Parker to miss time


Parker will be out indefinitely with a sore everything. (USATSI)
Tony Parker will likely be out indefinitely with a sore the whole lot. (USATSI)


The San Antonio Spurs aren't shy about resting their star players because they all the time have a watch on the method of being ready for a postseason run. We've seen them sit their finest gamers under the highlight of a nationally televised sport and even record Tim Duncan's purpose for missing a game as "previous." With the stretch run beginning up after this past weekend's All-Star break, the Spurs are going to be careful with point guard Tony Parker.

Gregg Popovich told the media Tuesday that Parker is out "for the foreseeable future" because of his numerous injuries.

The Spurs' point guard is coping with calf, groin, and again bumps and bruises.

Parker has played in 47 of the 53 video games for the Spurs this season and was named to his sixth All-Star team for this past weekend. He played 11 minutes through the All-Star Sport Sunday evening. He is averaging 17.7 factors and 6.2 assists in 30.9 minutes per recreation on the season and capturing 50.1 p.c from the sector.

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NBA Prediction Tuesday Game Preview/Pick- San Antonio vs. Houston

nba picks prediciton spurs vs rockets

NBA Free Pick & Prediction Spurs vs. rockets 2024

San Antonio Spurs (33-11, 16-4 away) @ Houston Rockets (29-17, 18-7 home) 01/28- 8:00PM EST


Line: HOU -1.5

Over/Under: 212.0


The San Antonio Spurs coming off a bad game loss at the hands of the Miami Heat will try to avoid losing consecutive games as they travel into Houston to take on a Rockets team that will try to avoid their third straight in an important Western Conference showdown on Tuesday night.


The Spurs (33-11) lead the second-place Rockets (29-17) in the Southwest Division by five games, but have dropped three of five while the Rockets suffered back-to-back losses in a home-and-home series matchup against the surging Memphis Grizzlies.


San Antonio was riding a six-game road winning streak before they ran into a buzz saw in Miami that saw them trail by as many as 29 points before losing 113-101 in their first rematch since Game 7 of the NBA Finals.


Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green (hand) and Tiago Splitter (shoulder) are mainstays in the Spurs defense but injuries to these players are beginning to take their toll where they surrendered a season-worst 58.1 field goal percentage to the Miami Heat.


Everybody has injuries. You have to deal with them during the season,” said Tony Parker. “Obviously, it’s hurting us but they’re going to come back. We just have to keep pushing and trying to get better.”


The Spurs, who own a league-best 16-4 mark away from home will look to take advantage of a Houston team in search of their offense after being swept in a home-and-home series to the Grizzlies that saw them shoot 38.8 percent including 23 of 66 from behind the arc in both games. The Rockets went into those games shooting a league-best 47.0 percent while averaging 109.0 points per game. They lost at home 88-87 and in Memphis 99-81.


The last two games we’ve been terrible offensively,” said Chandler Parsons.


Rockets scoring leader James Harden who entered the series averaging 24.3 points per contest this season, totaled just 26 points in both games on 8 of 24 shooting should be able to get back on track scoring wise against the Spurs…. a team in which he is averaging 30.0 points per game over his last five contests against since joining the Rockets prior to the 2012-13 season. He’s also shooting 60.9 percent from behind the 3-point line.


Houston is 2-0 winning both games on the road (112-106 and 111-98) on the season versus the Spurs and oddsmakers like their chances again as they have made them a slim (minus -1.5) point favorite, but stay up-to-date on the latest spread for the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.


It’s going to be a tough game,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “The first two games don’t make any difference. We’re a different team. They’re a different team. We’ve got to play really well. That team lost to Miami, they’re going to come in hungry.”


A tough game it is going to be, but I predict the trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili each having a great game to lead the Spurs to a big road win in Houston.


Prediction/Pick- San Antonio

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


Spurs in form as Green paces rout of Knicks

NEW YORK – Even along with his team main the Western Conference, Gregg Popovich said Sunday morning his San Antonio Spurs had been playing C+ or B- basketball, adding there was “not much” he liked about their begin.

The Spurs, he mentioned, were profitable due to “luck,” “corporate knowledge,” and since “they’re older than grime.”

Apparently Pop is as robust on his pupils as he is on these sideline reporters, though a a hundred and twenty-89 rout of the New York Knicks bumped up their grades.

“I thought tonight we played a good, strong B+, A- game,” Popovich stated. “There have been some good issues out there.”

Simply not from the crew in orange. Coach Mike Woodson stated the Knicks played with no pride, even with one of the NBA’s marquee franchises making its lone go to to Madison Sq. Garden.

Danny Green had 24 factors and a profession-excessive 10 rebounds within the Spurs’ fourth straight victory. Kawhi Leonard scored 18 factors and Tony Parker had 17 in a recreation that was shut for about 3 minutes. San Antonio scored the primary 10 factors, led by as many as 37, and was in full control in between.

“It was embarrassing for us to come right here on our residence court and lose a recreation like this,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony mentioned. “It wasn’t about dropping the game, it was just how we lost the game. We did not compete right this moment and it confirmed on the market on the courtroom.”

