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Grizzlies dump Celtics with Leuer big off the bench

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Recuperating from a lineup-altering stomach virus, Memphis romps over Boston.

by Kelley D. Evans

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Nineteen points won’t cure a stomach virus, but they can feel mighty good to a player who returns after an illness to score a season high.

“We are still feeling a little run down, but it’s just a matter when you step between the lines you can’t make any excuses. You just have to go play.”

Those are the words of Grizzlies reserve forward Jon Leuer, one of seven Memphis players on the injury/illness report released before Friday night’s game against the Boston Celtics at the FedExForum. Five of those players had missed Wednesday’s game against the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors in Toronto.

With two players – starter Tony Allen and reserve Quincy Pondexter – still not well enough to take the court against the Celtics, the Grizzlies got a key contribution from Leuer in the 117-100 drubbing of Boston.

Coming off the bench near the end of the first quarter, Leuer subbed for Marc Gasol and when his night was done he had matched the third-highest scoring output of his career.

“I know he’s sick and he was playing his tail off,” said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. “He made some shots, which was good to see, but he can barely keep his head up right now.”

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Leuer’s initial stint in the game extended into the second quarter. He hit two long jump shots, something he’s had trouble doing since the end of the preseason. Then he added a couple of layups and a dunk.

“It’s always nice to see the ball go in, especially when you knock your first couple of shots down,” Leuer said.  “The basket just seems to get bigger from there. I knew if I kept playing hard and kept making the right decisions that things would start to happen.”


The Grizzlies’ win extended the regular season home winning streak. They have not lost in the FedExForum since falling to the Washington Wizards during a February 11th game last season.

The Celtics tied their winning hopes to getting the Grizzlies to play at their up-tempo pace. Instead, Memphis forced Boston (4-7) to contend with an inside-out game that the Celtics could not handle.

Gasol led all scorers with 32 points, his third 30-point game of the season. He found the performance of teammates more noteworthy.

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“The guys that played tonight weren’t 100 percent themselves,” Gasol said.  “They gave us what they had. That is what I care about. You come in and you give me what you got, that’s plenty for me.  I couldn’t ask anything more.”

Zach Randolph recorded his 99th career double double with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

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Center Kelly Olynyk, who led Boston with 18 points, spoke to the challenge of defending Gasol.

“He is one of the best five men in this league from a physical standpoint, from a skill standpoint, both ends of the floor offensively and defensively. He is a tough match up for anybody. He played real well tonight.”

The Grizzlies have another day for recuperation before confronting the Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum on Sunday.

“We’re going to get some fluid in these guys, get their feet up and get ready for Sunday,” Joerger said.

(Follow Kelley D. Evans on Twitter  @KelleySthrnGrl.)

Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK (November 21, 2014)

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun         

by Kam Williams

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

For movies opening November 21, 2014


“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (PG-13 for intense violence, disturbing images and mature themes) Third installment in the vaunted sci-fi franchise, based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling series of young adult novels, finds intrepid heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) reluctantly serving as a symbol of courage and hope for a nation in revolt. Ensemble cast includes Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.


“All Relative” (Unrated) Romantic dramedy, set in NYC, about a couple (Sara Paxton and Jonathan Sadowski) whose budding relationship becomes imperiled by the arrival of her folks for a weekend visit. With Connie Nielsen, Al Thompson, Liz Fye and David Aron Baker.  

“Bad Hair” (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama, set in Caracas, Venezuela, where a 9 year-old (Samuel Lange Zambrano) becomes so obsessed with straightening his kinky hair that his mother starts to wonder whether he might be gay. Supporting cast includes Beto Benites, Nelly Ramos and Maria Emilia Sulbaran. (In Spanish with subtitles)

“Extraterrestrial” (Unrated) Not a remake of E.T., but a horror flick about a young couple (Brittany Allen and Freddie Stroma) whose romantic getaway to a cabin in the woods is rudely interrupted when a UFO crash lands nearby. With Melanie Papalia, Jesse Moss and Anja Savcic.  

“Food Chains” (Unrated) Forest Whitaker narrates this politically progressive documentary chronicling the exploitation of farm workers by supermarkets. Featuring commentary by Robert Kennedy, Jr., Eve Ensler, Eva Longoria, Kerry Kennedy and Eric Schlosser. 

“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (Unrated) Horror flick, set in an Iranian ghost town whose denizens are being stalked by a lonely vampire (Sheila Vand). With Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh and Mozhan Marno. (In Persian with subtitles)

“Happy Valley” (Unrated) Pedophilia at Penn State is the subject of this shocking documentary examining why legendary football coach Joe Paterno looked the other way for years while his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was raping young boys right in the locker room.

