Tag:Tony Allen
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Grizzlies-Spurs Preview: Quick and brutal

Our first-round series previews continue with this look at Memphis vs. San Antonio. Are the Spurs the grizzled defensive team of old? Can Tony Allen do anything to disrupt Manu? 
Posted by Matt Moore




I. Intro

If the playoffs were one giant game show, Grizzlies-Spurs is the box with the gigantic question mark on it. Are the Spurs as good as their record indicates? Because if they are, this thing's going to be over in about forty-five seconds. Are the Grizzlies able to translate that toughness to the playoffs and is San Antonio in a weak spot with an injured Manu Ginobili and some defensive questions? Because if that's the case, this thing could go the distance. We just don't know. The Spurs have so much experience. The Grizzlies are playing with so much emotion. The Spurs are an elite offensive team. The Grizzlies are a great defensive team. Tim Duncan. Zach Randolph. Manu Ginobili. Tony Allen's abject insanity. Good benches, good coaches. This one has all the makings of a great series. It's a 1 seed vs. the 8 seed. Which means it could be terrible. 

We don't know anything. We're waiting for both of these teams to define themselves. We're pretty sure San Antonio's going to win, because they're better with better players. But Memphis has been on such a roll, has such good chemistry, has size and good wing play and attack the rim. Trying to decipher this series is maddening, but that also means it could be fun, even if it's a sweep. 

II. What Happened: A Look at the Season Series

The Spurs only lost 21 games. Two of them were to Memphis. One was a tank game at the end of the season, though. Memphis averaged 103 points against San Antonio, who only scored 101. Both teams won their home games. The Spurs took the first two meetings, the Grizzlies the last two. Three of the meetings were after the trade deadline acquisition of Battier for Memphis. 

You want a weird one? Both of Memphis' wins over the Spurs came after Rudy Gay was lost for the season. 

Other than that? It's a bizarre amalgam of information from those games. The Spurs won when Tony Parker scored 37. They won when Parker scored 2. Memphis won a slow paced game, lost a slow paced game, won a fast paced game, lost a fast paced game. The Spurs won when they shot over 50 percent, and lost when they shot over 50 percent (the tank game). Memphis won when they controlled the rebounding battle, and lost when they controlled the rebounding battle. There is literally no discernible pattern other than individual matchup advantages that were at times expressed and at times not expressed. 

The consistent theme is that Zach Randolph's going to get his. He plugged in 24, 24, 23, and 21. That's predictable, considering Randolph's consistency in the 20-10 game. But the fact that Randolph's production isn't tied to Memphis winning has to be a concern for the Grizzlies. 

III. The Easy Stuff: Manu vs. the Yin-Yang

Manu Ginobili is one of the toughest covers in the NBA. Tony Allen and Shane Battier are two of the best defenders in the league. Manu has the Euro-step. Battier and Allen are obsessed with tape review to figure out tendencies. This is a huge matchup to watch. Ginobili will need to be in full flop mode. If he can frustrate Allen by drawing fouls via flop, Allen will start to gamble more. Given his penchant for falling for the pump-fake, it may not be too difficult for Ginobili to do that quickly. Against Battier, Manu has more speed advantage, and the Grizzlies' frontcourt help defense is not good. 

For Memphis, the key here needs to be to deny the ball. Ball pressure has to be a key part of their attack on Ginobili. They can't bring help at the elbow, due to the Spurs' plethora of shooters. So they have to focus on keeping the ball out of his hand, which is nearly impossible when they set the offense with Manu as ball-handler in the deep backcourt. The Grizzlies focus on turnovers, and Ginobili's turnover rate is the lowest of his career (that factors how many possessions he uses). If Hollins doesn't figure out a way to attack Ginobili at the elbow on the drive before he slips low (where he is nearly impossible to defend), he's going to hurt Memphis in a big, big way. 


IV. Secret of the Series: Underground seating

Memphis does not have a good bench. But they may have advantages against the Spurs. Matt Bonner is a terrific 3-point shooter, but who is he going to defend? Zach Randolph will bury him. Darrell Arthur is both faster and stronger. Antonio McDyess is a capable defender, and he could have a huge impact in this series. George Hill has had a great season, but with Battier and Mayo coming off the Bench, there are answers. Darrell Arthur is a big secret for Memphis. He's not only strong and quick, but he has a reliable mid-range from 18. Stretch bigs give the Spurs fits, and if Conley and Arthur start to operate in space, and that jumper falls for Arthur, that's some damage that could be done. 

It'll be interesting to see if the Spurs start McDyess to cover Randolph, giving Duncan the less offensive-focused Marc Gasol. In that situation, DeJuan Blair would come off the bench. Blair's defensive issues are problematic, but he could neutralize the boards advantage for Memphis. Do that and the Grizzlies lose some of their umph. Lineups and rotations will go a long way in deciding this series.

V. The Dinosaur Narrative: "THE SPURS ARE TOUGH, GRITTY, VETERAN DEFENSIVE TEAM."

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who spins this yarn at you, needs to go. I've talked about the Spurs' defensive slide on this site quite a bit, and there's been no dramatic shift in the other direction. The Spurs simply don't have the personnel they used to. Gone are the veteran wing defenders like Michael Finley and Bruce Bowen. Instead George Hill, who has great speed and is a terrific offensive player, is asked to play in a reserve two-guard role often. Richard Jefferson has solid length, but isn't an elite defender. DeJuan Blair doesn't have the length or explosion to defend bigger players in the post, and is still young as to not have the savvy experience necessary to overcome those limitations. He'll get there, but he's not there yet.

Every year prior, if you asked who had a better defensive efficiency, the Spurs or their first-round opponent, you'd automatically answer "San Antonio." But this year? The Grizzlies are 8th in defensive efficiency. The Spurs? 11th. This doesn't mean the Spurs won't win, or that they won't find that extra defensive playoff gear. It just means that going into this series, the Spurs are not that old, veteran tough team they're always known to be. 

VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each matchup?

PG: Tony Parker has terrific speed on the perimeter. Mike Conley has made huge strides this season, but he routinely gets blown by faster guards.  Conley will probably get his fair share of points and assists, but Parker's ability to dominate this matchup is unquestionable. Advantage: Parker.

SG: We discussed above, but it should be put this way. Manu Ginobili is a championship caliber wing with savvy, speed and great scoring ability. This is a no-brainer. Advantage: Manu.

SF: The Grizzlies run Sam Young and Tony Allen in tandem at the 2/3 spots. Young has added bulk and been taken under TA's wing this season. But Jefferson has about a million more moves. Young will be more aggressive, but that will also lead to leaving Jefferson open in the corner, where he's become deadly (highest 3-point percentage of his career). Jefferson get the nod here. 

PF: Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time. Zach Randolph is a top five power forward in the league right now. And neither will guard each other much in this series. We're going to give the nod to Duncan, only, and we stress only, for his defensive impact. Randolph is a poor defender, Duncan is still strongest. Advantage: Duncan.

C: Marc Gasol is constantly the most underrated center in the league. McDyess is a solid veteran defender. DeJuan Blair is a nice rebounder and put-back machine. Neither is seven-feet tall with the ability to run the pinch post, nail the open 16-footer consistently, pass well out of the post and attack the offensive glass as easily as Gasol. Plus his beard is mighty. Advantage: Gasol. 

Bench: We just got through telling you the Grizzlies have some matchup advantages on the Spurs on the bench. But the Grizzlies bring off Ish Smith and Hamed Haddadi. Advantage: Spurs. 

Coach: We'd comment more thoroughly on this, but we're afraid Popovich will make fun of us. Advantage: Popovich.

VII. Conclusion

When you have a matchup that becomes as complicated and confusing when you get in the details as this one, you have to take a step back and look at the simple picture. The Spurs have had one of their best seasons ever. They have championship players. They have Hall of Famers. They have a Hall of Fame coach. They are an elite offensive team that understands what they have to do defensively to win. They have experience, where the Grizzlies have almost none. The Spurs are the top seed in the West versus the 8th seed. 

