Utah has been an odd matchup all season for Memphis, and after they jumped out early against the Grizzlies, we figured this would be the game that killed Memphis’ shot at homecourt advantage in the first round. Instead, the Grit N’ Grind gang did what they do best, and took it over in the fourth quarter, pulling away 103-98. O.J. Mayo had 17 in the fourth quarter, and his weak side triple in the final minute put Memphis up four, completing an unexpected turnaround that saw Juice score 20 and yet not have a single assist or rebound in 24 minutes. Just before that, Rudy Gay (26 points, 12 rebounds) had knocked down a triple and had a couple of beastly plays to open up a little Memphis cushion. Even with the Jazz getting another 20 points from Devin Harris, they couldn’t match the talent. We can’t wait to see the Grizzlies knock off someone else this postseason. Their cast of characters is fun to watch … OKC held off Minnesota by five in an up-and-down game that saw Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combine for 78 points. Westbrook responded to every Minnesota run, and was so dominant he had 30 points and seven dimes by the end of the third quarter. But you can tell why his assists have fallen off faster than Rachael Leigh Cook. At one point, he striped J.J. Barea (24 points, 10 dimes) and raced the other way with a Minnesota defender right on his hip. He saw James Harden right behind him and could’ve laid it off for the easiest two of the night. Instead, it was like the “F— it” switch went on in his head and he went in himself. He made it, but that’s kind of beside the point. Still, Minnesota’s TV guys threw kisses all over him all night. They really do need Ricky Rubio to get healthy … In the third quarter, Martell Webster almost (repeat: almost) made up for his hair with a crazy putback dunk where we’re pretty sure he jammed it on Kendrick Perkins AND Anthony Randolph (22 points, 11 rebounds), his own teammate … In the fourth quarter, OKC isolated Durant against Anthony Tolliver, and predictably, KD went right around him for a dunk and a foul. Coming back down, he landed in the crowd, where he started dapping up everyone because they had on his jersey. Minnesota’s TV guys immediately started yelling “Sellout!” … Boston survived by 12 in New Jersey behind a solid team effort that included 18 and 11 from Brandon Bass. We’re not sure what impresses us more: Kevin Garnett‘s incredible U-turn this year, which he continued last night with 21 points and 12 rebounds, or the fact that Rajon Rondo (15 dimes) recorded his 21st straight game with double-digit assists. Rondo said recently he thinks it’s possible he could average 15 assists a game next year. Yeah, we’ve heard that one before … In-between slobbering on himself because of a mouthguard malfunction and getting absolutely manhandled in the post by the Truth, DeShawn Stevenson hit two two-point field goals for the first time this season. Think about that. He also broke Rondo’s ankles with a crossover, so we guess it was a night of firsts for Abe Lincoln … Reason no. 514 why Boston has some of the best fans in the league: Rex Ryan showed up and all of the New Englanders in the building (never count out a possible visiting team homecourt advantage in New Jersey) booed him relentlessly … Keep reading to hear about the one guy who we wouldn’t want to have the ball with a chance to beat us …
A few minutes into the Clippers’ eight-point win over Golden State and Los Angeles was up 24-5. Brunch stayed open late into the afternoon; Chris Paul (28 points, 13 assists) was gobbling up the Warriors’ tankapalooza backcourt, and yet by the end of the game STILL had to save everyone’s ass. Nate Robinson was out of his mind off the bench with 28 points, and led the Warriors back into it. But again, CP3 showed why he’s been the most clutch player in the league this season. Forget the shooting percentages. Paul has saved them so often this year they should’ve casted him in The Guardian. He had a dozen points in the fourth quarter with the game in question. He’s done just enough this year to even out the negative impact of Vinny Del Negro, and now the Clippers are staring the No. 4 seed in the face … When do you know the end is near for a future lottery team? When four guys score all but seven points, and those four guys happen to be Robinson, Klay Thompson, Dorell Wright and Brandon Rush … We were flipping between the best of high school ball – 2012 Jordan Brand Classic – and the worst of the NBA – the Cavs/Wizards game. There are so many jokes sitting in that sentence that we’ll just leave it alone. As for Cleveland’s 98-89 win over Washington, it was more boring than a sober Eminem album. Just all-around forgettable. And the Wizards, honestly, just aren’t as fun anymore now that they’ve traded away half of the detention room of Clown U. No more Nick Young or JaVale McGee means the most excitement you can create in DC is to watch the game and take bets on the number of times Jordan Crawford passes the ball. In the final seconds, we caught ourselves and had to ask why exactly we were still watching. In the final few minutes alone, there was a minimum of three shots that missed the hoop by at least two feet. With 16 points and 10 rebounds, you could make the case that the player of the game was Luke Harangody … As for the Jordan Classic, the West Team held on to win, 99-95. Despite Rodney Purvis putting up a game-high 22 and winning the losing team’s Most Valuable Player, the real MVP award wasn’t a surprise. It went to Shabazz Muhammad, who had 18 points and got the W … Although there was more intensity and floor burns in the final two minutes than we saw all night from Washington, honestly, we’re not all that sold on this high school class. But one guy who seems like a can’t miss is Nerlens Noel. How about his Twitter jumped from 23,000 followers to 38,000 in one night after announcing he would go to Kentucky … Roy Hibbert went for 23 points and 14 rebounds in Indiana’s 105-99 win over the Bucks … And San Antonio obliterated Phoenix by 14 (it really wasn’t that close) as Tim Duncan had 19 and 11 … We’re out like Utah’s playoff chances.
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook