Ballin': Spurs' Pushed to Brink; Russell Westbrook's Bad 4th Quarter Helps Nuggets Finally Win a Game

Memphis 104, San Antonio 86: The Grizzlies opened the second half on a 14-0 run and the Spurs never really got back in the game, and the 8th seed is one win away from knocking out the top seed in the West. Manu Ginobili on his team’s performance: “It was sad.”

Tim Duncan was as meek as I’ve ever seen him – just 7 shots attempts in 29 minutes, and he didn’t get to the foul line. Tony Parker found his offense (23 points), but seven turnovers vs. one assist isn’t going to cut it. Richard Jefferson? A laughable 0-4 shooting effort. San Antonio continues to flop from deep due to tough Memphis defense; the Spurs shot just 5-of-18 last night.

What to make of the Grizzlies? In a way, they’re kind of like the Nuggets. Memphis is deep – 9 players scored between 8 and 15 points Monday – with high-energy young guys like OJ Mayo and Darrell Arthur coming off the bench; they play tenacious defense (Tony Allen vs. Kevin Durant will be a war); and Z-Bo/Gasol will have a decided offensive edge over Perkins/Ibaka offensively (who are known for their defense). Are you thinking Battier on Westbrook? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves … the Spurs could still win the next three games.

Oklahoma City 101, Denver 104: Did the Nuggets and Ty Lawson (27 points) win this, or did Russell Westbrook lose it for the Thunder? Forget that his 35-footer missed at the buzzer. Here’s how Westbrook (who took 30 shots; Durant took 18) closed the game in the final five minutes:

A missed 20-foot pull-up. A rebound of his own miss. An offensive foul. Another offensive rebound. A missed layup. A missed jumper. A driving layup for a three-point play. A missed 3-pointer. An assist. A driving layup.A missed 3-pointer. A mandatory foul. A mandatory foul. A missed 3-point heave at the buzzer.

Not his strongest performance. As for the Nuggets, Gallo scored 18 points in the second half, and JR Smith added 15 off the bench. Wilson Chandler, still not 100%, only played eight minutes. For a guy looking for a big deal this summer, the playoffs haven’t been kind to him after a real nice regular season. I expect a Kevin Durant (31 points on 18 shots) to score 44 in the decisive game five, and then to don a backpack again.

Portland 82, Dallas 93: There wasn’t much carryover from the incredible game four rally. Brandon Roy didn’t have it (2-of-7 in 26 minutes; maybe he needs the home crowd energy?), the Mavs dominated the offensive glass (20-9) and took 16 more foul shots en route to a rather easy victory and 3-2 series lead. Following two straight bad games, Tyson Chandler played like a man possessed, scoring 14 points, collecting 20 rebounds (13 offensive) and attempting more foul shots (12) than he had all series (4). Jason Kidd’s 14 assists were more than Portland had (13).

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