It wouldn't surprise many to see Memphis take two games in this series. It also wouldn't surprise many to see a sweep by the Spurs. I'll aim for the middle. A five-game gentleman's sweep, which means Memphis wins a playoff game, and that's a step forward for the franchise. Prediction: Spurs in 5. 
Posted on: April 9, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: April 9, 2011 1:16 pm
 

The Memphis Grizzlies are a playoff team

The Grizzlies clinch a playoff appearance with a win over Sacramento.
Posted by Matt Moore




Three years ago, the Memphis Grizzlies committed to rebuilding. Not the stubborn, slow decline type that buries teams in NBA purgatory for years on end. Instead, the Grizzlies traded their best player, their biggest asset, their All-Star, for what was perceived to be scraps. Expiring contracts, a fringe prospect, the brother of the star they were trading, and a draft pick. That's it. The only player to make roster in 2010 for the Grizzlies from that trade was the brother, who started at center. 

Three years after that trade, the Grizzlies have clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2006 in a 101-96 win over the Sacramento Kings in front of a raucous, yes, raucous, crowd in Memphis, Tennessee at FedEx Forum. 

That the Grizzlies made what will likely be the 8th seed barring a phenomenal collapse by the New Orleans Hornets will be a sidebar, a nice little story, quickly forgotten. It will be ridiculed by fans of juggernauts like those in Boston, Miami, Chicago, and of course, Los Angeles. It will be considered nothing more than a blip on the radar screen. But if you're looking for a sports story that epitomizes what can be great about the NBA, what can be great about sports, the Memphis Grizzlies are a pretty fine place to start. 

Memphis should not be here. Their best overall player, Rudy Gay, has been on the shelf since before the All-Star break in February with a shoulder injury. Zach Randolph, their best remaining player and best offensive weapon, relies on nearly no athleticism, instead out-crafting and out-hustling his bigger, longer, faster opponents on the glass and managing to slip in shots amid a sea of limbs. Randolph was a team killer for a decade before landing in Memphis, and the Grizzlies' acquisition of him was considered in and of itself a joke. Tony Allen was the Grizzlies' big free agent pick-up in the summer of 2010, and he was a player Celtics' fans called out with glee when he was gone. A terrific defensive player that fancied himself an offensive weapon, Allen was so fond of taking the ball and breaking the set in isolation on offense, I took to referring to his escapades as the Tony Allen ISO Project. I imagined a house band tuning up in Allen's head when the leather touched his hands, his mind exploding with the possibilities of ways he could score. This is even more ridiculous considering how the room for Allen was created. The Grizzlies traded a draft pick to Utah for Ronnie Brewer, then a restricted free agent and now a key member of the Bulls' bench mob. Brewer got hurt, then the Grizzlies rescinded their restricted free agent rights for Brewer. They paid a draft pick to watch him walk to the top team in the East. They used that money and roster space to sign Allen. 

The roster goes on and on from there. The Grizzlies' second overall pick in the 2010 draft, a gift from the heavens, was wasted on a pogo stick with no discernible basketball talent who was traded along with a first-round pick for an aging wing defender with questionable shooting numbers. Darrell Arthur was supposed to be a draft bust, plagued by injuries and a lack of discernible role. Leon Powe was a washed up injury-plagued center cast aside by the Celtics after his championship contributions. 

Then there were the guards. I described Mike Conley's $40 million extension at the beginning of this season as the worst move in franchise history. He entered the season as a point guard with questionable handle, decision-making, play-making, and defensive skills. O.J. Mayo struggled as a point guard in Summer League, lost his starting job during a shooting slump, then was nearly traded to the Pacers. But a last minute bit of the trade jitters from New Orleans sacked the deal, and Mayo was stuck on a team that clearly didn't want him. 

How was this team supposed to make the playoffs? 

Randolph turned his entire reputation around, not only delivering efficiency, production, and leadership on the floor, but in the locker room. Randolph is the first to tap up the rebound, first to help up his teammate, first to greet the bench unit in a timeout. Everything you associate with a selfish, stat-hounding, head-case, team-cancer player like Randolph had been categorized as, he's been the opposite of. He set the tone, and the team rallied. Tony Allen came in and became the heart and soul of the team. He battles for every rebound, constantly swipes in the passing lane, helping the Grizzlies lead the league in forced turnovers, and, against all reason, has turned into an outright offensive threat. He finishes much like Randolph, in contrast to all things logical and traditional in offensive basketball form. He just gets the job done. And it's his emotion the team, the city, the fans feed off of. The working man's hero. 

