x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

NBA: Tim Duncan lauds resilience of San Antonio Spurs

In other news, Tony Parker gets a threat call and Cleveland Cavaliers get first chance at draft pick again.

It was 16-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of the team’s owner, who again proved the lucky charm for the Cavaliers. Jason DeCrow / AP Photo
It was 16-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of the team’s owner, who again proved the lucky charm for the Cavaliers. Jason DeCrow / AP Photo

The San Antonio Spurs held off the late-charging Memphis Grizzlies to triumph 93-89 in overtime on Tuesday and stretch their lead in the NBA Western Conference finals to 2-0.

Tim Duncan's 17 points included six of the Spurs' eight points in overtime, when he also delivered a key block to help San Antonio hang on after they let a 13-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate.

"I hate that we gave up that big of a lead in that situation," Duncan said. "But we were resilient enough to go to overtime and not let it affect us and get a win there."

Tony Parker scored 15 points and handed out a career playoff high 18 assists for the Spurs.

"He was unbelievable," Duncan said of Parker. "I know he's exhausted. We asked a lot of him. He was controlling the ball every time down the floor. And he was making every right play there was."

Parker's last assist was to Duncan for the basket that gave the Spurs a 91-87 lead.

The Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless responded with a jump shot to trim the deficit back to two points.

Parker then made one of two free throws to give the Spurs a 92-89 lead with 14.6 seconds left in overtime, but Bayless was off-target with a three-point attempt to tie it.

The Spurs, who thumped the Grizzlies 105-83 in game one on Sunday, will try to extend their dominance as the series shifts to Memphis for games three and four on Saturday and Monday.

"We're down 0-2," said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. "We've got to go home and take care of business at home."

The winner of the series will advance to the NBA finals and battle the Eastern Conference champions for the league crown.

Probe on threat call to Parker

Meanwhile, authorities in San Antonio are investigating a 911 emergency call threatening Parker, local media reported.

Local television station KSAT reported on its website KSAT.com that Parker's life was threatened, although a spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office declined to specify the nature of the threat in speaking with the San Antonio Express newspaper.

The caller telephoned 911 with about five minutes left in the game against Memphis and threatened the French player.

Cavaliers win No 1 pick in draft again

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the odds for the second time in three years by winning Tuesday's lottery to give them the No 1 pick in the NBA draft.

The Orlando Magic fell back one spot to No 2, while the Washington Wizards vaulted from the No 8 spot to third.

It was 16-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of the team's owner, who again proved the lucky charm for the Cavaliers.

Representing the team for the ceremony, Gilbert was handed the No 1 pick, just as he was in 2011, when the Cavs used the selection to take eventual Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

"Kyrie is a hell of a player ... but this also felt almost as good," Nick Gilbert said. "That was the first time. This is the second time, but man does it feel good to get the first pick this last time. Get that last player to give us a push."

City Thunder raising funds towards tornado relief

Clay Bennett, the Oklahoma City Thunder owner, began hearing from people around the NBA within minutes of Monday's tornado.

Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver called. So did fellow owners and colleagues, all asking what they could do to help.

Some made donations, but Bennett believes the organisation had a responsibility to do even more for the fans that have been so welcoming since the team arrived five years ago.

"This community is all about family. It's all about supporting each other, and when things like this happen, we rally and we take care of each other," Bennett said in a phone interview.

Clippers relieve their coach

The Los Angeles Clippers have decided to part ways with head coach Vinny Del Negro, announcing on Tuesday they will not offer him a new contract.

Del Negro compiled a 128-102 record with the Clippers in three seasons, guiding them to the play-offs in 2012 and 2013.

The Clippers finished the 2012/13 season with a franchise-high of 56 wins, including a 17-game winning streak, and were fourth-seeded in the Western Conference play-offs before falling 4-2 to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.

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