Leonard, Spurs escape with overtime win over Grizzlies

Leonard, Spurs escape with overtime win over Grizzlies


SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard had 32 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied in the final seconds of regulation before beating the Memphis Grizzlies 95-89 in overtime on Tuesday night in a matchup of likely first-round playoff opponents.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 points, including the tying basket with 1.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Memphis point guard Mike Conley exited the game with 3:42 remaining in regulation with an eye injury after bumping heads with Leonard under the basket. The Grizzlies' leading scorer left the court while clutching a towel tightly to his right brow and did not return. His status is unknown.

Conley finished with 19 points and six assists.

Pau Gasol added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs. He and Patty Mills each hit a 3-pointer in overtime to lead San Antonio to its third straight win.

The Spurs forced overtime during a dramatic final five seconds.

Leonard tied the game at 82 with 4.9 seconds remaining with a step-back, 15-foot jumper over JaMychal GreenZach Randolph followed with a 12-foot, turnaround jumper 2.2 seconds later before Aldridge put in a layup off an inbounds pass from Gasol with 1.6 seconds left. Randolph's 3-pointer fell far short of the basket as the buzzer sounded after he mishandled the ensuing inbounds pass.

Randolph finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds.

San Antonio and Memphis, who split their four-game series, would meet again to open the playoffs if the standings remain the same. The Spurs are currently second in the Western Conference and the Grizzlies are seventh.

Memphis was without defensive stalwart Tony Allen, who had an eye injury, but was still able to stifle San Antonio.

The Spurs matched a season low for points in the opening quarter.

The Grizzlies followed by matching their season low with 35 points in the first half. It was also a season low in the first half by a San Antonio opponent.

Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half.

Grizzlies: Memphis coach David Fizdale said Allen's vision was still bothering him after being poked in the left eye during Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. . Marc Gasol and Green played after both were listed as questionable. Gasol has a strained left foot and Green has a sore left shoulder. . G Andrew Harrison sat the game out with an injured right ankle. . Memphis has scored 35 points in the first half twice before, most recently against Utah on Dec. 18. . Memphis is 8-7 in the Southwest Division with one game remaining against Dallas. . Memphis' last win in San Antonio was a 117-116 victory in triple overtime on Dec. 17, 2014.

Spurs: San Antonio PG Tony Parker was 4 for 8 from the field, giving him 7,368 career field goals to pass David Robinson (7,365) for third in franchise history. Tim Duncan (10,285) and George Gervin (7,526) are the franchise leaders. Parker also played his 1,139th career game, passing Danny Schayes for 53rd in league history. . The Spurs have scored 14 points in the first quarter twice before, most recently March 4 against Minnesota.

Grizzlies: Host Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

Spurs: Host Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays

OAKLAND -- When he returns to the Warriors, likely on Friday, Stephen Curry will alter nothing about his game despite coming off a four-month period during which his surgically repaired right ankle endured multiple aggravations.

He’ll be the same Curry that fans have come to know, diving into passing lanes on defense while firing up 3-pointers and darting in and out of paint traffic on offense.

It’s the only way he knows how to play, and he’s played long enough to accept that it comes with risk.

“When I wake up in the morning I’ll know the difference between my right (ankle) and my left,” Curry said Thursday after practice. “But that won’t stop me from being who I am on the floor and having confidence in myself when I get back out there.”

Curry missed 11 games after spraining his ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans. He missed two games after tweaking it in shootaround on Jan 10. He missed no games after tweaking it March 2 in Atlanta. He has missed the last six games after tweaking it on March 8 against the Spurs.

“I’ve been very durable over the course of my career,” said Curry, who is listed as probable but fully expects to play Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just that I’ve had three untimely, freak accidents happen.”

Curry stepped on E’twaun Moore’s foot in New Orleans, on Zaza Pachulia’s foot in Atlanta and Dejounte Murray’s foot against the Spurs at Oracle Arena.

Not once in the previous five regular seasons did Curry miss significant time due to his tricky ankle. He missed a total of 16 games during that span, never more than four in a season, and six of those were for reasons of rest.

This season, however, has tested Curry’s patience like nothing since 2011-12, after which he had his second ankle surgery. He concedes that being in and out of the lineup has left him at times feeling “boredom, monotony and frustration.”

Though some of that can be attributed to the rehab process, there is no doubt part of that stems from watching the Warriors from the sideline.

With Curry out of the lineup this season, the Warriors are 13-8 (he missed one game with a hand bruise, another with a thigh bruise). That they are 40-10 when he’s in the lineup illustrates his importance.

It’s not just that he’s important. Curry is the catalyst for the offense and he can only be that if he is playing without regard for the possibility of injury. A hesitant Curry can’t be an effective Curry, so full throttle is the only way to go.

"If we’re trying to win a championship, I need to be out there,” he said. “That’s a given. We want every single guy out there, healthy and available, myself included. That’s the ideal situation.”

If he gets hurt along the way, so be it. As man of faith, he believes that anything that happens is influenced by a higher power.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting 3s or pullups are going into the lane or playing defense, that’s liable to happen any time,” Curry said. “Other than those instances, I haven’t had anything to worry about on the injury front. We are prisoners of the moment when it comes (playing the game). I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I have to change anything based on me being a durable player and being on the court consistently.

“Down the line, if you ask me about it in three of four years, there might be something I might need to change. But not right now.”

There is a segment of fans, worried about Curry’s health and realizing it is tied to the fate of the team, who would like him to dial back his aggression. Maybe avoid the paint and settle for more jump shots. He’s heard the advice and is not unwilling to launch a few more shots from deep.

But Curry is going to go where he sees daylight, and the best chance to make a positive play. He’ll take his chances because hesitation has no place in his mind or his game.


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller