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Oklahoma City Cuts Memphis In Half; Golden State’s Defense Beats Dallas

We can just imagine Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins shaking his head. So you’re telling me you’re trading Rudy Gay and our first game without him is against Oklahoma City? Yes, and it wasn’t pretty, a small Grizzlies comeback notwithstanding in the second half Thursday in OKC’s 106-89 win. Memphis tied a season-low by scoring 34 points in the first half and fell behind by 25 because of a combination of OKC being freakishly good and the Grizzlies playing with zero energy and looking like someone just kicked their dog. One of the main reasons for dealing Gay to Toronto was that Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol can get more shots now. While that’s 100 percent valid, when Z-Bo misses his first 10 shots, as he did last night, suddenly all those shots freed up by Gay’s trade go to guys who can’t create their own shots nearly as well as Gay did, for better or worse. Mike Conley Jr. helped with 17 points on 19 shots and got most of that in the second half when Memphis found its pulse to pull within 10 points in the third quarter. The game was boring enough that Craig Sager spent most the fourth quarter investigating why Russell Westbrook (21 points) walked to the locker room near the end of the third. He and Thabo Sefolosha yelled at each other on a miscommunication play, Scott Brooks told him to cool himself off after getting some feedback from Russ, too, and assistant coach Mo Cheeks had to fetch him. It was like things were too smooth for Russ’s liking. … Kevin Durant‘s (27 points) best play was a defense-to-offense transition created all by himself. Jerryd Bayless (23 points) had the hubris to take KD one-on-one on the break and got stuffed for his effort, which led to a bucket the other way. KD, for the record, is not nice. … Grizzlies fans can’t even be sure this is the last part of the trade action, just like they shouldn’t have been sure (in hindsight) that the Ellington/Speights move was the last one simply because it got the team under the luxury tax barrier. GM Chris Wallace hinted that more wheeling and dealing could be in order today. Because when you’re in the middle of blowing up a four-seed in the West, why stop there? Seriously, we’ve read more about this Gay trade than any of the past year it seems, and no one likes it except for the few Pistons fans who still care — this Tayshaun Prince fan doesn’t count toward that group anymore. What just seems avoidable is the timing of the deal, when Gay’s deal doesn’t expire for a while and Memphis conceivably could have seen what this group could have done in the playoffs. In all that reading, it’s clear profits are paramount for the team’s ownership. We’ve got no issue with that of course, but even if you know Gay isn’t worth his $18 million next season, wouldn’t you want to see one playoff run with them all together? … Hit the jump to hear about Brandon Roy’s latest comeback hurdle. …

Just like OKC-Memphis, Golden State’s victory over Dallas at home never seemed in doubt in the second half of the night’s double-header — until all of a sudden the Mavs had a chance to take the lead or tie in the final 30 seconds. The Warriors won 100-97 thanks to a huge night by All-Star David Lee, whose 15 points, 20 boards and nine assists came despite not having Steph Curry by his side for a second straight game to deflect the defense’s attention. That said, Klay Thompson‘s 27 points — including a bananas 27-footer in the third to extend GSW’s lead to six from three — helped Lee’s cause. Lee’s double-double was his NBA-leading 30th. … We’re not sure what we’re more surprised that we witnessed: Thompson or Kevin Durant each missed free throws tonight. Both are in the 90 percent club. … What’s also nice for Mark Jackson? Andrew Bogut (eight points, five boards). He can only play about 25 minutes per game and only every other game because he’s still coming back from injury, but he had a lead-saving block with six seconds left on Brandan Wright at the rim, a block that was made sweeter after Wright wrestled Bogut to the floor earlier and made everyone in Oracle Arena gasp that Bogut was going to brace the fall with his elbow. If only the Mavs had their own foreign big man healthy for this game. … O.J. Mayo had 25 and Vince Carter had 22 off the bench for Dallas. … Brandon Roy is still one of the smoothest players we’ve seen in the past 10 years, even though he hasn’t been the same for the final three of them. Roy’s arthritic knees have dealt him another setback when he felt a tweak recently during practice, despite wearing a special knee brace. Today he opened up to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com about the newest pothole to his comeback road and it’s tough to read. Roy has come to the conclusion we all have: If he can’t get it done this season he will retire for good. He says no new damage has occurred but didn’t sound positive he could come back again. Anytime a player drops “I quit” and “crossroads” in an interview, it’s not a good sign. We’ll put it to you all: Is Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill or Roy the career more robbed by early injuries? … In case you missed it, Deron Williams is moving into a massive NYC penthouse apartment soon with his family. We took a look at the 6,800-square-foot crib today and, safe to say, it’s nicer than wherever you live. … Some fans tried to get LeBron to enter the dunk contest by matching his standing offer of $1 million via an online fundraiser similar to Kickstarter. We wanted Jay-Z to play at our birthday, too, but that ain’t gonna happen, either. They’ve got about $4K pledged. LBJ might let you hand him a water bottle during All-Star Weekend for that much. … We’re out like the Grizzlies’ identity.

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