Tim Duncan took simply four shots but completed with 11 factors and 10 rebounds as San Antonio (6-1) shot 54 p.c.

The Spurs spoiled the season debut of Knicks guard J.R. Smith, last season’s Sixth Man of the Yr. Suspended the first five video games of the season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program, Smith shot 1 of 9 and scored 5 points in 20 minutes.

Anthony and Andrea Bargnani both scored sixteen for the Knicks, who have been outrebounded fifty one-33 and fell to 2-4 after a 6-zero begin final season.

“I’m not frightened but we do should determine it out,” Anthony stated. “Whatever it is we now have to figure out shortly, but so far as being concerned, I’m not nervous about that. But we need to figure it out.”

The Spurs scored just 76 points a victory over Golden State on Friday, but had every little thing working offensively proper from the opening tip Sunday.

Inexperienced hit two three-pointers within the 10-0 start, Marco Belinelli’s three made it 17-4, and the Spurs hit thirteen of 18 shots whereas opening a 35-17 lead after one quarter, matching their highest-scoring period of the season.

The lead grew to 24 factors in the second, the Spurs repeatedly moving the ball to an open participant before the Knicks knew what was happening. San Antonio was making roughly two of each three pictures for much of the first half and took a sixty one-forty five lead into the locker room after taking pictures 62 percent.

“We simply played our recreation and we made shots,” Parker stated. “If you make photographs it helps, and the ball motion was nice.”

Smith, who ended the postseason in a miserable capturing hunch, opened this season the identical manner. He missed all 5 shots within the first half, unable to shake the rust after appearing in only one preseason recreation following summer time knee surgical procedure.

“I didn’t feel rusty in any respect. I just missed loads of pictures, didn’t get to the basket like I needed to and general I didn’t have an excellent recreation,” Smith said.

By the time he made a three-pointer with eight:forty three left in the third quarter for his first basket, the Knicks trailed by 26 points. The Spurs went up by 30 a couple of minutes in a while one other three by Green, and fans loudly booed when Amar’e Stoudemire missed both free throws with a little less than three minutes left in the interval.

The Knicks received each meetings last season, sweeping the Spurs for the first time in 10 years. But with middle Tyson Chandler sidelined with a broken leg, New York looked defenseless against the Western Conference champions.

It was such a laugher that Popovich had Duncan, a profession sixty nine p.c free throw shooter, take the shot when Woodson was known as for a technical foul within the third quarter. Naturally, the way this one went, Duncan made it.


Recreation notes


Popovich will face one in every of his former assistants Monday when the Spurs go to the Philadelphia 76ers, coached by Brett Brown… Metta World Peace scored 13 factors for the Knicks.


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10 other intriguing, noteworthy games worth watching on the 2013-14 NBA schedule

Sacramento Kings followers will have many reasons to cheer once they tip off this season. (Rocky Widner/Getty)

When the NBA launched the full 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Tuesday evening, intrepid Yahoo! Sports activities NBA columnist Marc J. Spears immediately made his picks for the ten must-see matchups of the forthcoming season, giving hoop fans the dates he believes most merit circling on the brand new NBA calendar. While we would by no means presume to contradict our colleague, in a slate this huge, there’s bound to be a slew of different video games value keeping track of, so why not dig a bit deeper?

Eric Freeman has discovered 10 he liked in each of the past two seasons, and this 12 months, he is invited Dan Devine along to pick a number of he is keen to look at. Here’s what they came up with:


Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings: Oct. 30. When the Kings final played in mid-April, their future was unsure, with the NBA’s Board of Governors but to weigh in on their potential sale to the Seattle-based ownership group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Might’s decision and subsequent sale to the local group headed by Vivek Ranadivé has saved the group in Sacramento, as well as given your complete franchise new hope after several years of subpar management from Joe and Gavin Maloof. It is a new day for the team and its fans.

The last few years have seen passionate assist from devoted Kings followers on game nights when it appeared as if the franchise was close to relocation. This season’s residence opener can be a different, an event outlined not a lot by desperation as the pride and optimism that comes with a fresh begin. It will likely be a starting, not the potential finish of a protracted journey. — Eric Freeman

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Nov. 1. As I wrote earlier this offseason, I am not totally sure that bringing in/again Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and first-spherical choose Shabazz Muhammad (especially while subtracting Andrei Kirilenko) will make the Wolves a demonstrably better basketball team this season. I do, nonetheless, assume those acquisitions will assist make Minnesota a greater offensive workforce, especially when mixed with a completely healthy (fingers crossed) Kevin Love, a version of Ricky Rubio who’s had a full NBA offseason with out rehabbing from a catastrophic knee injury and (provided this glacial contract course of ultimately culminates in a re-signing) a healthy, rested and paid Nikola Pekovic.