Shane Battier came in and immediately resumed his role as a fan favorite, providing the cerebral balance to Allen's emotional energy. In his first game back in Memphis he was in O.J. Mayo's ear, talking to Darrell Arthur, communicating with the coach. Battier has come to provide the yang to Tony Allen's unstable yin. It shouldn't work, but it does. Arthur all of a sudden is a lock from mid-range, a quality defender in both low-post man and weakside help situations, and able to finish off the pick and roll. Combined with Gasol and Randolph, the Grizzlies host a three-man rotation down low with matchup advantages in skill, size, length, athleticism, and range. Powe is a hammer that does the dirty work and still has quality minutes in him.

At the time, I wasn't wrong for criticizing the Conley deal. It was poorly timed by the team considering his then-upcoming restricted free agent status and what he had shown as a guard. I am now. That's how these things work out, and Chris Wallace and Michael Heisley, along with head coach Lionel Hollins deserve every bit of credit for seeing the future of Conley. Mayo rediscovered his shot, and seems to have found a partner to work with in Shane Battier. Instead of pouting, abandoning his teammates and an organization that didn't want him, Mayo came to work, and produced. 

And now the Grizzlies have made the playoffs. They're in the postseason; they have a seat at the table. And yeah, they'll in all likelihood be ushered out swiftly by the Spurs or Lakers, as championship teams do to 8th seeds. But they have the hope of winning a few games which hasn't happened in Memphis. Ever. It's these kinds of steps that help a team build itself into something more than a fringe punch line, more than a Washington General to the big market bullies. The Grizzlies' road to the postseason hasn't been filled with success after success. It has had its mistakes, its bad luck, its times where the vehicle has slammed into the ditch. But the team has rallied around itself and even without its best player, is headed for the second season. 

Ain't that something? Strike up the band. Memphis has got one more dance in it. 
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Memphis Grizzlies fine Tony Allen for plane fight

The Memphis Grizzlies have fined guard Tony Allen for fighting on the team's plane with teammate O.J. Mayo. Posted by Ben Golliver. tony-allen

The Memphis Grizzlies have issued a terse press release, announcing that the team has fined guard Tony Allen for his role in a fight with teammate O.J. Mayo that occurred on the team's plane. Here's the statement, in full.
The Memphis Grizzlies fined guard Tony Allen an undisclosed amount for his involvement in an altercation on Jan. 3 during the team’s return flight home to Memphis, General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced tonight.
The fine is the latest step taken by the team in response to the incident, which reportedly involved a dispute between Allen and Mayo over an unpaid boo-ray card game gambling debt and ended with Allen punching Mayo hard enough to leave his face "swollen." The incident occurred when the team was flying back to Memphis after beating the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

On Wednesday, we noted that the Grizzlies have also moved to ban gambling on their team flights in the wake of the incident.

For More:
  • Ken Berger's take on how the NBA's gambling culture should be modified, click here
  • Matt Moore's thoughts on how NBA players can pass the time other than playing boo-ray, click here
  • Royce Young's quick-hitting reaction after news of the fight broke, click here
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:31 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 11:23 am
 

Bourré alternatives for players to avoid trouble

After O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen scuffle on a team flight, we wonder what other games might best replace Bourré on chartered flights to prevent future incidents. 
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young

Ken Berger lays out the case for the NBA to abolish gambling on NBA charter flights, an age old tradition. Berger's right to point out that as long as gambling is allowed on planes, these kinds of disputes are going to continue. But in our efforts to take a pragmatic step towards eliminating conflicts over these games, perhaps we should move the gambling to an alternative contest. And so, we present a series of games that may best replace Bourré as the game of choice for NBA rounders. Our scale will be on one-to-five Tony Allen punches, with one being very unlikely to lead to suspensions, and five being very likely to lead to suspensions.

