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Baseline to Baseline recaps: Spurs and Grizzlies sit their starters, still make it close

Apr 13, 2011, 2:38 AM EDT

Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers AP

What you missed while wondering if there really are “new” dinosaurs

Trail Blazers 102, Grizzlies 89: No Zach Randolph or Tony Douglas as the Grizzlies seemed to be trying to tank, get the eight seed and meet the Spurs in the first round. (That can still happen if they lose to the Clippers Wednesday.) By the way, this seems an odd strategy, to try and line up with the Spurs. You realize, they are really, really good, right?

It almost didn’t work anyway as this game was tied at the half. Then in the Trail Blazers started to figure it out in the third quarter, pulled away and won comfortably. Best news for Blazers fans is that Rudy Fernandez got his groove back with 18 points and was 4-of-5 from three.

This locks in Portland as the six seed in the West. Now, who they play is still up in the air.

Lakers 102, Spurs 93: That may be as painful a win as the Lakers could get. In part because of Andrew Bynum’s knee. In part because to secure the two seed they still need to win Wednesday in what promises to be a very hostile and loud final game in Sacramento (we would hope it’s not the last ever but…), yet the Lakers had to play their starters until a minute left in the fourth to secure a win against he Spurs JV team (no Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili).

San Antonio has a pretty good bench and Richard Jefferson said what matters is they play the Spurs system well. True enough, but that didn’t help much against a focused Lakers defense — which the Spurs subs could not deal with. San Antonio had 15 points in the first quarter and shot 28.6 percent. For the game they only shot 35.2 percent, but the Lakers were not able to pull away until late. The Lakers starters hit the shots they needed to late.

Bulls 103, Knicks 90: Meaningless game (save for Chicago trying to catch the Spurs for the best record overall, the two teams are now tied at 61-20) but both teams rolled their starters out for some pretty close to regular minutes. The Bulls won this one as they have won a lot of games this season, by working harder — they got to the line 10 more times, they got seven more offensive rebounds, they seemed to get the loose balls. It’s what the Bulls do, that and defense. Chicago took the lead on a 26-2 third quarter run and never looked back.

  1. edmazeing1 - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    U right Memphis is trying 2 get that 8 spot, they scared of faceing LA in round one that“s a itch move. I hope spurs blow them out & and the match up in week one of the playoffs!!!

    • memphismiracle - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      Yeah, most of us are pretty angry they sat Randolph and apparently Tony Douglas (not sure when we got him, I thought they sat Tony Allen). Losing on purpose for seeding or for the lottery will almost always haunt you in the end.

  2. aboogy123456 - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    you guys are forgetting that they cause a lot of matchup problems for the spurs with their big and talented front line. That is where you need to expose the spurs, but they won’t be able to do that against the lakers. I think it’s smart by memphis, and that they will definitely give the spurs a run for their money in the first round, even without Rudy Gay. In the playoffs it’s all about exploiting matchups and they can do that against the spurs. To exploit the lakers you need a speedy talented point guard and I don’t think Mike Conley would be good enough.

    • memphismiracle - Apr 13, 2011 at 10:31 AM

      While I understand what they are trying to do and the concept of matchup problems, I still think it is lame. This team is based on playing hard for 45 minutes every night and never backing down. You can’t sell me, “We would rather play the Spurs than the Lakers so we are going to try and lose on purpose by ‘resting’ our two best players right now so they are ready for the playoffs” and still try and sell me on them never backing down from anyone. If those two guys really needed “rest” then they would have sat them against New Orleans after Memphis had secured a playoff spot.

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