

This wasn’t the game winner, but his shot to beat the shot clock banked in and was the dagger in the Grizzlies’ 99-89 win over the Warriors. This was the shot that was the final nail in Golden State’s coffin for the night and put Memphis up 2-1 in the series.

Memphis has the chance to take total control of the series on Monday night in Game 4. At home.

Grizzlies rattle Warriors to take 2-1 series lead

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three

Klay Thompson dribbled on the perimeter, Tony Allen pestering him at every turn. Allen forced Thompson to lose control of the ball. Thompson recovered it and squared up to attack Allen again.

This time, Allen poked the ball away and stole it.

The Warriors – facing a stiffer-test than-expected test – kept hitting their head against the wall as they tried in vein to adjust during the Grizzlies 99-89 Game 3 win Saturday.

“We just tried to come impose our will,” said Zach Randolph, who did just that en route to 22 points and eight rebounds.

Golden State will attempt to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season in Monday’s Game 4, but that won’t be easy. Memphis is now 4-0 at home in the playoffs

Like in Game 2, the Grizzlies made Golden State uncomfortable through sheer physical force. The Warriors’ last two outputs of 90 and 89 points are their third-fewest and tied for second-fewest of the season.

Allen (four steals) keyed Memphis’ defense, and until struggling late, Marc Gasol (21 points and 15 rebounds) excelled offensively.

As Gasol’s production dipped in the fourth quarter, the Warriors went on a 20-5 run to cut a 19-point deficit to four. How did the Grizzlies, who surely know Golden State made a 20-point comeback to beat New Orleans in the first round, respond? Courtney Lee hit a big 3-pointer to help Memphis pull away.

The Warriors’ 67 regular-season wins just don’t intimidate the Grizzlies.

Golden State, on the other hand, looks a little shook.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 23 points, but he needed 21 shots. Thompson missed 3-of-4 free throws. Draymond Green shot 1-of-8, including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.

“We just didn’t make open shots, and that was a good sign,” Golden State coach coach Steve Kerr said. “But I thought we got a little flustered because the shots weren’t going in.”

That doesn’t give the Grizzlies enough credit.

Memphis took its already-good defense up a notch. It’s not coincidental the Warriors are rushing their open shots. They look spooked by the Grizzlies’ pressure.

Can that change in two days? Definitely. The Warriors were too good this season to count them out, even down 2-1. But Memphis demands better from the top seed if it’s going to advance.

“This is kind of our moment of truth,” Kerr said.

Jimmy Butler tops 29 other vote-getters to win Most Improved Player

Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four

Most Improved Player voters honored the right player – the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler.

As far as the rest of the voting?

With a difficult-to-define award like this, let’s just say plenty of voters – intentionally or not – showed bias toward the team they covered. Thirty players received votes, and though none of the recipients are horrid choices, it’s difficult to make the case many of them were among the three most-improved players in the entire league.

Here’s the full voting:

Player (team) first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points

  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago) 92-23-6-535
  • Draymond Green (Golden State)  11-43-16-200
  • Rudy Gobert (Utah) 12-32-33-189
  • Hassan Whiteside (Miami) 5-12-27-88
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State) 2-8-8-42
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 4-2-1-27
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milw) 1-3-8-22
  • Donatas Motiejunas (Houston) 0-1-4-7
  • Dennis Schröder (Atlanta) 0-1-3-6
  • DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta) 1-0-0-5
  • Tyler Zeller (Boston) 1-0-0-5
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 0-1-1-4
  • Khris Middleton (Milwaukee) 0-0-4-4
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) 0-0-3-3
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando) 0-1-0-3
  • DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 0-1-0-3
  • Jae Crowder (Boston) 0-1-0-3
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit) 0-0-2-2
  • Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) 0-0-2-2
  • Robert Covington (Philadelphia) 0-0-1-1
  • Tyreke Evans (New Orleans) 0-0-1-1
  • Derrick Favors (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • Marc Gasol (Memphis) 0-0-1-1
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando) 0-0-1-1
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • George Hill (Indiana) 0-0-1-1
  • Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City) 0-0-1-1
  • Brandon Knight (Phoenix) 0-0-1-1
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) 0-0-1-1
  • Meyers Leonard (Portland) 0-0-1-1

And here’s how each voter voted. If a player looks like an outlier, there’s a decent chance his vote(s) came from someone who covers him regularly.

Tony ‘First Team All-Defense’ Allen and Mike ‘Masked Assassin’ Conley lead Grizzlies to Game 2 win over Warriors

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

Stephen Curry received the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for winning MVP before Game 2.

Tony Allen played with a different honor on his mind:

Allen and Mike Conley – who returned from a broken face to score a game-high 22 points – hounded the Splash Brothers, leading the the Grizzlies to a 97-90 Game 2 win Tuesday.

The Warriors lost their first game of these playoffs, and with the series headed back to Memphis on Saturday tied 1-1, they’ll need to adjust to a new foe – Conley.

“It felt like I played 50 minutes tonight,” said Conley, who played 27 minutes after missing the previous three games. “But my teammates lifted me up.”

Memphis upped the defense, slowed the pace and held Golden State to its third-fewest points of the season.

Allen – who made first team All-Defense in 2012 and 2013 and should again this season – said Curry’s production “ain’t nothing I ain’t never seen before” and then helped make the MVP look as ordinary as we’ve seen this postseason. Curry scored 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Allen also began the game on Klay Thompson, who shot 6-for-15, 1-for-6 on 3-pointers and never got to the free-throw line.

“It wasn’t about making no adjustments,” Allen said. “It was just about not coming out here being lackadaisical.”

When Allen wasn’t bottling up one, Conley often checked the other Golden State starting guard. But Conley – whom Allen called the “Masked Assassin” – made his biggest impact offensively.

Beyond Conley’s own scoring, Zach Randolph (20 points, seven rebounds, four assists), Marc Gasol (15 points, six rebounds and three assists) and Courtney Lee (15 points) all looked more comfortable with Conley directing traffic and getting the ball to the right spots.

It seemed whenever the Golden State – which came back from a 20-point deficit to beat the Pelicans in the first round – threatened, the Grizzlies answered with a score. They held their lead from early in the first quarter. As unlikely as it seemed during their 21-game home winning streak, the Warriors just never generated much momentum.

“We want to play fast. They want to play slow,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And they got the tempo where they needed it tonight.”