The Culprit: Bourré

The object of Bourré is to take a majority of the tricks in each hand and thereby claim the money in the pot. If a player cannot take a majority of tricks, their secondary goal is to keep from bourréing, or taking no tricks at all. A bourré usually comes at a high penalty, such as matching the amount of money in the pot.
via Bourré - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

So you've got a trick game, which is problematic in and of itself, combined with a "must play to win" element and the possibility of significant loss of money with the bourré. See, that's just not a game you want involved with guys amped up on testosterone and dealing with competitive natures on a plane with significant money involved. You're asking for trouble. This game is not well suited for NBA players. It's got the ability to have exponential pots.  It's got to go.

Rating: Five Tony Allen punches


The Team-Builder: Go Fish!



Go Fish is competitive and can lead to taunting, sure. "So, do you  have any threes, Gilbert? Oh, I guess only in practice!" But it also lets you learn about one another's mindset "Who always asks for face cards?" and teaches giving. And it reinforces the idea that you should have nothing left at the end of the game. Throw in the fact that it relies on the honor system, and you've got a terrific option for NBA players or  their seven-year-old children.

Rating: One Tony Allen punch


The Mind Game: Bluff

Also known by another less kid-friendly name involving a male cow, Bluff is a wonderful game for learning about your teammates. Being able to determine when your teammate is lying, what his tells are, will help you understand his body language in game. With limited capacities for gambling fit in, the game can look ideal. But it also encourages lying to your teammates, deception, and challenging one another on the premise that you feel they are dishonest. Not exactly encouraging of a friendly environment.

Rating: Three Tony Allen punches



The Life-Skill Teacher: Monopoly




NBA players too often have their own ideas about spending their money and are too often misguided. The classic game with the creepy Mike D'Antoni character as the mascot would do wonders for learning how to manage your assets. It reinforces that the priciest assets aren't always the most valuable, that efficiency is valued over excess, and that energy is important. Unfortunately, it also reinforces the idea that if you have the right piece of paper, you can get out of prison, and that money is the end of everything. There are some ups and downs here.

Rating: Three Tony Allen punches


The Allegory: Hungry Hungry Hippos




Buys into the competitiveness while combining it with a sense of whimsy.  Reinforces the idea of always being active and consistently finishing through the end of the game. Exceedingly difficult to gamble on. Game not well suited for players' hands. Also difficult to steady on charter flight in turbulence. Also teaches that he who consumes the most is best, not great for sharing instincts. 

Rating: Two Tony Allen punches


The Greater Game: Chess


Teaches total team effort. Encourages critical thinking. Reinforces team concept. Difficult to gamble on in a group setting unless you get into a prop bet situation. Can breed competitive nature and trash talk, though. Chess is a high-minded game and the kind of thing coaches like Phil Jackson would want his players to play. It's also boring as all get out to watch and difficult to play.

Rating: Two Tony Allen punches


The Tough Guys: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots




Reinforces competitive spirit without endangering anyone, allows for release of tension and embraces violent tendencies without any long-term harm. Difficult to bet on due to arbitrary nature of robots. Focuses on possibility of injury and why punching each other can be dangerous. Kevin Garnett would have to figure out a way to have the robots retreat after the first punch, but all in all, a great option.

Rating: One Tony Allen punch



Leave your best ideas in the comments or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba and we'll post the results tomorrow.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 3:28 pm
 

Grizzlies ban gambling on team flights

Posted by Royce Young

Following the Gilbert-Javaris Crittenton showdown in 2009 over a card game, a lot of teams saw the writing on the wall and banned gambling on team charters. The Grizzlies evidently did not.

This reared its ugly head in a fight between O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen last Sunday on the team plane as first reported by our Gary Parrish.

So naturally, the Grizzlies got the message it looks like. ESPN.com reported the team was considering banning gambling on flights and Rudy Gay said on Jim Rome's radio show that the team in fact did put a stop to gambling on the plane.

The league is not going to mandate the action and apparently will not take action against the players, keeping this an internal team matter. The Grizzlies already put out a press release following the incident saying the issue was closed.

The Grizzlies will get on a flight for the next time Friday as they head to Oklahoma City for a game Saturday. It doesn't sound like anyone will be playing any Boo-Ray on that charter which hopefully means nobody will be punching anyone in the face either.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:56 pm
 

The Game Changer: Knicks outgun the Spurs

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: SAN ANTONIO CAN'T RUN WITH NEW YORK

The Knicks have had quite a turnaround early in this season. However, the major qualm is that they're beating up on average and bad teams, but aren't good enough to actually beat a good team.

