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

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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.”

Luka Doncic with 42-point triple-double, sticks dagger in Spurs for Mavericks win

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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:

LeBron James
Luka Doncic

That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.

Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration

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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.

Kawhi Leonard out vs. Thunder Monday night, third straight game due to knee bruise

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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.

Kevin Love tries to ignore trade rumors, ‘let the chips fall where they may’

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Cleveland Cavaliers GM said he has no interest in trading Kevin Love.

You can count the number of people around the league who believe him on one hand. There’s a good chance Love is still on the Cavaliers at the end of this season, but that’s more about him being in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension than it is Cleveland’s willingness to trade him (or interest from other teams, if money was not an issue). The Cavaliers are rebuilding, and if they can get young players and picks for Love, they have to consider it.

With Portland off to a slow start, and Love growing up in the Pacific Northwest, that rumor has floated around. There are others. Love is just trying to ignore them and play ball, he told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.

“I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”

Love, who has been open in recent years about his struggles with anxiety and mental health, said dealing with the trade rumors that constantly swirl around him can be a challenge on that front.

“A big aspect of mental health is just staying in the present but it’s so hard,” he said. “You have to try to not get too far ahead of yourself or get worked up. You can get that anxious feeling or fear for the future, but you have to try to stay focused on getting better and let things work out the way they should.”

Kevin Love has played well to start the season, averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting a respectable 34.7 percent from three. He could help a lot of teams, particularly ones in the West who want to be in the mix for a ring but who look at the Lakers and Clippers and think, “we have to get better fast.”

The rumors around Love are just going to get louder the closer and closer we get to the trade deadline. Love will have to do a lot of work to tune all that out.