Associated Press

Harden scores 25 to lead Rockets past Grizzlies, 107-91

2 Comments

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — James Harden scored 25 points, Dwight Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds and the Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 107-91 on Tuesday night.

Terrence Jones finished with 20 points for Houston, 10 in the fourth quarter when the Rockets pulled away to win their fourth straight.

The Rockets broke open an 83-all game to eventually lead by 18 down the stretch as Memphis managed only eight points after the teams were deadlocked.

Marcus Thornton had 16 points, and Trevor Ariza finished with 10.

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 20 points, while Tony Allen added 17. Courtney Lee finished with 16 and Mario Chalmers, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter all scored 10.

The Rockets connected on 18 of 35 from outside the arc compared to only 7 of 18 for Memphis. Houston dominated the boards 42-31, including 18 from the offensive glass. That led to a 28-12 advantage in second-chance points.

Memphis, which trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, opened the second half with a 13-2 rally to erase a 9-point halftime deficit.

The Grizzlies couldn’t maintain the advantage as the Rockets controlled the boards, especially the offensive glass. By the end of the third, Houston was outrebounding Memphis 32-21, including 15 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points through three quarters.

Carter tied the game at 83 on a 3-point play with 7:35 remaining. But the Memphis offense stalled as Jones and Howard carried the Rockets offense.

Houston used 3-point shooting in the first half to take a 51-44 lead into intermission. Thornton gave the Rockets a boost off the bench, hitting three of four shots, including a pair from outside the arc. Thornton had 11 in the half, while Harden and Ariza scored 10 each.

Howard was already on the verge of his double-double with eight points and eight rebounds.

Gasol and Lee scored 10 each in the half for Memphis. Lee’s included a 3-pointer as the horn sounded to cut the Rockets lead to single digits at the break.

TIP-INS:

Rockets: Howard recorded his 17th double-double of the season. .Houston had lost the first two games in the season series. .Rockets G Ty Lawson did not play, serving the last game of a three-game suspension by the league. .Howard took only 13 shots in the first two games between the two teams this season. He took 10 Tuesday night and converted all five of his free throws, including four as the Rockets pulled away.

Grizzlies: Memphis played without starting G Mike Conley, who missed his fourth straight game with sore left Achilles, and F Matt Barnes, who sat out his first with a right thumb injury. .Randolph moved past Larry Bird (8,974) into 50th place on the all-time rebounding list in the third quarter.

 

NBA veteran Jason Terry takes job as assistant coach at Arizona

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jason Terry played four years for the legendary Lute Olsen at Arizona, winning a national championship in 1997 and averaging 21.9 points a game his senior year. The Jet went on from there to play 19 years in the NBA, winning a Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009, and he was part of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks championship team.

Terry had moved into the front office side of the business and was serving as the assistant GM of the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G-League affiliate. Now, however, he is jumping back to his alma mater, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

This is a smart hire by Arizona and head coach Sean Miller. High schoolers going to a major D-1 school all have NBA dreams and having a respected NBA veteran who can say “this is what it takes” on staff is a big plus. Besides, Terry was a smart player who knows the game and had a mentality suited to coaching.

For Terry, he’s back in a place he likes, he’s young (42) and has a world of options ahead of him.

Scott Foster says it’s going to be different officiating without fans in building

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The noise from 18,000 people can cover up a lot of sounds in an NBA arena. So when a back-bench assistant coach yells “bulls****” after a call he doesn’t like, the official never hears it and the game moves on.

Not when NBA games restart in fan-less facilities in Orlando in a couple of months. Without those fans, referees are going to get to hear that coach. And a whole lot more.

It’s going to be weird for referees in Orlando, just like for players, veteran official Scott Foster said recently on NBA TV.

I know I don’t want everything that we normally say to each other going out. But normally we’re all in a professional manner out there. But it is going to be different. There’s going to be some assistant coaches that we haven’t really heard from before sitting in the second row that we’ll be able to hear now, so there’s going to be some adjustment there. And then I think we’re going to need to really talk about and analyze what is OK for the public to hear and how we’re going to go about our business.

But it’s definitely going to be a different thing. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a really unique experience for the referees, players, coaches, everybody who’s going to go through this.”

It is going to be unique. Everybody is going to hear everything, and that is going to be very different from most nights when coaches have to go to hand signals because it’s too loud just to call out a play. It’s going to lead to some awkward and tense moments.

Everyone is going to have to adjust to the new reality, and that includes the referees, too.

 

Report: NBA group stage could include 24 teams

Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Bulls guard Zach LaVine
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The initial report on the NBA resuming with a group stage presented a 20-team scenario. There’d be four groups with five teams each – one from each tier of the current standings:

  • Tier 1: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers
  • Tier 2: Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
  • Tier 3: Thunder, Rockets, Pacers, 76ers
  • Tier 4: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nets, Magic
  • Tier 5: Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs

Teams would play each other team in its group, and the top two finishers in each group would advance to an eight-team tournament (effectively the second round of the playoffs, though without conference splits).

But that format could apparently include four more teams.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

In brief, per several sources who have seen the league’s proposal: The NBA could take 20 (or 24) teams and divide them into groups

The simplest way to expand to 24 teams would be adding a sixth tier then forming four groups of six. That’d mean adding:

  • Tier 6: Suns, Wizards, Hornets, Bulls

Bleh.

The more games the NBA holds, the more money the league will make. But the more people involved, the more risk of someone contracting and spreading coronavirus. It’s a fine line, and the league has sought a middle ground.

Phoenix, Washington, Charlotte and Chicago strike me as too lousy to include. Those teams are well outside the normal playoff race, and there’s no good reason to believe they would’ve made a late push.

In this environment, they might have shot, though. Coronavirus increases variability. Players have had differing access to resources and differing motivation to train during the hiatus. Once play resumes, positive tests could be scattered randomly. Would anyone view the Suns, Wizards, Hornets or Bulls as deserving of a berth in the eight-team tournament? If one of those four teams qualified, that’d probably just show the setup was flawed.

The fairest way to set the playoffs is with 20 teams, depending on structure. Resuming with just 16 teams wouldn’t be that far behind. The highest financial upside comes with all 30 teams, but that seems infeasible.

Setting the line at 24 teams seems like the worst of most worlds – including four bad teams that wouldn’t generate much interest but would threaten to disrupt everything else.

Michael Porter Jr.: Pray for both George Floyd’s family and police officers involved in ‘this evil’

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. and Knicks forward Maurice Harkless
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Several NBA players posted about George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer for about eight minutes.

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. struck a different tone than most.

Porter:

Knicks forward Maurice Harkless:

Harkless, whose dismay was shared by many, is a seasoned veteran. Porter has made made rookie gaffes.

But I’m uncomfortable criticizing someone for calling for prayer for anyone. For some, prayer can be effective way to cope amid tragedy. Many believe prayer can change the world.

Porter didn’t say prayer alone should be the solution. In fact, he called the situation “evil” and “murder,” seemingly suggesting the need for criminal justice, too.