BasketBlog 5/3

By Ryan GlasspiegelFollow Sports Rapport on Twitter

Tonight’s Games:

Heat @ Knicks – 7:00 ET on TNT (Heat lead 2-0)
Thunder @ Mavericks – 9:30 ET on TNT (Thunder lead 2-0)

About Last Night:

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Spurs 114, Jazz 83 (Spurs lead 2-0)

– This game was over at halftime. This series feels like it will be a sweep. On Inside the NBA, Barkley had a very interesting point: you hear about great systems in college basketball–like Duke, UNC, and UConn–but in the NBA it’s usually about the players. With the Spurs, role players beyond Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli are generally interchangeable but thrive playing for Greg Popovich. Shaq, of course, disagreed. In his disagreement, he messed up the details on the years that his role players helped him win championships.

– Not that it mattered with the massive margin of victory, but Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News talks about the Spurs’ gameplan to stop Al Jefferson:

The Spurs were adamant about not letting leading Utah scorer Al Jefferson get to his favorite spots in the paint Wednesday night. And when they could, they wanted to lean and push him away from places where Jefferson produced as the Jazz’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. With the Spurs’ determined effort, Jefferson hit only 5-for-15 from the field and was limited to 10 points in the Spurs’ convincing 114-83 victory.

Most convincingly, Jefferson did not get to the foul line in a loss that had Utah coach Tyrone Corbin ready to go back to the drawing board before Game 3 on Saturday night. “They are bumping him off his spot and making him catch it off the post a little bit and fronting him a lot so we have to get it over him,” Corbin said.  “Then, he’s getting it off the block rather than on the block low. We have got to find a way to get him the ball in his spots a little better.”

– In the Salt Lake Tribune, Gordon Monson writes that the Jazz are “chickening out” against the Spurs:

After bumping and skidding their way through what Al Jefferson properly described in the postgame as an “embarrassment,” the Jazz flew home from San Antonio late Wednesday night in a world of hurt. Hurt confidence and hurt feelings, and hurt chances for any kind of hope in a playoff series that suddenly looks as lopsided as a Kim Kardashian cartwheel.

The Jazz will now try to boost themselves back up from subterranean levels, their predicament dug so deep by way of a listless, careless, heartless showing in Game 2. As much as Kevin O’Connor has bristled and barked at the notion that this is a rebuilding year, after what happened in the first two playoff games against the Spurs, that renovation is now undeniably an open construction zone.

Pacers 97, Magic 74 (Pacers lead 2-1)

– In the Indianapolis Star, Bob Kravitz details the mis-matches:

What do you do now if you’re Magic coach Stan Van Gundy? So they try to put Ryan Anderson on David West. West either eats him alive or the Magic are forced to double-team, opening up the perimeter and allowing the Pacers to shoot 53 percent in the first half. Meanwhile, Anderson is reduced to an offensive cipher, worn down by West’s physicality, his game diminished by the lack of an Orlando low-post presence. “He wasn’t good again,” Van Gundy said simply.

So they come out in the second half, put Glen “Big Baby” Davis on West and place Anderson on Roy Hibbert. That’s a signal to Hibbert to dominate, and he did that against Anderson, forcing the Magic to put Anderson back on West.

– In the Orlando Sentinel, George Diaz calls the Magic’s performance pitiful:

With Superman in Los Angeles, the Magic are left holding the kryptonite. Kaboom! That is the sound of their playoff chances imploding. The Pacers now lead the series, 2-1, after dominating for Magic for the second consecutive game. The score was 97-74, and it was basically over when the Magic sputtered out of the gate again for the third consecutive game. The Pacers are taller, deeper and are a perfect fit to take out a Magic team hurting at its core with the loss of Howard.

Grizzlies 105, Clippers 98 (Series tied 1-1)

– In the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Ron Higgins talks about the Grizzlies’ better effort in Game 2:

The Grizzlies certainly played with more resolve, doing all the things they didn’t do in Game 1. They got back on defense to stop the Clips’ fast break, they located the Clippers’ best shooters in transition and they turned the paint into a wrestling match. It’s why Memphis had a 37-28 rebounding advantage, why the Clips turned the ball over 21 times for 25 points and why the Griz had an 18-6 edge in second chance points.

If anything, the fourth-quarter collapse lit the Grizzlies’ fire, especially Gay. “For the last two days, all you could see on ESPN was all the talk about the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA history,” said Gay, who got the first playoff win of his career. “Hopefully, we can get one or two games in Los Angeles.”

– In the LA Times, Baxter Holmes details the Clippers’ injuries:

Midway through the second half Wednesday, the Clippers bench looked like a hospital waiting room. Mo Williams was dealing with a right forearm contusion. Eric Bledsoe had a left elbow contusion. And Nick Young’s right (shooting) thumb was sprained. The three of them sustained their bumps and bruises during the Clippers’ 105-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night in Game 2 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series. The series is tied, 1-1.

As they were being tended to on the bench, there sat, in fine suits, former starting small forward Caron Butler, who is out with a fractured left hand, and former starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups, who is out with a left torn Achilles’ tendon.


One Response to BasketBlog 5/3

  1. Shaq is so awful that it kind of makes the show more interesting for me. It’s perplexing why he feels the need to be so smug…maybe it’s because he knows he sucks at thinking and speaking so he is constantly a defensive mentality.

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