I think that Minnesota team will be, if not glorious, then not less than immensely watchable on a night-to-evening foundation because of improved outdoors capturing, punishing inside-out play from Love and Pekovic, the always-appointment-viewing passing of Rubio and a new slew of active wings capable of activating offense in Rick Adelman’s nook scheme. I’m additionally willing to consider the chance that they will be better than I anticipate defensively, as they were in 2011-12 earlier than Rubio’s torn ACL despatched the team careening off the trail. At worst, they’re going to be fun; at greatest, they could be a risk. So let’s line them up against perhaps one of the best team within the Western Conference — a group led by Love’s Team USA buddy, Kevin Durant, and whose second-in-command, Russell Westbrook, is on observe to be back from the knee injury he suffered through the playoffs — and see which path these Wolves are on.

Also, I bear in mind this happening:

… and, seeing the prospect of early-season well being for all involved, I am very amped. — Dan Devine

Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards: Oct. 30 (Opening Night), Dec. 28, Dec. 30, Jan. 18. At first look, this is the kind of mid-profile sport that pops up on the NBA schedule each night time, a nondescript contest between two playoff hopefuls with comparatively small margins of error (and injury). But, from one other vantage, it is a matchup that makes League Go the most effective bargains in your cable company’s order form.

This offseason, the Pistons dedicated themselves to watchability after several seasons within the aesthetic doldrums, acquiring level guard Brandon Jennings and mercurial ahead Josh Smith to affix man-youngster Andre Drummond and the skilled Greg Monroe. The Wizards, alternatively, have probably the most promising younger trios within the league in max-level point guard John Wall, capturing guard Bradley Beal, and rookie ahead Otto Porter. Their 4 matchups this season could not qualify as main games between contenders, however they provide startling potential for the random leisure that makes the NBA so watchable on a nightly basis. — EF

Andrew Bynum’s return to Philly must be fascinating. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Photographs) Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. A home-and-residence, back-to-back, Friday-and-Saturday pair that includes the staff that simply signed growth/bust lottery ticket Andrew Bynum and the group whose new CEO just needed to apologize for the previous regime buying and selling for him feels like a pretty closely emotional and compelling set. Plus, the double-dip takes place early sufficient in the season that Philadelphia can neither be mathematically eliminated from anything yet or do too much harm to their tanking strategy by winning, so they may find some compelling incentive to attempt to win. Sincere(ish) competition!

If Bynum is, as planned, able to go for training camp and capable of stay upright/cellular by way of the beginning of the season — hey, it’s nonetheless the offseason, let’s stay optimistic — this might represent the first opportunity for Sixers fans to really see the 7-foot center play stay skilled basketball, which the Wells Fargo Heart devoted will likely reward with either polite applause or hurled hunks of jagged, flaming particles. It is unlikely that eventual centerpiece/2013 lottery choose Nerlens Noel can have returned from rehabbing his torn ACL in time to do something more than watch this one from the sidelines, however even when that is all he does, as we discovered last year, there’s fun available simply watching an apparently coiffed big man trip the pine for Philly.

Also, in on-courtroom terms, it ought to be fun to see which weapons All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving brings out to combat Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, whose 6-foot-6 body and quickness suggest an intriguing defensive prospect. My guess? Whichever weapons Kyrie desires, early, typically and repeatedly, persevering with a brutal starting to the Syracuse product’s NBA career that will see him face the Miami Heat, then need to examine Irving twice, John Wall twice, Derrick Rose (hopefully), Stephen Curry and Tony Parker inside his first two weeks as a professional. Welcome to the NBA, younger fella. — DD

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Dec. 29. The James Harden trade is certain to define any matchup between these teams for the following a number of seasons, or a minimum of so long as it represents the moment at which the Thunder inadvertently turned a rival right into a contender while concurrently hurting their very own possibilities at a title. Despite no matter occasions received them up to now, though, these two groups figure to be two of the West’s top groups for the foreseeable future, longer than the aging (if also ageless) San Antonio Spurs, the Chris Paul-dependent Los Angeles Clippers, and the more tenuously successful Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. Each rosters function young-ish stars with room to develop (or, in the case of Dwight Howard, return to prominence), and their general managers appear to have sufficient flexibility to improve their groups when vital.

The Harden trade, then, is nearly a distraction from the instant pleasure of watching two exciting, superb groups play each other several instances per season. The season’s first matchup ought to remind us that each one our chatter about storylines exists to organize us for what really issues: the video games. — EF

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors: Dec. thirteen. Two seasons in the past, these teams finished in the draft lottery. Final season, they climbed up into the Western Convention’s top eight behind the electrical guard play of James Harden and Stephen Curry, with Houston giving the (shorthanded) Thunder a rough go of it in Spherical 1 and the Dubs turning into postseason individuals’s champs by knocking off the Denver Nuggets and scaring the daylights out of the San Antonio Spurs. This season, they’ve made arguably the 2 largest pickups of the offseason, particularly on the defensive finish, with the Rockets landing All-Star heart Dwight Howard to anchor the interior and the Warriors executing a 3-group sign-and-trade to import Andre Iguodala to lock down the perimeter. (And lest we overlook, the Warriors had been one of many few teams granted a free-agent audience with Howard, who reportedly came away very impressed with Golden State’s workers and group.)

