Bryant is now tied with Hall of Famer Karl Malone for most first-team selections.
San Antonio Spurs blow lead in 4th, beat Grizzlies in OT to go up 2-0
When San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker began to tire late in the game, Tim Duncan carried their team the rest of the way as they are now up 2-0 in their NBA playoffs series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Parker ended up with 15 points and 18 assists, which is a career playoff-high for him, while Duncan put up the first six points for the Spurs during overtime, on his way to 17 points and nine rebounds, to seal the victory for San Antonio over Memphis by the score of 93-89 Tuesday night.
The Grizzlies came back from an 18-point third quarter deficit, thanks largely to a questionable flagrant one called on Manu Ginobili while Tony Allen went up for a breakaway layup in the fourth, to send the game into OT. However they couldn’t finish the job and the Grizzlies will now head back home looking to avoid going down 0-3 in the series.
Tim Duncan spoke after the game and said,
“I hate that we gave up that big of a lead in that situation. But we were resilient enough to go to overtime and not let it affect us.”
Duncan started OT with the first basket, which was a layup, then broke a tie score on a putback off of a missed jumper by Tony Parker. He then sank a runner in the lane that rattled in to put the Spurs up 91-87 with just over a minute remaining.
Memphis still had an opportunity to tie the game after Jerryd Bayless sank a jump shot and Parker made only 1 of 2 free throw attempts with approximately 15 seconds left. But Bayless’ final three-point shot was way off, and that ended the Grizzlies’ hopes.
The Grizzlies have now been playing from behind in each of their postseason series thus far, which includes coming back from being down 0-2 versus the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. Memphis has gone on to win four games in a row in both of their past two NBA playoffs series (Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder).
Game 3 will be played on Saturday in Memphis.
Can the Grizzlies fight their way back against the Spurs?
The Memphis Grizzlies got smashed last night by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. They got outscored, they looked like they lacked energy and generally resembled a team that doesn’t have the stature to beat the Playoff-tested and Championship-hearted Spurs. However, throughout the year, the Grizzlies have shown some signs of a team with great potential and the ability to stand firm against any opponent.
Although their first matchup against the four-time Champions might have ended with the Grizzlies suffering a devastating loss, they’ve proved that they are a team that knows how to make impressive comebacks happen. So there should be no rush writing them off just yet.
Despite their minor Playoff experience, at least in comparison to San Antonio, the Grizzlies have shown that they are made of metal. After trailing 0-2 in their first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, they turned the series around with four consecutive wins, knocking out one of the title favorites from the first round. Then again, they managed to beat Kevin Durant and the Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
Well the answer might be obvious. They should get their frontcourt duo going.
There is no way you can win in a Conference Finals series against this San Antonio team, when your leader in scoring, Zach Randolph, is having the worst game of his playoff career. Of course, a playoff franchise record for most three-pointers from the opposing team only makes things worse.
Nonetheless, the Grizzlies do have the bodies to hold off the penetrations of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. What they should do is tighten up their defense. The Spurs are a great team shooting from beyond the arc and they will exploit every single open look they are given. Because of the ability of nearly every player in the roster to knock down a three, Memphis’ big men will have to adjust to the role of stretching the defense close to the arc.
Tony Parker will most likely be Tony Parker in a Playoff situation, and Tim Duncan will also provide a great boost inside. What the Grizzlies will have to pay attention to is limiting easy hoops from their opponents. There is no excuse when an opposing guard gets an easy layup against a set defense. Of course Mike Conley has a tough challenge trying to defend Parker. But with the assistance of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, they should adjust their pick and roll defense and effectively close down the lanes.
The offense will come for Z-Bo and for every other quality player Memphis possesses. Despite the fact that the most efficient player in scoring was Quincy Pondexter off the bench, the starters, and especially Z-Bo, should get back to normal in Game 2.
When the Grizzlies reach their surprisingly high level of performance, they are able to beat almost any team in the league, including the Spurs. So the question for the next games of the series is whether or not Lionel Hollins’ team will get back on its feet and reach its relentless level of play.
San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker scored a game-high 20 points while dishing out nine assists, and Kawhi Leonard put up 18 points to lead their team to a blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their NBA playoffs series by the score of 105-83 Sunday.
San Antonio was determined to avoid having a repeat performance of when they loss Game 1 the last time these two teams met in the first round of the NBA playoffs two years ago. The No. 8 seed Grizzlies eliminated the No. 1 seed Spurs out of the postseason that time.
