Two teams came together on Saturday (March 1) after coming off back-to-back games. The Memphis Grizzlies had just lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-107 on the road. The Cleveland Cavaliers had rolled over the Utah Jazz.
So, with Memphis looking to avoid two consecutive losses and Cleveland playing well as of late, something had to give. For a while, it seemed as if it would be the Grizzlies, who had a seriously cold first half before rallying for a 110-96 victory, with forward Zach Randolph leading the way.
"I thought it was more that he (Zach Randolph) decided to establish himself," said Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. "In the first half we were the ones who were more physical. We were the ones that were hitting first.
It's just not something you normally associate with winning a basketball game, but then it wasn't just a basketball game. It was Louisville, as in rival, as in defending national champions, as in national television, as in the team the University of Memphis needed to beat after laying an egg against Houston in the previous game on the road.
"Completing the regular season sweep over Louisville is huge for this team and the city," said head coach Josh Pastner after the Tigers (22-7, 11-5) upset the No. 7 Cardinals 72-66 at the FedExForum on Saturday (March 1).
"Sweeping Louisville is huge for us, and means a lot for the city," said guard Chris Crawford, whose sharp shooting included a dagger-like three-pointer with the game in the balance in the waning moments.
A different day and a different pace but still a win for the Memphis Grizzlies as they outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers after a strong first half, ending up on the winning side of a tight 108-103 game on Wednesday (Feb. 26th) at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies had just split back-to-back games, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Friday (102-96) then losing to the Charlotte Bobcats on the road on Saturday 89-92.
The last time the Los Angeles Lakers were in town All-Star Kobe Bryant got injured. Bryant hasn't returned. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have welcomed back defensive-minded guard Tony Allen for his third game.
"PSA of the day ... If you spit in a man's face, you deserve to get knocked out. Man, woman or child. Period!"
This was a friend's Facebook status on the day the news broke that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancee, Janay Palmer, had both been charged with simple assault after they were involved in a domestic dispute while visiting an Atlantic City casino over Valentine's Day weekend. Rumor had it that Palmer had spit on Rice, and Rice had reacted. To what degree he reacted was anyone's guess, at that time. Rice's lawyer initially—and in hindsight, bafflingly—described the event as a "very minor physical altercation," as if there were some way for a couple to lay hands on each other that wasn't bad.
Good ole TMZ came through with footage of the aftermath to that dispute. "Very minor?" Hardly. Grainy video showed Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from the elevator and discarding her facedown on a carpeted hallway. He seems not to want to be bothered, and even more so when he is approached by hotel security. As the woman comes to, he drags her around some more, seemingly annoyed. The first thing I wondered is, what happened to her?
Jason Collins not only became the NBA's first active openly gay player Sunday afternoon by signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but he also appeared in his first game against the Los Angeles Lakers later that same day, ESPN reports.
"I don't have time to really think about history right now," he told ESPN shortly after inking his short-term deal. "The pressure is playing in an NBA game tonight, and last time I played in an NBA game was last April," Collins said. "So I think that's enough pressure right there."
The 35-year-old center entered with 10:28 to go in the second quarter and received a round of applause from the Staples Center crowd.
Every NBA win is important, especially amid a dogfight for playoff position in the Western Conference. So Memphis' 102-96 victory at the FedExForum on Friday night was satisfying.
But, add in the detail that the win was at the expense of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers and a satisfying win gets an upgrade to sweet.
The Grizzlies-Clippers rivalry is punctuated by prickliness. Friday night's confrontation came with L.A. ranked among the Western Conference's top four teams and Memphis in a scruff with Phoenix, Golden State and Dallas to finish among the top eight teams that will battle for conference supremacy in the playoffs.
Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular among today's pop culture. Many young adults use their bodies as canvasses reflecting their freedom of expression. To naysayers, visible body art is a professional no-no, with some making exceptions for artists, musicians or athletes.
With that backdrop, the Memphis Grizzlies tonight (Feb. 21st) are moving to do something that seems to be a first in NBA history. The first 5,000 fans to enter the FedExForum for the game against the Los Angeles Clippers will receive a clear sticker with "GRIZZLIES" inscribed on it. The sticker is to go on the necks of fans in honor of new fan-favoriteJames Johnson.
Acquired from the D-League on Dec. 16, Johnson quickly staked his claim to fan support with his athleticism and the spark he delivers off the bench. He is averaging 8.2 points per game and leads the league in three-point blocks.