Marc J. Spears

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Marc Spears covers the NBA for Yahoo! Sports. He previously has written for the Boston Globe and Denver Post.

  • As Warriors push Grizzlies to brink of elimination, Tony Allen vows to play in Game 6

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Tony Allen sat helplessly while watching his struggling teammates on Wednesday night. A hamstring injury that has lingered more than a week forced Allen to stay on the sideline as his Memphis Grizzlies lost 98-78 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal.

    When the series resumes for Game 6 on Friday, the Grizzlies' season will hang in the balance. Allen, regardless of whatever pain he's feeling, has vowed he'll be back on the court.

    "Looking at how we lost today, I want to be out there with my teammates," Allen told Yahoo Sports late Wednesday. "… I am doing this for the guys in that locker room. I've been there with them since Day One. I'd rather be in there in that battle.

    "If they say our season is on the line and we need everybody, I'm one of the troops, I'm riding out."

    Allen has been a menace defensively against the Warriors during this best-of-seven series. The two-time first-team all-defense selection, however, missed Game 5

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  • Rockets' Hack-A-Jordan strategy backfires in Game 4 loss to Clippers, proving Shaq's theory

    LOS ANGELES – With a little more than five minutes left in the Los Angeles Clippers' blowout victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the video scoreboard camera zeroed in on DeAndre Jordan, who sat comfortably on the bench after shooting 34 free throws. The Clippers' fans roared in delight. Jordan responded by licking his fingers, smoothing out his eyebrows for the camera and smiling brightly.

    Jordan had reason to smile after the Rockets' frequent Hack-A-Jordan strategy backfired and the Clippers rolled to a 128-95 Game 4 victory. Jordan shot an NBA playoff-record 28 free throws in the first half and made 14 of his total foul shots in the game to finish with 26 points and 17 rebounds. The Clippers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and will try to close it out in Tuesday's Game 5 in Houston.

    "I know I got to shoot them. I can't run around the gym," Jordan told Yahoo Sports. "I got to shoot them and not think about it too much."

    Jordan entered Sunday shooting a dismal 42.6 percent

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  • Grizzlies' 'Masked Assassin' stuns Warriors and upstages MVP Stephen Curry

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry was given the NBA's Most Valuable Player award by league commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday night before Game 2 of their playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. For the Grizzlies, however, the true MVP of the night was the man in the mask standing across from Curry for much of the game: point guard Mike Conley.

    "What I had to endure the past week, I don't think people really understand what I was going through physically," Conley told Yahoo Sports after he scored 22 points in a 97-90 Game 2 victory that evened the second-round series. "And then mentally with the pressure of playing and knowing that the team needed me to just find a way. And that was the biggest … finding a way regardless to how I was feeling."

    Conley missed the previous three playoff games after suffering a devastating facial fracture in Game 3 of the Grizzlies' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 25. He had surgery two days

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  • The story of how Stephen Curry's agent and dad didn't want the Warriors to draft him

    OAKLAND, Calif. – As Stephen Curry took snapshots with the NBA Most Valuable Player trophy on Monday, the man who tried to keep him from the Golden State Warriors shook the hand of the man who refused to let that happen.

    "I didn't see him until Steph called him out [in his acceptance speech]," Curry's agent Jeff Austin said of former Warriors general manager Larry Riley, "and I was glad that he was here."

    Said Riley: "It's been fun to sit back and watch this whole thing develop."

    Curry was regarded as a top-10 NBA draft prospect after averaging 28.6 points per game his junior year at Davidson College during the 2008-09 season. The Los Angeles Clippers were set on drafting then-Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin with the top pick. Austin's hope was that his client would land with the New York Knicks with the eighth overall pick. Curry and his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, were on board with the plan as well.

    Still, Austin knew the Warriors had strong interest a pick before the

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  • Warriors roll to Game 1 victory as Grizzlies hope for Mike Conley's return

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The bright lights of Oracle Arena, the screaming by the Golden State Warriors fans, even the sound of the buzzer – all of it was bothersome for Mike Conley Jr. What was even more painful for the injured point guard was seeing his Memphis Grizzlies struggle without him.

    Conley missed his third straight playoff game during the Grizzlies' 101-88 loss to the Warriors in Game 1 of the second-round series on Sunday. This much was evident: If the Grizzlies hope to make this a series, they're going to need Conley back on the floor.

    Conley has not played since suffering a facial injury in Game 3 of Memphis' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 25, but he sat on the bench on Sunday. Memphis has lost two of its past three playoff games without him and it's uncertain when he will return.

