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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Zach Randolph
Hours away from drawing the toughest defensive assignment of his two-year career with the San Antonio Spurs, Kawhi Leonard wasn't feverishly taking mental notes of how to guard LeBron James.
Go ahead and call the San Antonio Spurs old. They're also experienced enough to know what to do only a win away from their first NBA Finals berth since 2007.
The towels are showing up all around Memphis. They hang over neighborhood signs and even at a door to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs struck first in the Western Conference finals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 105-83 on Sunday.
Memphis is headed to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 88-84 on Wednesday night, finishing off the second-round series in five games. Not bad for a team that seemed to be slashing salary in a bid to stay competitive for years to come.
Talk is cheap in these NBA playoffs, and it seems as if everyone wants in on the act.
Anthony, the NBA's scoring leader, shot only 13 for 29 from the field but scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets late in the period that finally gave the Knicks breathing room in a tight game.
Rudy Gay is on his way to Toronto in the latest and most dramatic move in the Memphis Grizzlies makeover, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Tim Duncan was selected to his 14th All-Star game, Spurs teammate Tony Parker is joining him, and the Chicago Bulls also had two reserves chosen Thursday for next month's game in Houston.
Kenyon Martin scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with an 82-72 win Sunday over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7.
The Memphis Grizzlies have a hangover so bad sleep was almost impossible, and they can only hope two days can help them shake the sick feeling of blowing a 27-point lead right along with home-court advantage to open the playoffs.
Sure, basketball is a team sport, but NBA games are often won and lost by individual matchups. Here are five to watch in the first round of the playoffs.
Dwyane Wade knew during pregame warmups that the Miami Heat were going to have a long night. By the end of the first quarter, the Memphis Grizzlies let everyone else know that Wade was right.
After playing in a first-half funk, the Memphis Grizzlies finally relied on better team basketball in the second half.
The season began with Udonis Haslem inspiring the Miami Heat with his words. He gave a passionate speech in the locker room nearly seven months ago, talking about how desperately he wanted to win a championship to honor his recently deceased mother.
"We ain't been down like this, 0-3, so it's a different mindset," Randolph said. "It's now do or die. We've got to come out tomorrow and come out like we came out last game and just sustain it and not break down towards the end of the game."
"That rim's tight," Randolph said with a laugh. "No, I'll just be confident. I'll take that shot again tomorrow, and hopefully it goes in."