Both ranked in the prime five in possessions per game last season, so they like to rise up and down the ground. Both ranked within the prime 11 in points per possession, too, in order that they know what to do with the ball as soon as they cross half-courtroom. They both seem to have improved across the board, supplementing their major acquisitions with smart lower-key add-ons that seem to have bolstered their benches and neatly fleshed out their rotations. And their 4 conferences last season were bookended by Houston hanging 140 on the Warriors earlier than Mark Jackson ordered intentional fouls to keep the Rockets from setting an NBA record for made three-pointers, and Curry going off for 29 points and eleven dimes as Golden State blew Houston out by 30. Draymond Green says he doesn’t like the Rockets; the sensation, we’re certain, is mutual, and I’m betting Howard hasn’t forgotten that stray elbow from Golden State energy forward David Lee while Dwight was carrying purple and gold.

Add up the scoring, the speed, the sparks that have flown between the two groups and the inimitable spirit of the Oracle followers, and I am betting that Friday night matchup’s going to be value staying house to catch. — DD

Expect Andrew Wiggins to be a significant matter of dialog in 2014. (Sam Forencich/Getty)

Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic: March 2. Although much is subject to alter over the subsequent 10 months, the 2014 NBA draft seems to be the strongest on the prime since Greg Oden and Kevin Durant entered the league in 2007. It figures, then, that the league’s worst teams will interact in a similar rush to the underside to increase their lottery odds, all in the hopes of nabbing a future famous person in June.

The Sixers and Magic aren’t certain to end up as the NBA’s backside two squads in 2013-14, however they’re likely to challenge for the league’s dunce cap. As such, their closing matchup in March may have a big impact on the lottery, and by extension the next decade of basketball. (Or, you understand, possibly the team with the second decide will find yourself with the far better participant.) — EF

New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Path Blazers: Dec. 21. If not for the Pistons, the Pelicans might need entered the season as the league’s most intriguing group. A lottery squad in each of the final two seasons after Chris Paul’s departure, the Pelicans elected to make a push for respectability next 12 months by trading its prime picks in 2013 (which wound up being Kentucky middle Noel) and 2014 (a high-5 protected choice) to the 76ers for All-Star level guard Jrue Holiday. They then engineered a 3-team deal to import former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, with visions of versatile wing lineups featuring some mixture of these two, reportedly-now-healthy maxed-out shooting guard Eric Gordon and 2012 first-rounder Austin Rivers making issues occur on the perimeter, opening up opportunities for emerging beast Anthony Davis and flooring-stretching marksman Ryan Anderson.. offered, in fact, all of it comes collectively.

Quiet as it’s saved, though, the Blazers (who’ve also missed the playoffs in each of the final two seasons) have made an identical push toward relevance, drafting exciting small-faculty combo guard C.J. McCollum to both pair with and again up reigning Rookie of the Yr Damian Lillard, and making a number of shrewd strikes (signing swingman Dorell Wright, snaring 2011 lottery choose Thomas Robinson for a pair of second-round picks, landing middle Robin Lopez within the three-teamer that despatched Evans to New Orleans) that seem to have fortified what was arguably the league’s worst bench final season.. supplied, in fact, it all comes collectively.

By the time these teams meet at the Rose Backyard, Portland will have performed 27 games and New Orleans could have performed 24. They will have had nearly three months because the begin of coaching camp to have labored out rotations, began to develop chemistry amongst all the brand new and current items, and have had the opportunity to figure out whether their respective pushes towards capital-m Mattering in the NBA playoff conversation seem ready to take off or have stalled, which is interesting sufficient in a macro sense. And from an instantaneous run-of-play perspective, the sheer array of interesting combine-and-match talents on the ground — Davis’ awkward-yet-easy apositional frontcourt box-checking, LaMarcus Aldridge’s considerably Boshian 4/5 bristling, extra ball-dealing with guards who can play the nominal one or two than you would shake a stick at, outsized threes/small-ball fours Nicolas Batum and Al-Farouq Aminu, and so forth. — to make this a enjoyable watch in and of itself that might wind up telling us one thing more about the Western playoff picture.

And if all that does not tickle your fancy, I’ve acquired 4 words for you: Robin Lopez Revenge Sport. — DD

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: April 16. The final evening of the 2012-13 season featured an excessive amount of excitement, with Stephen Curry setting a brand new file for 3-pointers in a season, the Los Angeles Lakers avoiding embarrassment and clinching a playoff berth, and Sacramento Kings fans doubtlessly watching their workforce for the final time. Solely time will tell what 2013-14’s finale brings, but we can bet it’s going to be magical.