    "Today was a big step being able to go in front of the crowd and the loud noise," Conley told Yahoo Sports. "I did all right. All the horns and stuff really aggravated

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  • Why Chris Paul was so emotional after knocking off Spurs with memorable one-legged shot

    LOS ANGELES – In between hugging actor Billy Crystal and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Chris Paul gave the longest congratulatory hug Saturday night to his brother C.J., repeating one word of joy over and over.

    "Finally," Chris Paul said. "Finally."

    The "finally" was in respect to the San Antonio Spurs. Paul finally took down the reigning NBA champions during a memorable 111-109 Game 7 victory in a thrilling end to a classic first-round series.

    The Spurs have been the dominant NBA team during Paul's 10 seasons thanks to a battle-tested core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich. San Antonio swept Paul and the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs in 2012. The Spurs also beat Paul and the New Orleans Hornets in seven games during a second-round series in 2008.

    Paul was set to go toe-to-toe with the Spurs once again on Saturday only to have a hamstring injury initially limit him. But when the Clippers needed Paul most, he nailed a

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  • Future of Spurs in question after Game 7 loss to Clippers

    LOS ANGELES – The heartache and frustration of having their championship reign end in a last-second Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers had barely begun to hang over the San Antonio Spurs when attention quickly turned to a pertinent question about the franchise's future.

    Was this the last game for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili? And maybe even coach Gregg Popovich?

    From the sound of Duncan and Ginobili, they aren't rushing into a decision.

    "I'm not making any statements," Duncan said after the season-ending 111-109 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Chris Paul's winning shot could push Manu Ginobili into retirement. (Getty Images)Chris Paul's winning shot could push Manu Ginobili into retirement. (Getty Images)Said Ginobili: "It's not a topic to talk about. It's too soon."

    Whenever he decides to retire, Duncan will leave as the greatest Spurs player of all time and also the greatest power forward the NBA has ever known. He is now 39 and admitted this week he sees "the light at the end of the tunnel." But he's also still playing at an elite level: He totaled 27 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes in Game 7, his fourth game of at least 20 points

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  • As the Clippers and Spurs head to Game 7, Doc Rivers urges playoff reform

    SAN ANTONIO – Before tipoff of the opening game of what now seems destined to go down as one of the better first-round matchups in NBA playoff history, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich grumbled to one another with the same complaint.

    Why are we playing each other … now?

    "It's ridiculous that it's a first-round series," Rivers told Yahoo Sports late Thursday. "That was the first thing Pop said to me before Game 1, and I said the same thing. But we both decided, 'What the hell, it is what it is.' But this is ridiculous."

    Across nearly two weeks, the Clippers-Spurs series has delivered everything as predicted: torture for its two elite coaches, entertainment for everyone else – and now a decisive Game 7 to settle it all on Saturday night at Los Angeles' Staples Center. The Clippers created the winner-take-all event with a 102-96 victory in Game 6 that left Popovich fuming about the Spurs' toughness.

    Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds in Game 6. (AP)Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds in Game 6. (AP)"We should be embarrassed at the way we

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  • Source: Andrew Wiggins wins NBA Rookie of the Year award

    Andrew Wiggins (Getty Images)Andrew Wiggins (Getty Images)Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins will be named the NBA's Rookie of the Year during a news conference on Thursday, a source told Yahoo Sports.

    Wiggins was the top overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he was dealt to the T'wolves in a trade for Kevin Love before the season. The four-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 36.2 minutes while playing in all 82 games this season.

    Wiggins appeared to be the frontrunner for the award from the start, with his competition in the injury-plagued rookie class limited to Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic and Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton.

    The news conference to honor the former University of Kansas star will be on the main floor of the Target Center in Minneapolis and open to the public.

    More NBA coverage:

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  • Tim Duncan: 'I know my time is winding down, so I'm enjoying it more'

    LOS ANGELES – A few days removed from his 39th birthday, flecks of grey now in his hair and beard, Tim Duncan sat on the Staples Center scorer's table late Tuesday, watching the chaotic scene unfold in front of him in the final seconds of the 239th playoff game of his storied NBA career. The game hung in the balance, the atmosphere thick with tension, and yet in that small moment Duncan looked utterly comfortable – happy, even – at what awaited him and his San Antonio Spurs.

    "It's just a realization of mortality, I guess," Duncan told Yahoo Sports late Tuesday. "I know my time is winding down so I'm enjoying it more."

    After all these 18 seasons, Duncan's old-school game still looked as timeless as ever for one more night. He totaled 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one game-changing block, playing all but 10 minutes in a 111-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers that left the Spurs with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and needing one more victory to

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