This time, the Spurs got off to a fast start, leading by 17 points at the end of the first quarter. Then, when the Grizzlies rallied to cut the lead to six points during the second half, San Antonio was able fend it off and run away with the victory. The game got so out of hand, that both teams ended up sitting their starters with over five minutes remaining, as the Spurs held a 21-point lead.
Quincy Pondexter scored a team-high 17 points for the Grizzlies, but Memphis’ All-Star forward Zach Randolph failed to connect on his first seven shot attempts and ended up scoring just two points, which came off a tip-in with 9:26 remaining in the game.
The Memphis Grizzlies defense, which ranked No. 1 in the league in terms of points allowed during the regular season, was not playing at the level we have grown accustomed to seeing. They allowed San Antonio to shoot 53 percent from the field, which included a franchise NBA playoffs record 14 made three-pointers, while Randolph, one of the Grizzlies’ primary offensive threats, struggled throughout the game. Z-Bo was a complete non-factor versus the Spurs, after putting up a playoff career-best 28 points and 14 boards during Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is when the Grizzlies closed out their Western Conference semifinals series back on Wednesday night.
The San Antonio Spurs will look to go up 2-0 in Game 2, which will be played on Tuesday night.
The National Basketball Association is a point guards driven league these days. Since there are so many outstanding ball handlers in today’s game, it is tough to distinguish who reigns supreme in the point guard hierarchy. Do you prefer score first point guards or pure passers? How much should you take scoring efficiency into play? Do you look for rebounds and defensive statistics from your smallest player? All these questions determine personal preference of which guard you want to draft for your fantasy basketball team. In this article, I have ranked the top fifteen NBA point guards from a fantasy perspective for the 2013-2014 season. I will highlight the guys that I believe I have a different perspective on from other experts. Without further ado, this is how I go about ranking point guards from a fantasy perspective for next year:
- Chris Paul
- Derrick Rose
- Russell Westbrook
- Kyrie Irving
- Stephen Curry
- John Wall
- Jrue Holiday
- Rajon Rondo
- Damian Lillard
- Deron Williams
- Mike Conley
- Brandon Jennings
- Ty Lawson
- Goran Dragic
- Tony Parker
Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls‘ nation and I could not be anymore disappointed with Derrick Rose after the lack of heart he showed this season. Doctors cleared him to play two months before the shorthanded Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat. With that being said, we are talking about fantasy basketball and not reality. ”Heart” is not a category in rotisserie nor head-to-head leagues. Next year, people may cite his extended absence as a reason to drop him in the rankings. I am here to tell you that I absolutely would not. Derrick Rose will have something to prove next year. Already having won one MVP award, Rose should immediately return to the player he was in the 2011-2012 season. In a Thibodeau run offense, Derrick Rose (and any PG) will have all kinds of freedom and encouragement to score the basketball. In 2011, Rose averaged 25 PPG on 44.5% FG. With Luol Deng a year older, Carlos Boozer in danger of being amnestied, and not much other scoring on the roster, I don’t see why Rose can’t repeat those numbers. Along with elite scoring numbers, including 1.5 3PM and good FT%, Rose offers around 8 AST, 1 STL, and over a half a block per game. As you’ll find out in my John Wall snippet, I love getting blocks from the guard position. Taking all his numbers into consideration, you have an elite scoring point guard who also dishes out an upper-echelon amount of assists with other goodies. Besides Chris Paul, there is no other point guard I would rather own than Derrick Rose.
Stephen Curry: Steph may be the toughest player to rank at the point guard position. He is the true definition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The “Dr. Jekyll” version of Steph is as good as it gets. Curry is the best shooter in the NBA: he made 59 more 3-pointers than any other player while shooting 45% from beyond the arc. His percentage, while making 3.5 threes per game, was third in the NBA. I cannot put into words how absolutely insane that is. To take things to the next level, that is only where his fantasy value begins. Curry also posted 23 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, and 1.6 STL on a nightly basis this year. Since the playoffs began, his AST total has actually risen to around 8 per game. Oh, and naturally being a lights out shooter, he posts a super-elite free throw percentage. So why is Stephen Curry not the number one player in fantasy basketball? The answer can be summed up in one word: ankles (his Mr. Hyde). Stephen Curry’s ankles are similar to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the movie Unbreakable. Anytime Samuel was barely touched, he would instantly break a bone or become severely injured. Stephen Curry sprains his ankles more than Kendrick Perkins gives refs the stink eye. It is reasons like this that makes ranking point guards so difficult. I cannot trust Curry to play 82 games in a season. He has only played 80 games one time in 4 years. He sprained his ankle again a few games ago this postseason. Only because of injury concern do I have him ranked at #5. If you believe that he will stay healthy for all of next year, then you must take Steph Curry as the #1 PG off of the board.