One thing we do know, not less than as of this writing, is that a national TELEVISION viewers will get to benefit from the season-closing tilt between the Hawks and Bucks on ESPN. It appears as though the Worldwide Chief has banked on these squads battling for a playoff spot, and it sure looks like a doozy. Will Jeff Teague rating 20 points and switch the tide in a number of fantasy leagues? Will Ersan Ilyasova take a nap in the course of the third quarter? Will Al Horford and Paul Millsap even have to play? Keep tuned for “SportsCenter!” — EF

When Rudy returns to Memphis, neither he nor Z-Bo figure to be smiling. (Joe Murphy/NBA/Getty Photographs) Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies: Nov. thirteen. The Raptors and Grizzlies faced off once last season after the trade that despatched Rudy Gay north of the border, but the meeting took place at the Air Canada Centre — Homosexual scored 13 points on 15 pictures, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 17 apiece and the Grizzlies earned a six-level highway win. It will symbolize Homosexual’s first journey to FedEx Forum as a visitor after 6 half of seasons and more than 8,500 factors scored in a Grizzlies uniform.. and yet, you surprise if Memphians really miss his iso-heavy, accuracy-light, volume-taking pictures wing sport as much as his prior level of productivity would seem to dictate.

As I’ve written prior to now, Memphis improved on each ends of the floor after the three-workforce deal that despatched Homosexual to the Raptors, redistributing the possessions beforehand utilized by the athletic swingman to more environment friendly gamers like Conley, Randolph and (most notably) Marc Gasol whereas persevering with to lock down on the defensive end en route to a visit to the Western Convention finals — a level of success they by no means reached with Homosexual playing a pivotal role. However would that method — ditch shot-jacking, unfold responsibility around, emphasize elevated participant and ball motion, operate extra via the 2 huge guys and rating just enough to let your clamp-down D take you residence — be lauded fairly as a lot as it has been if Memphis is not successful?

What if the Grizzlies — who look robust again after re-upping perimeter defending ace Tony Allen, snaring amnestied shooter Mike Miller and trading for regular backup huge man Kosta Koufos — get off to a slow begin in opposition to a troublesome slate that includes the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, revamped Pistons, reloaded Warriors and Jap Conference doppelganger Indiana Pacers? What if Gay — his jumper instantly scorching after long-overdue offseason vision correction surgery — gets off to a sizzling begin and has Toronto wanting like they may compete for one of many East’s lower-tier playoff spots? Might those few lingering voices that take a look at Memphis and say, “It would be good to have someone who may reliably create his personal shot,” find some extra pals? Or has the Grindhouse come far enough to rest on what it is aware of about its group’s id, salute Rudy for his service and return concerning the business of not bluffing?

I suspect I do know the reply to that question, however like every part else we’re talking about right now, we won’t actually know for positive until the season gets getting in earnest; then, all of the questions we pore over during the summer time will likely be changed by entire new units of quandaries that we’ll spend the subsequent eight months attempting to solve. It’s going to be great. — DD


Tony Allen’s ‘back on [his] / Grizzly,’ returning to Memphis on a 4-year, $20 million deal

Flex on ‘em, Tony. You’ve earned it. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

If you’re reading us, you probably already know that Tony Allen’s really good at Twitter. Well, “really good” in a “randomly stringing together letters, vowel sounds and half-sentences to create something akin to stream-of-consciousness refrigerator poetry” sort of way.. which is to say, a very legitimate sort of way, indeed.

So it came as no surprise when, just after Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the two-time All-Defensive First Team shooting guard had reached agreement on a $20 million deal to remain the all-grit, all-grind heart of the Memphis Grizzlies, Allen dropped a fitting microblogging opening salvo:

He quickly finished that thought, expressing gratitude for his state of affairs and the interest shown him in free agency by the Milwaukee Bucks and head coach Larry Drew, before putting a perfect bow on the signing:

Yes, Tony, you most certainly are. And that seems like a good thing for Memphis, and a pretty fair deal for both sides.

OK, first, the big caveats, from where I sit:

Offense. One of the big problems that reared its head during the Grizzlies’ four-game Western Conference finals sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs was an ugly lack of reliable long-range shooting beyond emerging small forward Quincy Pondexter. Without multiple wings who could make San Antonio’s perimeter defenders pay for sagging off them at the arc, the Spurs were able to devote much more attention to disrupting big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol by clogging lanes for entry passes to establish them in the post, swiping down with quick double-teams when they started to make moves, and getting extra arms and legs in the way to deter bull-rushes to the basket. They were able to do this, in part, because they weren’t the least bit concerned about Allen hurting them from the perimeter.

Allen basically never shoots 3-pointers, having attempted only 105 in 309 games over the past five seasons; considering he’s a well-below-average 26.9 percent career shooter from beyond the arc, this is actually some pretty decent knowledge of self (determination), but it’s also something that 29 other NBA teams know, too. The unreliable jumper travels inside the arc, too; Allen’s hit more than 35 percent of his midrange shots just twice times in a nine-year NBA career, according to’s stat tool. If the Grizzlies are going to play Allen heavy minutes at the shooting guard spot (which they are) and two proper big men heavy minutes at the four and the five (which they are), then smart defenses will continue to sink, sag and dare.

Age. Allen will turn 32 about 2 1/2 months into next season, and will now be on the books to make a fully guaranteed amount reported to be $5.5 million at age 35 during the 2016-17 season. For a player who derives an awful lot of his value from the athleticism and lateral quickness necessary to stay with and lock up hiccup-quick perimeter scorers, who has had surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee (albeit all the way back in 2007) and who has at times suffered through other nagging knee and groin injuries over the past couple of seasons, that’s a bit scary.

