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Randolph leads Memphis past Milwaukee 90-80

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Randolph leads Memphis past Milwaukee 90-80

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies' ramped up defensive pressure has led to some impressive wins.

Memphis held Milwaukee to a season-low in points and Tony Allen locked down Bucks leading-scorer Monta Ellis to help the Grizzlies win 90-80 Wednesday night.

Ellis, who entered the game averaging 19 points a game, missed his first 13 shots with Allen on him, and didn't score a field goal until 2:30 was left in the game. He ended the night with four points.

``I'm aware he's not hitting any on me. I'm aware of that,'' Allen said when asked if he realized Ellis was struggling. ``He's a talented scorer. He'll jump out of that slump before you know it.''

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins simply said: ``Tony Allen's defense on Monta Ellis was outstanding.''

Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis, which entered the game allowing a league-low 90 points a game. Rudy Gay added 13 points, Mike Conley had 11 points and six assists, while Marreese Speights scored 10 points.

Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee with 26 points, even though he missed his first eight shots. Marquis Daniels was the only other Bucks player in double figures with 12 points on 5 of 8 from the field.

``I said before the game if we could get it to where neither (Jennings nor Ellis) had a huge game, we'd be all right,'' Hollins said. ``Nine of 26 for 26 points (from Jennings) is not a huge game to me.''

Memphis benefited from an intense defense in the second half, causing 12 Bucks turnovers after halftime leading to 18 points. Memphis committed 10 of its 16 turnovers in the first half.

Milwaukee shot 35 percent for the game.

``It was tough,'' Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. ``We had a ton of open looks. We just missed them. There's not much to say. We couldn't make a shot, and we were only down nine at halftime. It was tough.''

While Ellis said it was ``just a bad night,'' Jennings, who had his own shooting problems in the first half, noted Ellis' misfiring stymies the Bucks offense.

``He's our scorer, so he's the most important player on this team for us,'' Jennings said. ``I know he's angry right now, but with great scorers like that you shouldn't be too worried because they always come back strong.''

Both teams started the game shooting poorly as the Grizzlies hit just a third of their shots, while the Bucks were 6 of 26, including Ellis and Jennings, the Bucks two top scorers, missing all 12 of their combined shots in the first quarter.

Jennings missed eight shots before connecting, while Ellis missed all 10 of his in the half.

``That's a game-changer to have a guy who can do that,'' Conley said of Allen's play. ``To take a guy (like Ellis), who is so good, out of game offensively is unbelievable. As long he can do that, he is able to be a game-changer for us.''

Memphis led 43-34 at halftime by shooting 40 percent, despite Gay and Allen hitting 2 of 7 each and Conley missing his three shots.

Neither team had a scorer in double figures at intermission.

Memphis took the first double-digit lead of the game on its initial possession of the second half, and eventually extended it to 60-45 as the Grizzlies turned up the defensive pressure. The Bucks, meanwhile, looked like a team struggling to catch their breath on the second night of a back-to-back.

``We just couldn't get anything going on the offensive end,'' Skiles said. ``We can't score one of three possessions and expect to come back and win.''

Memphis would eventually build the lead to 16 in the third and finished the quarter with a 66-51 advantage.

``That's where we lay our hat at is on the defensive end,'' said Allen, who had a season-high four steals. ``Ever since I got here, that's been our motto, holding it down on the defensive end, playing in and out basketball. Whenever we do that, I think we are more effective.''

NOTES: Memphis defeated Milwaukee 108-90 on Nov. 7. .Memphis has won five straight in the series and swept the season series three straight years. The teams played only once in last year's lockout-shortened season. .Memphis had 20 rebounds in the first quarter, the most for a period this season. They ended the night outrebounding Milwaukee 56-44. ... Conley needs one assist to tie Jason Williams for the most assists in Grizzlies franchise history. Williams had 2,069. ... The Bucks, who defeated the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, are now 2-3 in second night of a back-to-back. ... The previous low point total for the Bucks this season was 81 at New Orleans on Dec. 3. .Randolph now has a league-best 19 double-doubles in 23 games.

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

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USA TODAY Sports

10.19.18 Rick Horrow sits down with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

Top 3 sports biz items of the week:

1) The NHL’s new season has been infused with a bit of flare and fun that it is not used to. According to The Hockey News, players across the league have started to show a bit more personality on the ice, something that fans have been “begging for” for years. The highlight of the first week came during a wild 7-6 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Chicago Blackhawks. Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews and Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane exchanged jeers after each scored a goal within the final minutes of regulation. Meanwhile in Raleigh, the Hurricanes now have one of the league’s best post-game celebrations. After a win, the whole team applauds the crowd before “skating from their own blueline to the other end of the ice and jumping into the boards.” This playful nature is one thing that the NHL has lacked compared to its NBA and NFL counterparts. With more fun, expect more fans. And to the fun mix add Gritty, the startling new Muppet-like orange Philadelphia Flyers mascot, who calls his fans “Gritizens,” has been on with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and after mere weeks has amassed over 136,000 Twitter followers.


2) E-commerce giant Amazon is used to disrupting industries in a quick and swift fashion, but its dive into sports broadcasting has been described as “humble.” According to SportsBusiness Journal, Amazon has been linked with some of the world’s biggest leagues and tournaments, such as the NFL and Premier League, despite not being a longtime player in the sports broadcasting industry. “There is more to come from Amazon, full stop. We are in it for the long-term, that’s for sure,” said Amazon Prime Video European Managing Director Alex Green. “We just get our heads down and try and do the best possible job. We are quite humble about it. Amazon may be a big name but in sports broadcasting we are not. Let’s face it.” Amazon recently celebrated its first exclusive sporting event broadcast when it streamed the U.S. Open to tennis fans in the U.K. as part of a $40 million, five-year deal. While that effort did not go smoothly, with thousands of fans unable to access the livestream, Amazon has assured its current and would-be broadcast partners that their humbling performance would only improve.


3) NFL owners are preparing for a big vote at their fall meeting this week regarding cross-ownership. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the decades-old rule currently prevents “owners of other big four sports teams in NFL markets from buying a football team,” while also preventing NFL owners from buying non-NFL Big Four sports teams in an existing NFL market. The ballooning of franchise valuations has led owners to reconsider the rule due to the shrinking pool of potential buyers for clubs. To illustrate this, when the Carolina Panthers came up for sale earlier this year, only three bidders emerged before David Tepper bought the team for $2.275 billion. Even that NFL record setting sale came in under expectations. However, the league has not strictly upheld the cross-ownership rule. Back in 2010, Stan Kroenke exercised an option to buy the then-St. Louis Rams despite owning the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Kroenke skirted around the rule after he handed off the Colorado teams to other family members, setting precedent and setting up the NFL for a sensible rule change.

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Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

Redskins-Cowboys Week 7 preview: A storyline, a stat and a player to watch

This Sunday, for the 117th time, the Redskins and Cowboys will meet. 

Dallas will bring its 3-3 record into FedEx Field and face off with a 3-2 Washington squad. The winner of the contest will guarantee themselves a share of the NFC East lead heading into Week 8.

Here's a storyline, stat and player to watch for the next installment of this rivalry. Once you're done reading those, you can officially start preparing yourself for some sketchy fourth down decisions by Jason Garrett. 

Biggest storyline

Since his tidy but effective game vs. the Packers, Alex Smith turned in a disconcerting performance in New Orleans and a lukewarm effort (albeit a winning one) against the Panthers. Overall, Smith has looked very in control at times but also uneasy and ineffective at others so far in 2018.

So, the biggest storyline in this edition of the series has to do with Smith. If this game calls for it, can he lead the 'Skins to a victory?

That could be difficult vs. the Cowboys. The QB will be without Jamison Crowder again, and on Friday, Jay Gruden listed Paul Richardson as doubtful. Chris Thompson, meanwhile, is questionable.

So, it's likely Smith will be without two of his most talented weapons and possible that he'll be missing three. And on top of that, he'll be operating behind an offensive line that's had issues, which is contributing to his sometimes shaky feet in the pocket.  

To make things even harder, the Dallas defense allows the second-fewest points-per-game in the league and boasts a defensive line that Gruden is very worried about because it employs a scheme that involves a lot of movement. The Colts D-line uses a lot of stunts and movement, too, and they held the 'Skins to just 9 points in Week 2.

Smith has yet to top 300 yards this season or throw for more than two touchdowns in a single outing. He's had no problem winning when the team jumps to an early lead and the running game is going, sure, but he can't count on that each time he starts. 

At some point, his right arm is going to have to be mainly responsible for a Redskins W. And there'd be no better time for that to happen than in his first shot against his new franchise's most-hated opponent.

One key stat

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott don't know what it's like to play an NFL game vs. Washington and leave that game as the loser. Prescott is 4-0 in his four starts, while Elliott suited up in three of those triumphs. 

Elliott has been a big-time problem for the Redskins in their run-ins. The RB has scored five times against the burgundy and gold and averages 110 yards per appearance. 

Come Sunday around 7:30 or 8 p.m., when Elliott's day is done, odds are you'll be able to look at his stat line and judge the outcome of the game solely based on it.

If Greg Manusky and his defense, particularly his young stars up front, are able to bottle up Zeke, you have to like the Redskins' chances of beating the Cowboys for the first time since the 2015 season finale.

The Redskin to watch

Charley Casserly identified Fabian Moreau as a key Redskin for Week 7 (full video above). Another one worth watching is DJ Swearinger.

Swearinger terrorized Cam Newton last week and really flew around the entire field. He'll need to be as active against the Cowboys and, most importantly, be a sure tackler.

Elliott is going to churn out a few seven- and eight-yard runs. It'll be on Swearinger, plus fellow safety Montae Nicholson, to not let those become 20- or 30-yard gains. 

A lof of the attention, and deservedly so, will go toward what Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis are doing on Sunday. But if Swearinger can take smart angles, get Elliott to the ground and make a few plays in pass coverage, that'll go a long way vs. a limited Dallas offense.

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