Post Up: The Bank is Open

by May 10, 2015

Wizards 103, Hawks 101 (Washington leads series, 2-1)

The bank shot is the new black. All the cool kids are doing it.

We saw the bank take center stage Friday night on Derrick Rose’s ridiculous game-winning three, Saturday evening on Paul Pierce’s midrange dagger, and once again Saturday night on Marc Gasol’s trey ball with two minutes remaining. All this backboard action is starting to get a little fishy. There’s never been a better time to call glass in HORSE. Somewhere, Tim Duncan is smiling.

But The Truth didn’t call bank on his buzzer-beater from the left elbow extended. “I called game,” he told ESPN’s Chris Broussard in a post-game interview. The shot capped off a 13-point, 7-rebound day for Pierce, and the performance is an instant addition to his canon of clutch playoff outings. That rare ability to close out games is why Washington signed Pierce to a two-year deal in July.

Credit is due to the Hawks bench for mounting what seemed like an impossible comeback. The Wizards saw their 21-point fourth quarter lead slip away as Dennis Schroder (18 points, 5 assists) attacked and earned multiple trips to the foul line. Mike Scott hit a couple of big 3-balls, and Shelvin Mack came up with a key steal and bucket. The Hawks tied the game on a Mike Muscala 3-pointer with 14 seconds in regulation. But ATL’s resurgence—the away team won the fourth quarter 35-18—was all for naught.

The first three quarters were all Washington. After abysmal Games 1 and 2, Nene finally remembered how to play. The big Brazilian was dominant inside, especially during a first half in which he dropped 15 of his 17 points. After failing to make a single field goal the first two games of the series, Nene shot 7-9 from the field Saturday. He also pulled down 7 rebounds. Frontcourt mate Marcin Gortat posed matchup problems as well, going for 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Bradley Beal (17 points, 8 assists) and Otto Porter Jr (17 points, 9 boards) have stepped up immensely in John Wall’s absence. Porter has been an unexpected surprise for DC in its six playoff wins so far; it’s fun to see the second-year small forward experience his coming-out party on such a giant stage.

(Paul Pierce wasn’t the only number 34 for Washington to hit a game-winner against Atlanta, in DC, on Saturday. Bryce Harper drilled a walk-off homer to lift the Nationals to an 8-6 win over the Braves at nearby Nationals Park. The Capitals will try to pull off the DC hat trick when they face the Rangers on Sunday. Yeah, we like other sports, too.)

The Hawks will look to bounce back in Game 4 at on Monday night at the Verizon Center.

—Eli Schwadron

Grizzlies 99, Warriors 89 (Memphis leads series, 2-1)

You know that #MemphisVsErrrbody battle everyone’s been talking about? Well last night, Memphis won that battle—big time. The Grindhouse can attest to that:

The Grizzlies’ grit and grind style dominated the Golden State Warriors in this Round 2 matchup for the second consecutive game. Big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for big numbers—43 points and 23 rebounds. Masked man Mike Conley came up big too, despite needing some periodical check-ups throughout the night for bumps and bruises. Five of his 11 points came from these two snazzy moves below—one a crossover followed by a long 3-ball in the first quarter over Leandro Barbosa, and the other an off-balance driving dagger in the fourth:

Memphis led by as many as 19 points last night, after trailing by 5 early in the first quarter. But the visiting Warriors didn’t fade away completely. They managed to cut their near-20 point deficit to 4 points after a 7-0 run in the final period. But with about 3 minutes of clock left, Courtney Lee (11 points) hit a shot from beyond the arc to stop the Dubs in their tracks, which Gasol followed with this bank shot to beat the shot clock soon after:

MVP Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 23 points on 8-21 shooting in the Game 3 loss, but was essentially invisible in the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson put up 20, and Harrison Barnes added 16. But with the Grindhouse lit and each one of the Grizz who saw minutes scoring at least 4 points, the well-deserved win went to the home team.

Now with a 2-1 advantage and Game 4 at the Grindhouse set for tomorrow night, the Grizzlies look to take a dominating 3-1 series lead. The Warriors will obviously try to avoid that and bring the series back to the Oracle all tied up.

Safe to say the battle’s just begun.

—Habeeba Husain