John Wall: The title of my article includes “Who Takes the Next Step?” because I believe that player will be John Wall next year. Ranking point guards was not an easy task because my love for John Wall wanted me to rank him ahead of everyone. Wall, who began 2012 on the bench with a stress injury to his kneecap, saw his game take giant leaps this year. By March, his game had fully returned because his health fully returned. From that point on, he went nuts. Here are his numbers for the last two months:
March: 22.1 PPG, 48.4% FG, 0.6 3PM, 82.6% FT, 4.8 REB, 8.1 AST, 1.8 STL, 0.6 BLK April: 23.9 PPG, 43.5% FG, 0.1 3PM, 75.0% FT, 4.8 REB, 7.3 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.9 BLK
Wall produces in all nine fantasy basketball standard categories. His elite scoring numbers and upper echelon assist numbers speak for themselves. The category I want to really examine is the blocks. His last two season per-average totals were 0.9 BLK and 0.8 BLK. It might surprise you, but he averaged more blocks per game than DeMarcus Cousins, Shawn Marion, Greg Monroe and Gerald Wallace this year. If you draft John Wall, it gives you the freedom to take one less blocking big man. Instead of wasting big money on a one category player such as JaVale McGee, you now have the freedom to go for well rounded big men such as Zach Randolph. With those kind of big man numbers, along with his big rebounding numbers for a point, he offers sneaky value and roster flexibility. I also think if the Wizards fill another team hole with the draft, there is no reason to believe his assists cannot go up also. With better team scoring, his efficiency should stay above the 43.5% he posted in April. He also will continue to work on bettering his shot including long range (three pointers). I don’t believe that Wall’s price tag will be as high as the other point guard elites even though his stat line is more well rounded. When ranking point guards, most will have him around PG #10 on their boards. Therefore, in an auction league, I think Wall is a must-buy.
Ty Lawson: I admittedly may be as low as any analyst on Ty Lawson. Entering this draft, I saw him go as high as #4 at the point guard position. With the addition of Andre Iguodala, I was always worried about his assist numbers coming to an elite level. Don’t believe me? Look at Jrue Holiday’s numbers this year once Iguodala left. Holiday’s assists went from 4.5 in 2011 to 8.0 in 2012. Having foresight can be key to ranking point guards, and I don’t see Lawson having much upside. In back to back years, his numbers have been almost identical. In fact, in 2012, his numbers plateaued across the board with his efficiencies actually going down. Masai Ujiri, the Denver Nuggets‘ GM, won GM of the year this year. I think because of that, he will not change up much with this organization going into next year. He and the organization believe they are on the right path so they will continue to structure the roster similarly to this year. With no major changes in sight, I continue to value Lawson the exact same that I have for the last few years: a barely above average fantasy point guard.
Let me know what you think of my point guards rankings by commenting on this article or hitting me up on Twitter.
Author: Ricky Sanders, @RSanders85
San Antonio Spurs reach WCF to face Grizzlies, eliminate Warriors
Over the past decade, the San Antonio Spurs have been the model of consistency for any professional team across any sport, as they have proved time and time again that teamwork is how you succeed. Thursday night was no different as San Antonio advanced to their second straight Western Conference Finals, and fifth over the last 10 seasons.
The Spurs held off another furious rally by the Golden State Warriors to get the win in Game 6 by the score of 94-82, and eliminate the Dubs on their home court in front of a sold out Oracle arena.
Tony Parker started slow, but scored 10 of his 13 total points during the final quarter to key the Spurs victory. Tiago Splitter chipped-in 14 points, which is a career-playoff high for him, as San Antonio held a 13-point lead late in the third.
Stephen Curry, who has been playing with an injury to his left ankle, finished with 22 points for the Warriors on 10 of 25 shooting from the field. Jarrett Jack added 15 points as the worn down Golden State team simply ran out of fuel. San Antonio outshot the Warriors 45 percent to 39 percent.
The San Antonio Spurs now move on to face the Memphis Grizzlies, and will play Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at home on Sunday.
Tony Parker put up 25 points and dished out 10 assists to help Spurs beat Warriors in Game 5 by the score of 109-91 Tuesday night as San Antonio took a 3-2 lead in their NBA playoffs series.
