7 Grizzlies Players Battling Stomach Virus Ahead of Friday’s Game vs. Celtics

The Memphis Grizzlies sit atop the Western Conference with an impressive 10-2 record to start the 2014-15 NBA season, but a fluky medical situation may harm their immediate future.

According to The Associated Press (via ESPN.com), seven Grizzlies have a stomach virus and are questionable to play in Friday’s game against the Boston Celtics.

The ill players are swingman Quincy Pondexter, center Kosta Koufos, forwards Jarnell Stokes and Jon Leuer and guards Tony Allen, Beno Udrih and Courtney Lee.

That will certainly make Friday’s matchup more interesting. Boston enters Thursday as the third-highest scoring team in the Association, while the Grizzlies sport the No. 2 scoring defense. Since Memphis’ formidable big man tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph doesn’t appear to be impacted by the stomach bug, the Grizzlies could still handle their business.

The fact that Mike Conley Jr. isn’t named among the sick players gives Memphis a better chance to carry on its early year momentum, too, in that he can match up better with Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo.

The Grizzlies picked up their second loss of the season on Wednesday to the Toronto Raptors

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Frank Kaminsky Nearly Gets Posterized, Gives Props to Opponent After Game

Green Bay’s Keifer Sykes wasn’t quite able to posterize Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky on this dunk attempt Wednesday night, but he did miss in spectacular fashion.

The 6’0” guard drove hard to the basket and went right at the 7’0Kaminsky. However, when it came time to throw down the hammer, Sykes was rejected by the rim. 

It would have been a serious candidate for Dunk of the Year if Sykes had completed the play. Instead, it will just go down as a spectacular miss. 

Sykes’ near-posterization of Kaminsky led to a pretty great Twitter exchange after the game:

What a cool display of respect between opponents.

[Vine, Twitter]

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Bucks’ Brandon Knight Misses Potential Game-Winning Layup, Sends Game to 2OT

Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight went from hero to goat in a matter of seconds against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

With the game tied in the final seconds of the first overtime, Knight intercepted a pass by the Nets’ Joe Johnson. Knight was able to get a look at a wide-open layup, but he put a little bit too much on the ball and missed.

Check out the reaction from the Bucks’ bench:

The miss was pretty tough to believe.

The game went to double overtime tied at 105-all.

Ironically, the Bucks guard redeemed himself with a clutch shot in the second overtime. His three-pointer with 19 seconds left in the second extra period tied the game at 112-all and ultimately sent the game to triple overtime.

Luckily for Milwaukee, it was able to pull out a victory eventually. The Bucks pulled out a 122-118 victory in triple overtime. Knight finished the game with 18 points, including two big free throws in the final seconds of the third overtime.

[Twitter, Vine]

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James Harden Arrives to Game vs. Lakers Wearing Pink and Black Sweatshirt

It’s difficult to find the words to describe the sweatshirt that Houston Rockets star James Harden wore to the Toyota Center prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Harden isn’t the first NBA player to wear a crazy outfit, but he certainly turned some heads with this choice.

[cjzero]

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Manhattan’s Rich Williams Throws Down Last-Second Alley-Oop to Send Game to OT

It’s only the Tip-Off Marathon, but college basketball has already seen some thrilling madness this season.

With 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Manhattan trailed UMass 61-59. The Jaspers had the ball at their own baseline and needed a clutch play to tie—or win—the game.

That’s when Manhattan’s Emmy Andujar set 6’5″ teammate Rich Williams up for the game-tying alley-oop with a great lob on the inbounds pass.

Williams’ last-second basket tied the game at 61-61, sending it to overtime.

[Vine]

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NBA donated $1M for William, Kate to attend Cavs-Nets game

In a bid to make the bring basketball to an even bigger worldwide audience, the NBA is donating $1 million dollars to Prince William and  Kate Middleton’s charity for attending a Cavaliers-Nets game featuring LeBron James at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center next month.

The NBA honchos’ generous donation to the Duke and Duchess’ new conservation charity is reportedly a big “thank you” for attending the already high-profile game during the Royal Couple’s three-day trip in New York City, according to MailOnline.

The decision by the couple to attend that particular game means the Royals will get to meet King James — still the NBA’s reigning star.

NBA insiders believe that the image of the royal couple at the game inside Barclays Center will be shown around the world, helping the sport gain new fans.

“It’s an incredible publicity coup for the NBA,’”an insider told MailOnline.
 
“The images of them all together will be seen all over the wor

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Recap: Celtics drop barnburner to Suns with another late game collapse

Different Opponent. Same Result.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one in the last four weeks. The Celtics played a wildly entertaining, back-and-forth game against a very good basketball team. They looked poised to come away with a big, early season victory… but they didn’t.
The Cs twice rallied from double digit deficits and held a 114-112 lead with under a minute to go after the dunk of the year from Jeff Green and ensuing free throw, but the Suns scored the last six points of the contest to come away with the road win, sending the Celts to a third straight loss.
The Green:
Another aggressive, complete, offensive performance from Jeff Green (28 points, 10-17 from the field, 8-9 from the line and a couple of MONSTER slams)
Tyler Zeller (19 points, 7 boards) had his best game of the season, dueling with back-up center counterpart Alex Len off the bench for the Suns. Len finished with 19 and 7 including two crucial free throws late to stretch the Suns lead to four with 20 seconds to pl…

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Kentucky Basketball: Let’s All Overreact and Panic About the Buffalo Game

For 20 minutes Sunday night, No. 1 Kentucky showed that it was overrated, overhyped and over-everything-else as it lost 38-33 to unranked Buffalo. It was a sloppy game for the Cats and confirmed suspicions that “deep” is not synonymous with “good.” It’s back to the drawing board for John Calipari.