Well, you can cross that one off now.

The Knicks completely outran the league's best team with a 128-115 win over the Spurs at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks shot nearly 55 percent from the field and got 31 points from Wilson Chandler, 28 from Amar'e Stoudemire and 28 from Raymond Felton as they pulled away late.

The Spurs have ramped up pace and tempo this season, playing faster than ever. And it's been a large part of their success. But it didn't work against the team that actually lives by running. The Spurs just couldn't keep up and after the game got into an up-and-down flow, they couldn't slow it down and get it into a style they liked. San Antonio tried to grind it out in the fourth, but the Knicks were still running.

One curious move was Gregg Popovich sitting his starters down with three minutes left, only down 10. With a game tonight against the Celtics, I'm sure Coach Pop wanted a little extra rest for his guys and with the way the Knicks were running, his team of veterans were probably gassed. Still a bit curious though, especially considering the 3-point shooters San Antonio has. A 3, a stop and a bucket and it's a five-point game with lots of time left.

Regardless of that, this is New York's biggest win of the season and finally something the Knicks can point to and say, "See! We're good!" Not that they need that validation because their quality record says enough, but any time you beat the league's best team, it helps in every way.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Zach Randolph put up a monster double-double, going for 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Thunder.

Marcus Camby had 10 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Dallas.

Jamal Crawford notched a season-high 31 points and added seven assists in Atlanta's win over Sacramento.

Wilson Chandler deserves a mention with his season-high 31 points against San Antonio.

MIAMI ROLLS AGAIN

I feel like it the season started in December, then yeah, we probably could've started talking about 72 wins for the Heat. Because they are rolling right now.

With their win over the Bucks, that makes 19 of 20 for Miami and most of those have come in impressive fashion. Dwyane Wade notched another big night, dropping 34 as LeBron dished out nine assists. Really, everything is working according to plan right now. Miami has scoring when it needs it. The Heat have defense all the time. And playmakers are all over the floor.

Sometimes, it's honestly a little tough to see how someone can beat them. But the thing about the Heat is that they make themselves vulnerable at times. They lapse, get selfish and don't play defense. It's the reason they've lost nine times.

But lately, everything has been working according to plan. To win 19 of 20 is pretty good, especially because that meant beating some solid teams.

Tony Allen: GOOD AT PUNCHING, BAD AT LAYUPS

The next time O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen get into it, Mayo's got some ammunition to at least make fun of him with. On a solo fast break, Allen streaked toward the rim with his tongue hanging out like he was going to finish big. Instead, he blew the layup. This was actually one of four layups Allen missed on the night. He did finish with 19 points though and hit two crucial 3s.


Lakers VENT A LITTLE, THIS TIME AGAINST THE COMPETITION

Instead of yelling at each other, the Lakers started doing it to their opponent, beating down the Pistons 108-83. It was a blowout so that stats are a bit skewed, but Kobe Bryant only attempted 18 shots as Pau Gasol went for 21 points and Lamar Odom added 16. That's the Laker formula we've seen work this season.

Kobe went just 6-18 from the floor, but had eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds. So maybe there was something to Phil Jackson's critique of his recent play and Bryant came out looking to be more unselfish. He set teammates up and looked a bit passive at times. He didn't have his shot going again, so he let his cast of very talented characters bring him through.

PARTING THOUGHT

In Oklahoma City's 110-105 loss to Memphis, Jeff Green registered zero rebounds in 42 minutes of play. That's only the third time since 1986 a power forward has had that happen. The other two were Cliff Robinson and Pat Garrity. Not exactly wonderful company to be in.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: January 5, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Shootaround 1.5.11: Love and loathing