“Little Hope Was Arson” (Unrated) Bible Belt documentary about the 2010 reign of terror in East Texas when 10 churches were burned to the ground by God-hating arsonists in just one month. 

“Pulp” (Unrated) Rockumentary chronicling the reunion of the British group Pulp for the first time in 25 years in order to stage a farewell concert in Sheffield, England.

“Reach Me” (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, violence, drug use and smoking) Serendipitous drama about the positive effect a motivational book has on a variety of readers in need of help confronting their fears. Ensemble includes Sly Stallone, Nelly, Lauren Cohan, Terry Crews, Danny Aiello, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore, Omari Hardwick, Thomas Jane and Danny Trejo. 

“The Sleepwalker” (Unrated) Psychological thriller about the sibling rivalry which re-erupts violently when a woman (Gitte Witt) renovating a country home with her husband (Christopher Witt) gets a surprise visit from her sister (Stephanie Ellis) and future brother-in-law (Brady Corbet). 

“Stones in the Sun” (Unrated) Author Edwidge Danticat stars in this American Dream drama about a family driven from Haiti to New York where they are forced to confront the skeletons in their closet. Co-starring Michele Marcelin, Diana Masi and Thierry Saintine. (In Creole, English, French and Haitian)

“V/H/S: Viral” (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic violence, gore and drug use) Third installment in the found-footage horror series revolves around fame-obsessed teens who get more than they bargained for when they unwittingly become the latest Internet sensation. Co-starring Justin Welborn, Emmy Argo, Amanda Baker and Rim Basma.  



City-Wide Event to Attract Thousands to Whitehaven

MEMPHIS, TN – For the past 17 years the 2014 Christmas Parade in Whitehaven has given area youth a positive outlet to express their creativity, and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents.

Organized and presented by Hazel Moore, Founder of the Academy for Youth Empowerment, each year the annual event brings thousands of Mid-South students and parents to her beloved Whitehaven community to fellowship and celebrate the upcoming holiday season.

The 2014 Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, November 22nd and begins at 10:00a.m. The parade is set to commence at Southland Mall, traveling North on Elvis Presley Blvd, and will conclude at Craft Street near Graceland.

ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Loan modification


ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Loan modification

While the economy for some is on the upswing, others are still suffering. Part of the suffering includes the inability to pay bills on time. The most important bill outside of the automobile is the mortgage. We all need a roof over our head. However, the roof can be seriously jeopardized when the mortgage is late. Aside from bankruptcy, options exist that can prevent foreclosure for failure to pay the mortgage in a timely fashion. Loan modification is a viable option that may be available. 

Mortgage company discretion

Under very few circumstances is the mortgage company obligated to approve a modification.  Modifications are made solely at the discretion of the lender. The lender may be motivated to adjust the current mortgage because the expectation is that the continued return even through a modification will be greater than the proceeds received as a result of a foreclosure sale. Additionally, the state and federal government may provide incentives for the lenders to offer modifications.

Types of modification

Modifications can take on various forms. The modification can be a reduction in the interest rate or going from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. Sometimes it can consist of a reduction in the principal amount owed or a reduction in penalties or late fees. At other times the modification can extend the loan term, which frequently results in a lower monthly mortgage payment.

Financial hardship

Although the mortgage companies often look for the applicants requesting the loan modification to have experienced some sort of financial difficulty such as the loss of a job or missing payments, there is still the expectation that the applicant is still able to pay a mortgage. In most circumstances, the applicant will not be allowed to remain in the property without some form of established monthly payment approved by the mortgage company.

Loan modification companies

Unfortunately, many loan modification companies have been found to have unscrupulous behavior in an effort to gain profits. Many have been known to make guarantees of modification or saving your home when they have no way to guarantee a result. While the process can be complete without the services of a third party, there are some free services that can assist as well as some law firms that concentrate in the area of loan modifications. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that your submission is completed properly.

Document Submission

Upon a request, the mortgage company will forward to the applicant a loan modification packet.  The homeowner will need to submit copies of paychecks, income and expenses, as well as other documents to determine the eligibility of the applicant. There will probably be a tax return release form, which gives the lender the authority to obtain the returns directly from the Internal Revenue Service. 

This packet needs to be completed in full and returned to the mortgage company for consideration.  Ideally, the applicant will have all documents submitted at the same time due to the fact that the mortgage companies receive an overwhelming amount of documents daily. When the requested documents are not submitted at the same time, it may delay the process. Partial submissions are usually not processed in a timely fashion.

After submission, it is best to follow up frequently with the mortgage company to check on the status of the application. Applicants may be asked to submit additional documents even if a completed file has already been sent. Do not get irritated or lose your calm, simply resubmit the requested documents and continue to follow up.


The Federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was created to provide standard loan modification guidelines to serve as industry standard practices for lenders when analyzing modification applicants. Well over 100 lenders have signed up to participate in the HAMP.

Some homeowners may be eligible for HAMP if the following is met:

  1. The mortgage was obtained prior to Jan. 1, 2009.
  2. The mortgage is delinquent or may be at risk of falling behind.
  3. The property is habitable.
  4. The mortgage is less than $729,750.
  5. The applicant has not been convicted of a crime related to real estate within 10 years.

Keep My Tennessee Home

For those situations where the homeowner has lost his or her job or is underemployed, Keep My Tennessee Home is a program administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) that lends a hand. According to the website www.KeepMyTNHome.org, the program will provide the homeowners’ payments on their mortgage and mortgage related expenses such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowner association dues that have accumulated during the period of unemployment. The maximum assistance available is $40,000 over a 36-month period. The funds are sent directly to the lender. If the applicant does not have access to the Internet, they may call 1-855-890-8073 for assistance.

The best part of the Keep My Tennessee Home program is that the loan has 0 percent interest. It is forgivable at a rate of 20 percent per year. Last but not least, if you keep your home for 5 years, the loan does not have to be paid back at all.

A few of the criteria to be eligible include household income of less than $92,680 and a total unpaid principal balance on the first mortgage of $275,000 or less.

In sum, even in dire circumstances, programs are available to aid.  

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

Dr. Edward Mack – root canal specialist and so much more

by Joy Doss

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Most people don’t know what an endodontist is until they need one. And even then that’s the last person they want to see – the root canal specialist. Yes, this actually exists. And more often than not, the procedure is not performed by your regular dentist.

Enter Dr. Edward Mack.

Seven years ago, Mack and his family came to Memphis at the encouragement of his wife, Dr. LaCanas Mack, who is a native of the city. Quickly realizing that the options were few in his area of expertise, he decided to step out on faith and hang his shingle. Instead of seeing obstacles, he saw – and seized – opportunities.

Today, Mack is one of the go-to guys within his specialty. Mack Endodontics, which recently celebrated its new office opening with a dedication ceremony and a ribbon cutting hosted by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, sees over 800 patients per year. And he is the only African-American endodonist in West Tennessee and the tri-state area.


His philosophy and roadmap to success is simple.

“I fully believe in the motto of my alma mater, Meharry Medical College – ‘Worship of God through Service to Mankind.’ That said, every patient I see gets the same level of service and consideration. Everyone deserves to be in good health. Good service is imperative!”

For Dr. Mack, the practice experience begins when the client crosses the threshold for the first time and is cemented by the “chairside manner” of him and his staff. From the color of the walls to the art to the selection of overhead music, every detail in his newly minted Brookhaven Circle office is intentional and by design.

“I know the mere mention of a root canal is traumatic for people and they haven’t even walked through the door. My staff and I want to be sure that we put everyone at ease and gain their trust. We respect everyone who walks through that door regardless of who they are or where they come from, whether they have the Cadillac of insurances or if they’re self-pay. Our attitude of gratitude has helped us tremendously in growing the practice.”

Preparation is another integral part of Dr. Mack’s business model.

“Most people don’t see the work, they just see the results. There is no microwave success,” he said. “You have to arm yourself with education and experience, whatever that combination looks like for your life or your situation. There will be some burning the midnight oil. But if you want it, you keep reaching for it no matter what it takes.”

Dr. Mack’s preparation includes earned degrees from South Carolina State University, then Meharry Medical College of Dentistry and the University of Michigan. He also attributes his doing well to doing good in the community.

“The spirit of service will take you further,” insists Dr. Mack, a decorated officer in the United States Army. He regularly gives back by speaking to young people at schools and working through his fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi) and his church. Most recently, he began his training Memphis Theological Seminary, circling back to the Meharry motto.

Mack Endodontics recently celebrated its new office opening with a building dedication ceremony and a ribbon cutting hosted by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce.

What’s next?

“We have found a home in Memphis. So we are here to stay. There are boundless opportunities in this community,” said Dr. Mack. “In the short term, I plan to add to the capacity of Mack Endodontics. In general, my wife and I will both continue on in our respective dental practices, stay rooted in service and in faith and keep serving the underserved. I am prepared for the next level of success.”

He adds this observation for entrepreneurs and future endodontists:

“Make sure you stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Find your lane and make it work for you. What’s your differential? Don’t be afraid to branch off. And definitely seek me out. I am happy to usher in the next generation as the previous generation did for me.”