Beyond that, though.. I mean, Tony Allen kind of is the Memphis Grizzlies. He might not produce a ton of offensive value from the two-guard spot, but he routinely limits his wing opposition to at least an equal degree, and whose 6-foot-4 frame and 6-foot-9 wingspan makes him the dampening agent of choice for opponents ranging from Chris Paul and Tony Parker to Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.

Not only does he work his tail off to deny the ball, fight through screens and contest every shot he can, but he also does so without fouling at obscene rates, averaging fewer than four personals per 36 minutes in each of his three seasons in Tennessee despite checking the other team’s best scorer every night. And while his offensive limitations are what they are at this point, he’s become much more adept over the years at using the disrespect he receives to his advantage, becoming a better off-ball cutter behind sleeping defenders and a very active helper for the likes of Randolph and Gasol on the offensive glass.

He does what he can with the skill-set he’s got on the offensive end and everything he can to take away the skill-set you’ve got on the other end, and he does it all with something between a snarl and a smile. He’s got a very legitimate claim to the title of “Best Perimeter Defender in the World (Non-LeBron James Division)” and has (along with Gasol) been the linchpin of a defensive juggernaut that has finished eighth, seventh and second in the NBA in points allowed per possession over his three seasons in Memphis. He totally owns the role of The Grindfather of The Grindhouse in a way that it’s hard to envision any other player really matching.

Sure, the Grizzlies would benefit from a shooting guard who could, y’know, shoot. But wing players with sweet strokes seem to be getting sweeter deals this offseason — Kevin Martin got four years and $28 million from a Minnesota Timberwolves team that will also pay Chase Budinger more than $5 million a year, J.J. Redick’s getting four years and $27 million from the Los Angeles Clippers, Martell Webster’s getting four years and $22 million from the Washington Wizards — and it’d remain an open question whether the offensive gains would outweigh the defensive losses of subtracting an all-world perimeter hound.

If you’ve got to choose between the devil you know will take a little bit less money and the devil you don’t know will help you maintain the identity you’ve built, the former seems like a comparatively sound bet, which is why Allen’s back on his / Grizzly. Thank goodness for that.


Miami capitalizes on crucial late-game miscues, defeats San Antonio to force a Game 7

Chris Bosh provided two huge blocks in the overtime win (Getty Images)

In a series full of surprises, the San Antonio Spurs shocked NBA fans across the country in Tuesday’s Game 6 by failing to do what they’ve done so well since the Clinton Administration — execute fundamentals down the stretch.

San Antonio gave up two crucial offensive rebounds in the final moments of the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat’s eventual 103-100 win, leading to two dagger three-pointers from LeBron James and Ray Allen. The Spurs also aided Miami’s cause by missing two big free throws in the final minute of regulation and not calling a timeout down one point with a minute to go in overtime. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich also curiously sat Tim Duncan late in regulation defensively in order to match up with Miami’s small lineup, and Tony Parker (who had hit a clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter) offensively for the final play of overtime.

It was enough for Miami — a team that was down double-digits in the fourth and seemed to have no answer for San Antonio’s long-armed, paint-packing defense — to pull out the win. In a night full of shrugged shoulders and clueless offense, the Heat had all the answers in the fourth quarter and overtime when it came to opportunistic play. And while Miami doesn’t have much to build on Xs and Os-wise heading into a decisive Game 7 on Thursday, it has a Large Hadron Collider’s-worth of momentum as it suits up for the final game of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Despite the missteps on either end, it was a classic game, and perhaps the best NBA Finals contest in years. The Spurs rocked out to an early advantage in the first half based around Tim Duncan’s efficient and decisive work in the paint. The Spurs center made his first eight shots and dove into halftime with 25 points, dominating a Miami defense that seemed hell-bent on stopping sharpshooter Danny Green from getting open looks on the outside.

The roll kept on in the third quarter, except by then Duncan (who finished with 32 points and 17 rebounds) had stepped aside to let Tony Parker (19 points) and Kawhi Leonard (22 points) take over some of the scoring load. The real breakthrough came on defense, though, as San Antonio continually went under screens and clogged the middle so as to bait Heat scorers into turning into Heat shooters. The result was a combined 38 points for Miami in the middle two quarters — hardly the sort of output needed to pull even in an elimination, NBA Finals game.

By the end of the third, though, the Spurs were absolutely gassed. Popovich had no choice but to sit Tony Parker and Tim Duncan for extended minutes to start the fourth period, and as a result the Heat clawed their way back to an eventual two-point lead on a Dwyane Wade lay-in. LeBron James, meanwhile, began to dominate on his own — taking advantage of step-slow San Antonio defense in the recovery zones, making up for a 3-12 start to the game from the field to finish with 32 points on 11-26 shooting, with 11 assists and 10 turnovers.

A quick mini-run from San Antonio, predicated on defense and opportunistic offense of its own (including the aforementioned desperation three-pointer by Parker over tough defense by James) gave the team a five point edge heading into the game’s final minute, and after Dwyane Wade clanged a turnaround jumper it seemed like the title was all San Antonio’s.