Banning bourree, Gilbert and J.J. are pale riders, and Kevin Love doesn't exactly sound set for the long-term in Minnesota, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
  • Just in case you missed it, O.J. Mayo appears to not have the best head on his shoulders, as he started an altercation with Tony Allen, which Allen then promptly finished by pummeling the third-year guard. No disciplinary action has been leveed against either player, and none is expected to be. The NBA has got to step in and ban gambling on planes. It's unfortunate that the players have to be treated like children but given the history of incidents stemming from gambling fights over bourree, there's simply no excuse not to ban it. 
  • The Warriors waived Rodney Carney. You know how good the Warriors' offense is? they just cut a guy shooting 46% from 3-point land. They're bleeding shooters. Not as much as they're bleeding on defense, but still. 
  • Lost in the talk of Love, Rose, and Westbrook joining up was this choice quote from Love's SI interview: "We'll see what happens with what David Kahn and the front office want to do," Love said. "If it's right, it's right. If it's not, it's not. I could end up somewhere else. I just want to play for a team that wants to win at this point. At this point, I just want to win now." Now, Wolves fans will say that this is they typical New York media (I'm not) talking about a star ditching his team (I'm not), despite the fact that he's starting to have success in Minnesota (he's not). Love's relationship with the front office has been strained since the installation of David Kahn and Kurt Rambis, and just because he's getting minutes, that's probably not enough to satisfy Love. Love's got quite the history of comments about a distrust with the front office.
  • Udonis Haslem is pushing for a March return . An issue to consider is whether Haslem will be able to effectively work his way into the rotation in time for the playoffs. If the Heat are (still) rolling, there's no reason to disrupt a lineup rotation that's working.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: January 5, 2011 8:46 am
 

Same story, new players: NBA card game goes wrong

Posted by Royce Young

CBSSports.com's Gary Parish reports that O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen had a physical altercation on the team flight home following a win over the Lakers Sunday. The fight left Mayo with a "swollen face" Parrish says.

Mayo was ruled out of Tuesday's win over the Thunder with what the team called "bronchitis." I wasn't aware bronchitis can be brought on from repeated punching to the face, but apparently that happened.

Allen started in place of Mayo Tuesday against Oklahoma City and played maybe his best game of the season, scoring 19 points in the victory.

Parrish also reports that the altercation came after a card game gone wrong. Mayo reportedly became increasingly belligerent toward Allen when asked to settle a debt. Allen had walked away, gone to restroom on plane and returned to find Mayo was still berating him. That's when it got physical, according to the report.

I know what you're thinking. At least they didn't pull out guns like what happened after another card game gone bad in Washington D.C. last season, right? But still, how can this happen? Following the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittendon incident from last season, a lot of teams banned gambling on team flights. Evidently, the Grizzlies did not.

In the Arenas-Crittenton case, Crittenton reportedly won $25,000 playing the card game Bourre -- the same one Allen and Mayo reportedly fought over -- and said he was going to shoot Arenas in his surgically repaird knee as the two argued over the debt. Instead of getting all punchy, Arenas brought a gun into the locker room to make some sort of joke about it.

All-time winningest coach Don Nelson said after the Arenas incident that maybe gambling should be a league-wide ban. He said, "It's not a bad thing not to allow gambling, money on the table, card games. Maybe the league ought to think about doing something that way. It would probably be a good thing."

Another case happened in 2000 with the Raptors. Before an exhibition game, Charles Oakley looked to collect a debt from Philadelphia's Tyrone Hill. Oakley slapped Hill on the side of the head and was fined and suspended for game later that seaosn for chucking a ball at Hill's head during shootaround. In 2001, Hill reportedly paid Oakley $54,000 that he owed from a dice game.

In 1999, Jerry Stackhouse allegedly punched Christian Laettner after believing Laettner had cheated him out of $2,000 in a card game.

So it's obvious this isn't something new with Allen and Mayo and a card game that turned ugly. But it's a problem the league might have to start really considering a ban on. Any time large sums of money get involved in things, emotions raise a tick. When players turn into debt collectors, things tend to go from harmless to serious pretty quickly.

And that's evidently what happened with the two Grizzlies. It's really playing with fire if you're a team that allows it. Amazingly these two guys are supposed to continue to co-exist on the same team, despite throwing down. I would imagine that the Grizzlies might reconsider allowing players to gamble on the plane from here on out. They'll likely become one of those teams that frowns upon cards.

The Grizzlies issued a team statement that said, ""There was a brief altercation between Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo. The club considers the matter closed."

The club might consider it closed, but should the league?
 
 
 
 
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