Wed May 22 02:30am EDT
The Memphis Grizzlies' slogan for these playoffs has been "We Don't Bluff," a reference to a semi-famous quote from Zach Randolph and an encapsulation of the toughness that's typified this team for the past three seasons. However, that distaste for play-acting was called into question for at least one key moment in their Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
With the score 85-81 in favor of San Antonio and 27 seconds left in regulation, Zach Randolph forced a steal from Manu Ginobili and passed ahead to Tony Allen, who seemed to have a clear path to the basket for a lay-up. Ginobili caught up, though, and pulled Allen down by his forearm as he rose up for the shot. Allen grabbed his head after crashing to the floor, which suggested that it was a serious foul.
The officials called a flagrant foul and headed over to the monitors to assess the severity. Replays showed a somewhat different picture of the action. While Allen did in fact hit the floor hard, his head never hit the ground. That indicates he bluffed, contrary to the Grizzlies' slogan. It worked, too — Allen nailed both free throws, Mike Conley hit a tough runner on the ensuing possession, and the Grizzlies forced overtime with the score tied at 85-85. The extra period wouldn't have happened if not for the flagrant.
Wed May 22 01:05am EDT
It would be fair to expect San Antonio Spurs fans to let out sighs of relief after the end of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Memphis Grizzlies. After blowing a 13-point fourth quarter lead to see the Grizzlies force overtime (due in part to a questionable flagrant foul on Manu Ginobili with 26 seconds left), the Spurs controlled overtime to come away with a 93-89 win and 2-0 series lead heading into Game 3 in Memphis. They averted disaster and remain in strong position to make the NBA Finals.
Yet, for at least one attending fan, the game's end was not an opportunity to express relief, but rather a chance to celebrate the Spurs' win in the form of an excited yelp. With two consecutive screams of "We did it!" this man has now entered playoff fan lore alongside Joakim Noah flipper-offer and potential murderer Filomena Tobias, the woman who screamed during the entire Spurs comeback in Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors, and the Miami Heat's "good job, good effort" kid, his spiritual cousin. Congratulations, sir: you will now always be known as "We Did It" Guy.
In truth, there is nothing particularly wrong with what this man did. Fans yell in support of their teams all the time. On the other hand, most aren't picked up in perfect stereo sound by TV cameras in the middle of a fairly sober post-game scene. The Spurs responded to the win in characteristically stoic form, and this fan disrupted things in a manner rarely heard outside of corporate golf tournaments and wrestling events featuring Jerry "The King" Lawler (a Grizzlies fan, incidentally).
It's as yet uncertain how Grizzlies fans will respond in the aftermath of their own wins in this series, but I'm willing to bet things will sound a little different. Er, wait, what does it sound like when everyone eats all the ribs within a 20-mile radius?
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Michael Jordan announces the Charlotte Bobcats will become the Hornets
• Cleveland Cavaliers win the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery
• East finals preview: Can the Pacers knock off the Heat?
• Clippers not retaining Vinny Del Negro as coach
Tue May 21 09:50pm EDT
It seems like Nick Gilbert brings a lot of luck to the NBA Draft Lottery for the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time in three seasons as the franchise's lottery representative, the teenage son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has brought home the top pick in the draft. The Cavs, who finished the 2012-13 season with a 24-58 record, entered the lottery with the third-best chances of snagging the first selection at 15.6 percent.
The Orlando Magic, the league's worst team at 20-62, were forced to settle for the second pick. However, the biggest losers of the lottery were the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be the Hornets), who dropped to the fourth spot after posting a 21-62 record, just one game better than the Magic. They were supplanted in the top three by the Washington Wizards, who entered the process with a 30 percent chance of jumping from the eighth pick into the trio of lottery spots.
While the Wizards will benefit the biggest boost of any team in the lottery, the Cavaliers are the clear winners of the event. In 2011, they won the top pick and selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, who earned his first All-Star selection this February in his second season. This June, Cleveland will have the chance to choose between Kentucky shot-blocker Nerlens Noel (currently rehabbing a torn ACL) and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore. Given the presence of 2012 first-round pick Dion Waiters, the Cavs will likely opt for Noel, although that is merely an educated guess with the draft more than a month away.
Tue May 21 07:45pm EDT
Charlotte's NBA franchise will soon have a new but familiar look. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan announced that the team will change its name to the Hornets for the 2014-15 season and beyond. The official announcement follows a Friday report from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that the Bobcats were beginning the process of formalizing a name change.
The NBA expanded to Charlotte in 1988 with the Hornets and played in the city through the 2001-02 season, when owner George Shinn moved them to New Orleans. The Charlotte Hornets built a brand on the basis of their ultra-'90s teal-heavy color scheme and the allure of young stars Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. The Bobcats have not succeeded in building the same kind of fan base or image, and the New Orleans Hornets' decision to become the more geographically acceptable Pelicans has freed up the name.