Only, wait, aren’t games longer than 20 minutes? Oh yeah, they’re 40 minutes long. I knew I was missing something. Well, when you factor in that, we should probably chill out. Kentucky won the game by 19 points and outscored Buffalo 38-14 in the second half.

But that’s not going to stop fans and critics from making wild assumptions for the season based on this game. Let’s take a look at some of those overreactions and why they’re stupid.

 

Tyler Ulis is better than Andrew Harrison.

This is a real thing that people are saying.

Ulis had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, all from beyond the arc, and six assists. He was a spark plug both offensively and defensively, and didn’t turn the ball over once.

Andrew Harrison went 1-of-6, looked sluggish right out of the gate and never really got going. He had one assist and one turnover.

Those are the facts, and, yes, Harrison was not at his best against Buffalo. But just one game ago against Grand Canyon, the headlines were literally “Harrison Leads No. 1 Kentucky to Blowout.” He had 16 points and three assists in that game. Meanwhile, Ulis had five points and two assists, but he had minimal impact on the outcome.

The point is, sometimes players are going to have off games, and sometimes different players are going to have good games. The greatness of the platoon is that when guys like Harrison are having a good game against Grand Canyon, Ulis still gets some solid minutes as well. So when Harrison has a down game, Ulis uses that extra time and experience to pick up the slack.

Cal even said as much himself.

 

The platoon system doesn’t work and Cal has already abandoned it.

Thanks to Karl-Anthony Towns’ foul trouble, Calipari had to switch up his platoons a good amount this game. By the end, he was mixing and matching so much that it was hard to tell exactly “which” platoon he was currently using. Coincidentally, it was around this time that Kentucky applied the knockout punch.

Is this the end of the platoon experiment already?

No, and again, Cal was clear about this.

It’s not that he’s going away from the platoon system, but it’s pretty clear that he’s not afraid to switch them up. That’s a good thing.

Earlier this year, I advocated for essentially a “veteran” platoon and a “newcomer” platoon. Calipari has said he’s against using all the freshmen on one platoon, which is fine. I like what he eventually settled on, with splitting up Towns from the other freshmen and putting Dakari Johnson with them. 

However, Sunday he switched Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein for an extended period of time. That I like. I see the Harrisons/Alex Poythress platoon as more of a physical, power platoon, and Johnson fits better with them. Whereas the Ulis/Devin Booker/Trey Lyles platoon is the energy, speed platoon. Cauley-Stein fits better there.

We’ll see Calipari keep trying different combinations and, of course, making adjustments according to foul trouble, but he has committed to the platoon system. ‘Til death do they part.

 

Kentucky can’t shoot.

Aside from Ulis’ hot hand, Kentucky went 2-of-15 from three. Going into the season, there was some concern that even though it has height on height on height, shooting the ball might be an issue.

Yes, the Cats took too many threes this game. They slowed things down in the second half, taking only six threes to the first half’s 15, and the second half was obviously the better half. To me, it’s not an issue of not being able to shoot, it’s just making good decisions on when to shoot.

We know the Harrisons are streaky, but they are clearly good shooters. Ulis and Booker might actually be the two best shooters on the team. And, the cherry on top, Lyles has turned out to be a knockdown shooter who is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Even Poythress and Towns have the green light at times.

Kentucky is not going to be the best shooting team in the country, but it’s certainly good enough. And when shots aren’t falling, it can just rebound them and shoot again. You get enough shots, some are going to fall, no matter what.

The game against Buffalo wasn’t perfect. Far from it. But when you really look into it, it boils down to one bad half and a few bad performances out of 10 players.

Expectations are so high that there’s the temptation to panic over the smallest things. Let’s give this team a little bit more of a sample size.

Like one more game, because if it stumbles against Kansas, I am SOUNDING THE ALARMS, PEOPLE.

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Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Shake Hands, Hug Before Lakers-Warriors Game

There was a nice little reunion before Sunday night’s Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Lakers game at the Staples Center.

Before the game, former teammates Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant ran into each other and had a nice exchange. The two shook hands and even shared a friendly hug.

Bryant and O’Neal were teammates on the Lakers from 1996 to 2004 and teamed up to win three championships. They formed a dynamic duo on the court, and it looks like they were happy to see each other on this night.

[Vine, SI.com]

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Damian Lillard Has 3rd Straight Game with 27+ Points and 7+ Assists

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who had 28 points and 10 assists in Saturday’s 97-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets, is now just the second player in franchise history to record three consecutive games with 27 or more points and seven or more assists, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN).

Lillard previously had 29 points and seven assists in Tuesday’s 102-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets, followed by 27 points and nine dimes in Wednesday’s 130-113 dismantling of the Denver Nuggets.

After the Blazers got a couple of days off, Lillard returned in top form Saturday night, recording game-high marks in points, assists and minutes (38).

The 24-year-old point guard recorded his 10th and final assist with eight minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and then added points 21-28 over the final 8:02 of the game.

He scored points No. 27 and 28 with just 17 seconds remaining, draining a pair of free throws to extend his team’s lead to an insurmountable 95-87.

The only other Trail Blazer to record 27 points and seven assists in three straight games was Clyde Drexler, who did so twice during the 1987-88 season.

The first of Drexler‘s streaks ran to four games, a mark Lillard will hope to match in Monday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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