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Breaking down the Liz Cambage—Brittney Griner battle

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Brittney Griner and Liz Cambage faced off in Dallas, and here’s what happened when they did.

DALLAS — The Phoenix Mercury extended their six-game win streak this week when they took on the Dallas Wings. Liz Cambage and Brittney Griner, two of the best centers in the league, went head to head. Griner had the upper hand in a 75-72 win.

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In the first half, Phoenix limited Cambage’s presence on the inside, forcing her to get her first points behind the arc. She was visibly frustrated with Phoenix swarming defense, Griner’s length and the refs. Griner collected half the team’s points in the first quarter with 8 points, but played limited minutes in the second quarter after picking up 2 quick fouls.

Griner had 12 points for the half. Cambage had 7 points going into the half, and she would only score 3 more points the rest of the game.

The second half wasn’t kind to either center, both of whom would eventually fouled out. Glory Johnson stepped up big in Cambage’s absence, pressuring Griner defensively in the fourth quarter. Griner fouled out with 1:29 left in the game, scoring only 5 points, 3 rebounds in the second half.

Cambage fouled out with 10 points, 3 rebounds, well below her season average. If the Wings hope to go deep into the playoffs they’ll need more from Cambage, particularly offensively. After the game, the Wings locker room was deflated. Cambage said simply, “I guess we’ve just got to do better.”

Meanwhile Griner walked out the Phoenix lockeroom all smiles excited to see her family and friends. When speaking of Cambage, Griner spoke of her game in high regard.

“She’s big, and I’m saying that,” Griner said, smiling, to High Post Hoops. “I’m glad she’s back in the league, she uses her body well, you saw her hit that three.” Griner finished the contest with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

“We knew we had to pack the paint, they’re a very athletic team,” said Griner. “Skylar and Liz have a great chemistry, her coming off and finding Liz, so we had to keep packing it in and make them work.”

Phoenix did a great job of disrupting Cambage’s flow and touches, better than any team so far this season. Consider Cambage finished the first half with only one rebound—one rebound for a player who averages almost 10 rebounds a game.

“Liz is a great talent but we have BG (Griner),”  said Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello. “We wanted to crowd her as much as possible.”

Both teams were noticeably upset with the officiating all evening. Fans erupted when Cambage picked up a questionable flagrant type one foul in the closing seconds of the second quarter.

Ultimately, games with Cambage and Griner, called too closely, resulting in both players seeing limited minutes and nights ending early, are detrimental to players, teams and fans alike.

But a league with regular Cambage-Griner battles? That’s a win for all.

Via High Post Hoops

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NBA

Grizz shopping No. 4 pick, Parsons, sources say

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The Memphis Grizzlies are in discussions with a number of teams to trade the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, league sources told ESPN. Any such trade would likely include forward Chandler Parsons, whose contract is considered an albatross because of his knee problems.

The Grizzlies have several potential trade partners, as the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and LA Clippers have shown varying degrees of interest in a deal, a source told ESPN.

According to sources, the Grizzlies don’t anticipate the most serious proposals to arrive until they are on the clock Thursday, shortly before 8 p.m. ET. While contingent deals can be made earlier, the Grizzlies and other teams might want to see which prospects are available at No. 4 before deciding on a deal.

In such a trade, the Grizzlies hope to move back a few spots rather than move out of the lottery altogether, sources told ESPN. The organization wants to add talent even as it potentially trades its biggest free-agent acquisition ever to get out from under the $49.2 million remaining on Parsons’ contract over the next two seasons.

Memphis might be able to trade back to No. 6 (owned by Orlando) or No. 7 (owned by Chicago) on draft night. Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. is a favorite of the Memphis front office and especially the coaching staff, according to sources. He is currently projected to be selected within the top seven picks in the latest ESPN mock draft.

If Orlando is willing to include Evan Fournier in a trade for Parsons, that could facilitate a deal involving the No. 4 and No. 6 picks, but the Magic currently appear reluctant to do so, instead preferring to give up Bismack Biyombo.

Knicks coach David Fizdale met with Texas center Mohamed Bamba on Wednesday afternoon at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York, sources told ESPN’s Ian Begley. Director of scouting Kristian Petesic was also present. It’s extremely unlikely Bamba would be available for the Knicks at their No. 9 pick, another indication New York has considered moving up via trade.

Knee soreness has led to Parsons playing in only 70 games since joining the Grizzlies in 2016. For Memphis, trading Parsons would potentially create significant salary-cap space in the summer of 2019, and only point guard Mike Conley is under a guaranteed contract for the 2020-21 season.

Still, due to NBA rules requiring matching salaries for teams over the salary cap, any trade Memphis makes on Thursday will need to bring back a contract or several contracts of significant size, at least for the 2018-19 season.

Via ESPN.com

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NBA

Report: Los Angeles Lakers acquire 39th overall pick in trade with Philadelphia 76ers

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The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the 39th overall draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft from the Philadelphia 76ers, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaworski.

According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers will send the Chicago Bulls’ 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations to Philadelphia.

The Lakers now own picks 25, 39 and 47 heading into Thursday’s draft.

The Lakers acquired the 25th overall pick in the trade deadline deal that sent Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Channing Frye and Isaiah Thomas.

The Lakers’ own first round pick, No. 10 overall, belongs to the Sixers as a result of the 2012 trade that brought Steve Nash to Los Angeles.

Via NBA.com

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NBA

Report: New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn declines player option, becomes unrestricted free agent

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New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn will become an unrestricted free agent after declining his player option for the 2018-19 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday night.

In a reserve role, O’Quinn posted career highs in points (7.1), rebounds (4.5) and assists (2.1) last season while shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

O’Quinn’s decision to opt out does not necessarily mean his time with the Knicks is over. Depending on their draft and free agency decisions, the Knicks could still choose to re-sign him.

O’Quinn just completed his sixth NBA season, including three years with Orlando and three with New York.

Via NBA.com

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