Jordan explained the decision on Tuesday. From Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
Tue May 21 04:35pm EDT
The minds behind Ball Don’t Lie are going to preview each of the parings in the third round, with Kelly Dwyer going against character for a more genial take, Dan Devine bringing his inimitable mixture of both order and bedlam, along with Eric Freeman’s legendary look inside the reputations of some of the series’ key fixtures.
We continue with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.
Which team do you think will win the series, and in how many games? Vote here to let us know what you think.
Tue May 21 02:45pm EDT
A typical Memphis Grizzlies possession will sometimes feature left-handed point guard Mike Conley bringing the ball up court, spying left-handed forward Tayshaun Prince as he peels off of a screen to set up shop on the “elbow” of the court. Prince will receive a pass from Conley and then attempt to make an entry pass into the post, where left-handed power forward Zach Randolph loves to work from. If that combination works well and the Grizzlies end up blowing out their opponent, left-handed coach Lionel Hollins can empty his bench, and bring young left-handed prospects Troy Wroten and Ed Davis off of the pine to round out the contest.
Lotta lefties, is what we’re saying. Real Kucinich-styled stuff. A legendary amount of lefties, though? Or, most importantly to Memphis, enough to make a difference in the franchise’s first trip to the Western Conference finals?
Kevin Helliker, Chris Herring, and Stu Woo did fantastic work on Tuesday in publishing a piece for the Wall St. Journal that talked up potential advantages to having so many left-handed players on a roster. Here’s one snippet, referencing physician Frank Lawler, who studies these sorts of off-hand things:
Tue May 21 01:05pm EDT
@kdtrey5 steps forward and gives $1mil matching gift to the ARC for disaster relief, text "REDCROSS" to 90999 for a $10 donation.
— Red Cross Oklahoma (@redcrossokc) May 21, 2013
Regional Red Cross: “Mr. Durant’s gift and support to Okla. comes at a time of great need and we’re forever thankful for his generosity.” — Royce Young (@dailythunder) May 21, 2013
It's also well-worth mentioning that Kevin Durant did not announce this donation. Rather, the Red Cross was the first to point out Durant's contribution (which was made through his personal charity arm, The Durant Family Foundation), with Kevin letting his donation do the talking.
There's isn't much to add beyond this. The devastation in Oklahoma was as stunning as it was swift, and any little bit helps. The Red Cross' localized branch is the best place to go if you want to contribute as Kevin did.
Tue May 21 12:45pm EDT
Tracy McGrady turns 34 on Friday, and most would probably assume that the best possible gift he could receive during his birthday week would be his first made basket as a San Antonio Spur. The seven-time All-Star has played just over 15 minutes in total since signing with the team just before the regular season ended, and he’s missed all four shots of his from the field during mostly garbage time spent coming off of the San Antonio bench.
So, the guy has to be itching to get back on the scoreboard, right? To showcase some of that all-around ability that made him one of the NBA’s greats? To make his mark on what could be one last championship run for these Spurs?
Nah, says T-Mac. He just wants to contribute when called upon, doing whatever Spurs coach Gregg Popovich asks. From the San Antonio Express-News:
“It's very different, a championship-caliber organization,” he said.
Tue May 21 11:30am EDT
Syracuse men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim has long been known for being somewhat … irascible? Is that the nicest way to put it?
He doesn’t often put things nicely, but because he is an NCAA champion all is usually forgiven. New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony led Boeheim’s team to that championship back in 2003, but Carmelo has had a rough go of things in his ten pro seasons following – only twice making it out of the first round of the playoffs. Most stars that fail to make extended playoff runs can usually blame their lacking teammates for that failed advancement, but they typically tend not to in the newspapers.
Why would they, when Jim Boeheim can do the work for them? From the Syracuse Post-Standard, in an interview with Chris Carlson:
"Not on that team," Boeheim said. "He did what he can do. He played very well the final game. Everybody's killing him but Tyson Chandler just didn't try to catch the ball. He threw him the ball and Tyson Chandler went like this (Boeheim dodged in a chair in his office in the Carmelo K. Anthony Center). He was wide open. He should have been looking for the ball right here.
Tue May 21 11:00am EDT
This is Roy Tate Moore. He's a lucky dude. And because of that, he's going to Tuesday's 2013 NBA Draft Lottery with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Here's the explanation for Moore's video and trip, courtesy of Cavs.com:
Last Friday, May 17th, [Cavaliers owner Dan] Gilbert put out the call to his @cavsdan Twitter followers to produce and tweet a :30 second or less original video that creatively expressed why they should travel with him to New York for the lottery proceedings and help represent the Cavaliers. @RoyTateMoore did just that with a winning submission that demonstrated his positive karma to prove that he is “one lucky dude.” [...]
“I am so excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to be a part of this night and help represent the Cavaliers with Dan and Nick,” said Moore.