Harrison Barnes scored a team-high 25 points for the Golden State Warriors, while Jarrett Jack put up 20 points and Carl Landry added 16 points for their team. No other player scored over nine points for Golden State, including Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined 6 of 22 shooting and 13 points.
The Spurs were up so comfortably that even Tracy McGrady saw his first action of these NBA playoffs. After Spurs beat Warriors in Game 5, San Antonio will attempt to close out the series in Game 6, which will be played Thursday night in Oakland.
San Antonio Spurs get Game 3 win over Warriors in hostile environment
The San Antonio Spurs, led by Tony Parker putting up 25 of his 32 total points while being on fire during the first half, and Tim Duncan posting a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, quieted the Golden State Warriors rowdy crowd and hot-shooting by winning Game 3 by the score of 102-92 Friday night. The victory for the Spurs gives them a 2-1 lead in their NBA playoffs series.
Kawhi Leonard ended up scoring 15 points and grabbing nine boards, while Parker also dished out five assists and grabbed five rebounds, to help San Antonio take back home-court advantage from Golden State with the win.
The San Antonio Spurs led by 10 points heading into the fourth. That is when the Golden State Warriors rallied by scoring the first nine points of the final quarter to pull within one point, 79-78, with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
But ultimately the Warriors couldn’t keep pace, as the Spurs followed Golden State’s 9-0 run with a 11-1 run of their own, and coasted from there for the victory.
The Spurs shot 50.6 percent, compared to the Warriors 39.3 percent, as San Antonio was able to hold Golden State’s streaky shooting back court of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry to a combined 12 of 37 shooting for 33 total points.
The San Antonio Spurs will attempt to take a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals during Game 4, which will be played on Sunday.
Spurs beat Warriors in double overtime by the score of 129-127 behind Manu Ginobili‘s three-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to take a 1-0 series lead in the NBA playoffs Western Conference semifinals. Stephen Curry dropped 44 points, but it just wasn’t enough as the San Antonio Spurs rallied from being down 16 points with only four minutes remaining in regulation to escape with the win on Monday night.
San Antonio, with statistics showing that they only had a 0.5 percent chance of winning the game while being down 16 with four minutes left, went on an 18-2 run to close out the final quarter and send the game into overtime.
Then, with under four seconds left in the second OT, the Spurs inbounded the ball to Ginobili, as he was left wide open on the wing after a defensive miscommunication on the Golden State Warriors part, who sank the game-winning shot from beyond the arc. Manu ended up with 16 points on 5 of 20 shooting, including going 2 of 9 from the three-point line, to go along with 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Ginobili spoke after the game and said,
“It’s only the second one I made all day. Good timing, though.”
The Warriors had one last shot, but Jarrett Jack‘s three-point attempt off the inbounds play was off.
Tim Duncan, who reportedly was dealing with flu-like symptoms, ended up scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 35 minutes of playing time.
Curry, who played a miraculous third quarter by scoring 22 points while shooting 9 of 12 from the field, added 11 total assists and shot 18 of 35 for the game, including 6 of 14 from three-point land, for the Warriors. Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson put up 19 points each, Jarrett Jack added 15 points and Andrew Bogut posted a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds for Golden State.
Spurs beat Warriors in Game 1 at home, marking the 30th straight loss for Golden State in San Antonio, which dates all the way back to February 14th, 1997. The Spurs will attempt to make it 31 straight in Game 2, which will be played Wednesday night.
Spurs sweep Lakers! Not that much of a surprise, is it?
Tony Parker put up a game-high 23 points to lead the Spurs past Los Angeles in sweeping fashion, as they won Game 4 on the road by the score of 103-82 Sunday night.
Tim Duncan scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds for San Antonio, who advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs and will await the winner of the Golden State Warriors-Denver Nuggets series. For the Lakers, their two blowout home losses led to them getting bounced out of the first round of the postseason for the first time since 2007.
The Spurs never fell behind during the clinching game, and led by as much as 25 points at one time as they went about it like business as usual. Los Angeles, of course, provided drama at the end, which is what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing at this point.
Dwight Howard, in what could possibly be his last game in a Lakers uniform as he now becomes an unrestricted free agent, had a measly seven points and eight rebounds prior to being ejected during the third quarter for losing his temper. Pau Gasol led the way for Los Angeles with 16 points, as the team was swept out of the NBA playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons.
Howard talked to reporters after the Spurs sweep Lakers and said,
“Like a nightmare. It’s like a bad dream, and we just couldn’t wake up from it. That’s what it felt like.”