PBT’s Tuesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Grizzlies grind ends Warriors streak

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Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while thinking “Aliens” is the best technology movie ever

source:  Memphis Grizzlies. Welcome to the Grindhouse. In what was one of the best, most entertaining games of the season the Grizzlies ground down the Warriors, holding all that flashy firepower to 8.7 points per 100 possessions less than they average on offense. Stephen Curry shot just 9-of-25. Draymond Green was 2-of-11. Andre Iguodala 3-of-10. And the Warriors as a team shot just 41.1 percent. Meanwhile the Grizzlies got a combined 41 points from the big man combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (the Warriors missed Andrew Bogut in this one). The Warriors are versatile, played small and the scrapped in this one, but Memphis played better down the stretch and got the 105-98 win and snapped the Warriors 16-game winning streak. I’ve been asked on a few talk radio shows if the Grizzlies can they keep this up come the playoffs? What do you think they’re doing right now — they dragged Golden State into a playoff style game and beat them. Teams should fear Memphis come the playoffs.

source:  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder. We focused a little on Kevin Durant, who reached the 15,000 point milestone, but it was Westbrook who was the best player on the court in the Thunder’s win over the Kings. Westbrook had 32 points, seven assists, six rebounds, four steals, and he just put pressure on Sacramento all night long. With the win the Thunder are just half a game back of New Orleans for the eight seed in the West. That didn’t take long and they will be a playoff team by the end of the week. It’s going to be a much harder climb to catch the teams still above them, they aren’t going much higher up the ladder. Then at the end of the season it will get amusing to watch the teams at the top of the West jockey to avoid the Thunder in the first round.

source:  Milwaukee Bucks. That just sucks. When Jabari Parker went down Monday night I really wanted to believe it was just a sprain as first reported, even though when you watched the video of the injury and his reaction that didn’t seem likely. Tuesday night we found out the clear frontrunner in the Rookie of the Year race is out for the season with a torn ACL. That just sucks for the Bucks. This could mean more Giannis Antetokounmpo (playing the four), more John Henson when he gets healthy in the next week. And it could mean trouble for the playoff chances of the Bucks, who have looked good but Parker was a key part of their rotation.

source:  John Wall. He is playing fantastic basketball of late and that continued Tuesday night against Minnesota in another Wizards’ win — he had 21 points and 17 assists. That was the 100th double-double of Wall’s young career.

source:  Anthony Davis. The Pelicans’ star missed one game with a chest contusion but returned on Tuesday night wearing a special flak jacket for protection under his uniform. Clearly it didn’t slow him down — Davis had 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting, plus pulled down 9 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Pelicans picked up a win over Utah. The Jazz have a quality front line but they had no answer for Davis. Nobody does.

source:  The Barclays’ Center roof. Pretty new building to be sporting leaks already. But just more than a minute into the first half between the Heat and Nets the game was delayed because of a leaky roof in Brooklyn that was dripping on the court. It took more than 30 minutes to fix the problem. And no, even that could not save the Nets from another loss.

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

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If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

The league is still finalizing some details for the tournament, but each team is expected to have a representative, sources said.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

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On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.