Kobe Bryant hit the game-winning three-pointer with 4.2 seconds to go for the LA Lakers to win over the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 yesterday at FedExForum. The 4X NBA champ was able to score 32 points in his return from injury, netting his team’s final nine points in the remaining minutes.
“Nobody in the world is shocked anymore by what Kobe Bryant does and what he brings to the team,” said All-Star center Pau Gasol. “He really stepped up at the end. It feels good to have him back.”
Gasol controlled the inside game for Los Angeles with 22 points and 13 rebounds. OJ Mayo hit 9-of-15 from the floor to rack up a total of 25 for the Grizzlies. Despite a highly productive night, Mayo failed to complete a pair of foul shots with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.
“I’d love to take those last two free throws again,” said Mayo. “I’d love to take them and make them.” Memphis is scheduled to play the Mavericks in Dallas as the Lakers stay east to matchup against the Washington Wizards.
LeBron James posted a career high 15 assists with 22 points to lead his Cleveland Cavaliers past the Memphis Grizzlies 105-89 yesterday at the Quicken Loans Arena to keep their win streak alive at nine. Shaquille O’Neal added fire power with 13 points and 13 rebounds in his 21 minutes on the floor. James and crew have been impressed and suprised with the 18-year veterans recent athletic abilities.
“He tricked all of us, I guess,” said James. “When Mo and Delonte went down he decided to step his game up, which we knew he could do. He’s just playing with a little bounce in his step that he didn’t have at the start. But he had a different mindset than we all thought. We all thought he was playing slow, he was just saving himself for the second half of the season.”
Led by young talents Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and OJ Mayo, the Grizzlies have really turned their program around with a 26-22 regular season record. Memphis is scheduled to host the Houston Rockets Friday as Cleveland welcomes the Miami Heat tomorrow night for another classic D-Wade LeBron showdown.
Ray Allen hit the insurance three pointer in the final minute for the Boston Celtics to win over the Memphis Grizzlies 110-105 Monday at FedExForum. For the third straight season the C’s have been the first team to reach 20 wins. The contest also marked their eleventh consecutive victory, with eight of those eleven earned on the road.
The Grizzlies certainly gave Boston a run for their money. In total there were 18 lead changes and 15 ties with neither team ever leading by more than eight points. Celtics captain Paul Pierce shared a lot of respect for the Memphis organization following the game, saying “they’re right on our heels, man. If they grow together and continue to play together, they’ll be right there. It’s unfortunate that they’re in the Western Conference. If they were in the East, they would probably be a top-four seed right now.”
Every member of the Celtics starting five came to play yesterday and produced double digits numbers. Pierce led the charge with 19 with Allen and Rajon Rondo netting 18 apiece. Rasheed Wallace contributed 15 points and four rebounds off the bench. After a stretch of road games the Celts can look forward to hosting teams in Boston starting with the Philadelphia 76ers this Friday at 7:30 PM.
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Allen Iverson is expected to be waived at some point today after not being placed on waivers by the league deadline, giving great indication that he and the Memphis Grizzlies are parting ways. The 34 year-old guard began complaining during his debut against the Sacramento Kings. Even though he just came back from injury (torn left hamstring), Iverson expected to start immediately and receive heavy minutes.
The Answer had some choice words for the organization following the contest. “Yeah, I’ll be disappointed (if he’s a sub this season),” said Iverson. “I’m not a reserve basketball player. I’ve never been a reserve all my life and I’m not going to start looking at myself as a reserve. … To answer the question, ‘No, I’m not a bench player. I’m not a sixth man. Go look at my resume and that will show you I’m not a sixth man.”
The Grizzlies will be forced to pay only a fraction of his $3 million contract. So far not many teams have jumped to get Iverson after his quick fall out with Memphis. The New York Knicks have already announced a possible interest in the veteran.
Veteran guard Allen Iverson has been waiting all summer as a free agent, but has just recently received the official call from the Memphis Grizzlies. Pending a last minute snag, the Grizzlies have offered Iverson a one-year $3.5 million deal with incentives to make the deal larger.
Iverson through his Twitter page has stated “God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career. I met with Mr. Heinsley, Chris Wallace, and my next head coach Lionel Hollins.” He continued to express his enthusiasm by saying “I feel that they are committed to developing a winner and I know that I can help them to accomplish that. I feel I can trust them.”
After below average years put in with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons, Iverson will look to really focus in and bring up the young talent surrounding him. The Grizzlies besides Iverson will rely on Mike Conley Jr., O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay. The franchise heading into their 2009-2010 campaign produced a very successful off-season, adding center Hasheem Thabeet and forwards Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll in the NBA draft. They have also acquired forward Zach Randolph from the Clippers this summer.
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The Memphis Grizzlies have officially extended an offer to free agent veteran guard Allen Iverson. The press first caught wind of the news through Iverson’s twitter page, and it was later confirmed by GM Chris Wallace. “We’re heading into the home stretch before the season, and we have had interest in Allen all summer,” Wallace said. “We’ve been in touch on a fairly consistent basis and had dialogue with his agent, Leon Rose, since the beginning of free agency.”
Although the Grizzlies have already formulated a set deal for the 10-time All-Star, there are still other teams in the picture. Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown has been speaking with Iverson about teaming up again. The Miami Heat and LA Clippers have also had conversations with him but have a more difficult route in signing the free agent with the luxury tax in place. The deal from Memphis will likely be the biggest contract Iverson will see, knowing the franchise is around $3.5 million under the salary cap going into this season.
The former Piston was also a member of the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers earlier in his career. Last season between Denver and Detroit he only played 57 games, averaging a career-low 17.5 points per game.
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With the NBA Finals over, the last big event before free agency is just 12 days away. The 2009 NBA Draft is almost here! Expect the Clippers to use their first pick to find Baron Davis a suitable sidekick. The Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Sacramento Kings picks after. With a much-hyped draft class, speculation and mock drafts are flying around. The only definite is that the following players are on the draft board:
Blake Griffin – Oklahoma: Athletic PF that draws comparisons to Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudamire. Currently projected as the likely #1 pick.
Ricky Rubio – Spain: Rubio dazzled in the gold medal game at the 2008 Olympics. While some don’t feel the PG utilizes his size well, a number of teams are working to draft the young phenom.
Hasheem Thabeet – Connecticut: Thabeet helped lead UCONN to the NCAA title game, but fell shortof a championship. The 7-3 center puts up solid defense, but poses some questions on offense.
Stephen Curry – Davidson: Led last year’s Cinderella Davidson squad. Proficient scorer with speed. Some of the hype fell to the wayside this year, but still a solid option at PG.
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Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were sighted boarding the team’s plane to San Antonio for tomorrow night’s game against the Spurs. Garnett has been injured since February 19th and Allen recently suffered a hyper extended elbow last Tuesday against the Bulls.
This will mark the first time Garnett has traveled with the team since his injury. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said they are going to take Garnett’s possible return day by day. With this said, for the past two practices Garnett has been involved in successful work outs and could be ready to go Friday. After San Antonio the C’s will head to Memphis, Tennessee for a Saturday night game against the Grizzlies.
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