The champs weren’t done, though.

Tim Duncan’s 32-point, 17-rebound evening went for naught (Getty Images) After Manu Ginobili split a pair of free throws with 28 seconds to go, LeBron James missed a 26-foot heave in an attempt to cut the lead to two. Mike Miller secured the offensive rebound and immediately dished back out to James, who hit on his second three-point attempt. After Kawhi Leonard was intentionally fouled, the second-year swingman’s first free throw spun in and out. He made the second, but the Heat were down to a one-possession deficit. With Tim Duncan watching from the sideline, James again missed a three-pointer, but Chris Bosh sent his offensive rebound toward Ray Allen, who hit a game-tying three-pointer with just five seconds left. The Spurs could not score to end regulation.

San Antonio had its chances in overtime, but it simply did not have the legs to compete offensively, scoring just five points in the five-minute overtime period. Parker looked especially winded, and while Spurs fans will bemoan a missed foul call that could have sent Manu Ginobili to the line to tie the contest late in OT, the Spurs seemed to receive all of the close calls in what at the time appeared to be the deciding third and fourth quarter. And Manu himself did the Spurs no such favors with eight turnovers in a poor performance.

The Spurs competed in that overtime, though. And while that may seem like slim praise for a team that blew a chance at winning the NBA title in six games, understand that no other team in modern NBA history has entered an overtime period like that with a burden such as San Antonio’s. And though the Spurs eventually fell, most other teams would have fallen in a far more decisive and embarrassing manner after a gut punch like that. This bodes well for their Game 7.

LeBron’s brilliance, Miami’s younger legs, and San Antonio’s closing window does not bode well, however. Then again, this why we play these games. On-paper advantages haven’t done a damn thing for the Miami Heat in the 2013 postseason, so why should things start working that way on Thursday?

We get a game on Thursday, and that’s all that matters. One game to win it all. It’s hard to ask for much more from an NBA season.

NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:

Ray Allen nails huge 3-pointer to send Game 6 to overtime

Slideshow: LeBron James loses headband, leads Heat to victory

Watch: LeBron James blocks Tim Duncan at the rim


Tony Parker misses the game-winner, on what may have been an illegal play for the Spurs

Tony Parker gathers himself late in the Game 6 loss (Getty Images)

Tony Parker has certainly made more ridiculous shots in his lifetime.

The man has made a career out of wild floaters, spinners in the lane, points in the paint that typically belong to big men, and long jumpers that make his head coach cringe. And as obviously injured and winded as Parker appeared to be in the second half of Tuesday’s Game 6 NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, many in the moment thought that Parker’s jumper at the buzzer of regulation still had a great shot to go in.

Mainly because this is Tony Parker, noted slayer of giants, that we’re talking about. Alas, it was not to be. Watch:

Parker’s jumper, as ABC color analyst Jeff Van Gundy noted in the broadcast, “wasn’t even close.” It still wasn’t a bad look, considering the circumstances.

San Antonio was without a timeout with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, and mindful of this (following the previous Ray Allen three-point make) the Spurs attempted to immediately push the ball into play while taking advantage of a recovering Miami Heat defense. Referee Mike Callahan, though, decided to stop the ballgame to check to see if Allen’s feet were behind the three-point arc, a move that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich vehemently disagreed with, yelling “you can’t do that” to the refereeing crew as they stopped San Antonio’s attempt at putting the ball into play.

San Antonio – and pay attention to this, all you wack-job NBA conspiracy theorists – then countered with a massively illegal move of its own that the refereeing crew allowed.

[Related: Did Popovich cost Spurs victory in Game 6?]

The Spurs entered Tim Duncan back into the game while Allen’s shot was being reviewed. Teams are not allowed to substitute players during referee reviews, because reviews aren’t technically a dead ball situation.

Think about that. Tim Duncan could have capped a legendary career with a game-winning shot to win the 2013 NBA Finals, and it wouldn’t have even been legal. And there wouldn’t have been anything the referees – considering the NBA’s current in-game rules regarding mulligans – could have done about it.

Once again, put that in your pipe, conspiracy lovers. The Spurs were allowed to re-introduce their best player into the game illegally in the game’s final seconds. This refereeing crew made some significant mistakes in Game 6, but not because they were trying to tilt the action one way or the other. They just screwed some calls up.

[Related: Heat feast on late-game miscues]

More important is the state of Parker, who played more than 42 minutes in the loss with a hamstring pull, and was obviously tripping over his own dragging tongue by the time the third quarter ended. Tony ended up missing all three of his shots in overtime and clanking on 17 of 23 shots overall, and if he’s unable to drive the San Antonio offense in Game 7, then it may not even be worth it for the Spurs to drive to the arena.

Though they will. And Parker will try. And we’ll get a Game 7, to see if Tony can try to nail another game-winner.

(With legal players on the court, this time, we hope.)

NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• LeBron keys big-time Heat rally
• Watch: Allen’s three bails out Miami
• Green’s shot blocked at the buzzer
• Mike Miller dominates while shoeless


Dwyane Wade’s scoring impact is historically crucial to this year’s Miami Heat team

We’ve been down this path earlier than. Dwyane Wade’s All-Star-stage play is crucially vital to the Miami Heat. When he cuts and slashes with ease like he did in Thursday’s 32-point outing in Recreation four, scoring within the lane and disrupting the passing lanes on protection, Miami is nearly unbeatable. When he misses on runners, bricks his jumpers, and appears a step-slow on the other end of the court docket? The Heat are fairly vulnerable. This has been apparent to any set of eyes over the last two postseasons.

Thanks to Chris Herring of the Wall St. Journal, though, we now have a qualification of how a lot Dwyane’s common season-typical 20 points per recreation assist the Heat out. Wade, who became “Flash” in Thursday’s Sport four regardless of a nagging knee harm, may just be the largest X-think about NBA playoffs historical past.

From Herring:

The Warmth have received forty two of the forty six games this season wherein Wade scored 20 factors or more.

According to Stats LLC, solely 4 players in the past 25 seasons have logged higher successful percentages in such scenarios: Chicago’s Scottie Pippen (1996), Detroit’s Joe Dumars (1989 and 1990), San Antonio’s Tony Parker (2003) and Boston’s Robert Parish (1986). Every of these males won NBA titles in those years.

Context is crucial, and telling in this occasion.

Pippen battled a heel and back harm all through 1995-ninety six, and whereas he remained maybe the league’s finest defender, his scoring acumen (particularly in the playoffs) suffered. Joe Dumars was an All-Star guard throughout Detroit’s two title runs, but the 1989 NBA Finals MVP was working on a workforce thick with contributors who needed the ball. Tony Parker, in his second season during 2002-03, was a wildly inconsistent performer with a lot to learn, and Robert Parish’s offensive contributions in 1985-86 have been out and out gravy for the most effective Boston Celtic staff of the Larry Fowl period.

The most direct comparison might be made to Pippen. Wade and Scottie serve two completely totally different roles defensively (Pippen was not a roamer by behavior, and also you’d never catch his head turned on that finish), but they both worked as clear Number Twos to the perfect participant of that exact era. They were also the second scoring possibility on high-heavy groups filled with role players, as a result of whereas the 1995-ninety six Chicago Bulls won an NBA file seventy two video games throughout that season, the team really solely had three gamers (Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Toni Kukoc) that would create their own pictures.

This year’s Warmth also ran down a significant milestone, winning a remarkable 27 video games in a row in the course of the regular season, and they’re not to be dismissed simply because they’ve split the primary 4 with a championship-caliber San Antonio Spurs crew throughout this yr’s Finals. They nonetheless are just as top-heavy as these Bulls, and a significant chunk of that high has fallen off fairly a bit because the postseason started. In his piece, Herring details just how far Wade has dropped since the playoff decals hit the ground:

Wade entered Recreation four averaging simply 14 factors per game, a seven-level drop from his regular-season average. That wasn’t just a small concern, it was a historic one: If it held by the end of the playoffs, and the Warmth win anyway, it could mark the steepest fall for a second-main scorer on a title-winning workforce in NBA history.

The Heat should “win anyway.” The Spurs are a implausible staff with a superb coaching employees leading the way, and the chances are pointing toward San Antonio taking Recreation 5 in their ultimate home efficiency in a exceptional season. This is nonetheless a greatest-of three sequence with two to be probably played in Miami, although, and the Heat earned that benefit with a marvelous regular season. And in what has been somewhat under-reported, the defending champs have labored by a remarkably unusual postseason – going through a sub-mediocre Milwaukee Bucks squad earlier than taking on an odd, form-shifting Chicago Bulls team simply before hitting up a batch of Indiana Pacers that also have quite a bit to figure out.

Then there’s the Spurs, who appear to change rotations and outlooks day by day, a team that started Sport four by guarding Wade with Tiago Splitter, the last word diss sent the way of a player that had been the go-to first quarter offensive focus for Miami for the previous few games.

It wasn’t simply Wade that reacted to that batch of disrespect with improved shooting and elevated efficiency. San Antonio could have put all-world defender Kawhi Leonard on Dwyane to start, and it may not have mattered – Miami’s game plan was simply as huge a think about Wade’s Game four revival as the rest. The Heat put their capturing guard in elements of the court that acted as his consolation zone, because the runners that rimmed out in the earlier recreation had been now being launched from acquainted components of the paint. It’s true that Wade had attractiveness in Recreation three, but they weren’t seems to be he was used to. The Warmth went out of their solution to change that in Recreation 4.

San Antonio was aware of this by the time rubbish time hit in Game four, and you understand they’ve had a counter in place since their heads hit the pillows within the wee hours on Friday morning. Wade and the Heat are little question aware of the San Antonio response, they usually’ve had a counter to that counter in thoughts since around the identical time.

So what makes the larger dent? The good and exact unstoppable power or the clever and anticipatory immovable object? Well, that’s what makes these NBA Finals so rattling interesting.

One thing we do know? Dude’s gotta score 20 factors. Dwyane Wade has to find a method to get his, once once more.