I cannot wait for the Western Conference playoffs.
We got a taste of what that is going to be like on Wednesday night when in a rockin’ AT&T Center the Memphis Grizzlies would make plays, then the San Antonio Spurs would answer. And so it went for three overtimes of drama and big shots. I mean, look at what it took to just get to overtime — Danny Green looked like he won it for the Spurs, only to have Marc Gasol hit a leaning, banked in three to answer and force the first overtime.
And so it went. In the second overtime it looked like Courtney Lee had won it for Memphis, only to have Tim Duncan answer — and I’m sure he called glass before he shot.
In the third overtime there was finally a miss — the game ended on a particularly ugly Manu Ginobili leaner that was well right of the target — and Memphis beat San Antonio 117-116.
That means the Grizzlies have beaten West leading Golden State and defending champion San Antonio on back-to-back nights. Any more questions about their ability to compete come the playoffs?
Memphis was in charge early — they started on an 8-1 run and dominated a San Antonio team that clearly missed Tony Parker. The Grizzlies led by as many as 23 in the second quarter.
But these are the Spurs, they don’t just roll over. Led by Manu Ginobli the Spurs went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter. In the end the Spurs got 25 points from Danny Green — he was 7-of-13 from three — plus Duncan had 23 points and 16 boards.
Memphis got another big game inside and were led by Gasol who had 26 points, while Zach Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds. Those were the guys the Grizzlies went to with everything on the line — Gasol had 13 of his points and Randolph 11 of his in the final five minutes of regulation plus the overtimes.
Bottom line is the Spurs were the Spurs — they executed, they moved the ball, they hit big shots. And Memphis matched them every step of the way. Stride for stride.
And then the Grizzlies pulled away just enough.
I can’t wait until the Western Conference playoffs.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88 on Monday night to improve to 8-1 at home.
The Thunder had just tied the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer by former Clipper Danilo Gallinari before Chris Paul made two free throws after being fouled by George for an 88-86 lead.
George’s 3 put the Clippers ahead 89-88.
The Clippers were then called for a foul that was overturned on a challenge by coach Doc Rivers. The Thunder retained possession and Terrance Ferguson inbounded to Gallinari, whose 3-pointer missed.
George made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left to close out the game against the team that traded him to Los Angeles last summer.
The Thunder fell to 0-5 on the road.
Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench to lead the Clippers. George finished with 18 points after scoring 30-plus points in his first two games of the season.
Paul scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, against his former team. Gallinari added 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, another former Clipper, had 11 points despite five fouls.
The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game because of a bruised left knee.
Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.
The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.
Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.
The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.
And he’s still just 20 years old.
Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:
That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.
This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.
Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and — as you can see in this video — Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.
Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.
Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.
This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.
The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.
The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.
This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again — in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.