Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

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What happened Saturday while you were watching Pacquiao do work

Magic 109 Wizards 95: So it wasn’t the epic beatdown we were fearful of, which is a good thing. Washington actually led after the first, but then the fact that it was their third game in three nights caught up with them. Either that or the fact they were playing a far-superior Magic team caught up with them. Either way, the Magic scored 41 in the second and that was that.

Shaun Livingston had 18 points and eight assists, and if that doesn’t make you feel good, then you’re dead inside. Andray Blatche had 32, and looks more legit by the second.

Meanwhile, for the winners, J.J. Redick and Brandon Bass got to feel like they were actually part of the Magic, leading the second quarter comeback.

Atlanta 112 Detroit 99: The Hawks kind of gave up a huge run after being up by a ridiculous amount, which has to concern Mike Woodson. It’s not really a matter of focus, it’s more like they hit the ceiling and there’s a period of ricochet afterwards.

This sounds simple, and it is. When Jamal Crawford is locked in? Getcha toetags ready. Cause he’ll just mow ’em down.

Nuggets 125 Grizzlies 108: In the words of Ron Burgandy, that really got out of hand, fast. I’m pretty sure J.R. Smith killed a guy with a trident. The Grizzlies had a lead, a sizable one. They were getting penetration, causing turnovers, running and gunning and everything looked good. And just like that, the Nuggets flew by in a whoosh so loud it blew the amps out on Beale Street.

J.R. Smith was in full form tonight draining pull-up threes in transition, hitting from ridiculous range, and mocking the crowd. A Memphis crowd. Sam Young had probably his worst game as a professional, and Marc Gasol wasn’t as aggressive as he needed to be when the defense started clamping down on Randolph and Mayo.

Rockets 116 Nets 108: Luis Scola can ball. Tonight was a Scola highlight reel. Scola scored 44 points on 25 shots. Do you know how insane that is? That’s crazy. That’s cuckoo for Cocoa-Puff. 20-25 from the field. And he hit everything. Putbacks, 20 footers (two feet beyond his usual range). Turnaround Duncan-esque glass-bankers. The whole barrage. And he was the entire difference the Rockets held off a Nets team that, no joke, keeps playing better each night.

Chris Douglas-Roberts did not play.

Spurs 118 Clippers 88: Yeah, let me tell you, LeBron would much rather play for the Clippers with the worst owner in the league for a team with an aging gunner point guard that got blasted off the face of the earth than a Nets team with fewer losses but a better future.

George Hill got to coach in this one. I’m not kidding. Pop gave HIll the clipboard late in the game and had him show D-League call-up Cedric Jackson how he blew an assignment. Then Hill asked Pop what play he wanted to run, and Pop said “I don’t know, whatever you want.” This means that A. Popovich is the most awesome coach in the history of the NBA and B. the Clippers got outcoached by a second year backup point guard.

I’d be willing to give the Clippers a pass on this one, after all, how often does Matt Bonner score 21 points, if it weren’t for the fact that they let Matt Bonner score 21 points.

DeAndre Jordan showed more signs of something special, mixed with signs of nothingness.

Knicks 128 Mavs 94: See, this is why if I’m a coach and I’m up 40 points late in a game, I’d deliberately peel it back down to 30. It’s tough not to open a floodgate that can lead to a comeback, but this game is a pretty good indicator of why you don’t want to win by 50 like the Mavs did last time these two met.

You give the other team the motivation of revenge for pride’s sake. And that’s a powerful thing for a professional athlete. Now, the Mavs were a part of this, too. They just couldn’t find net, no matter what they did, and they couldn’t find a way into their offense if they had neon signs point them in the right direction.

Toney Douglas had 21 and 8 assists, and it only took D’Antoni four months to figure out he should play more.

Warriors 124 Raptors 112: No one played defense. The Raptors played defense less. Stephen Curry is very, very good.

The end.

LeBron James helps Cavaliers hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) LeBron James made a 3-pointer with 68 seconds left Sunday and the Cleveland Cavaliers hung on for a 106-102 series-clinching victory at Indiana.

James finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds as he became the first player under the current playoff format to win 21 straight first-round games. He also set a league record with his 10th career playoff sweep.

It sure wasn’t easy. After taking a 96-83 lead with 9:29 to go, the Cavs found themselves in a 102-100 deficit with 1:31 left.

But James answered with the go-ahead 3-pointer and Cleveland sealed the win on James’ free throw with 1 second left.

Lance Stephenson scored 22 points and Paul George added 15 but missed a 3-pointer that could have forced overtime in the closing seconds. It’s the first time the Pacers have lost a series 4-0 in their NBA history.

Kyrie Irving added 28 points for the Cavs, who await the winner of the Bucks-Raptors series.

Indiana got back into the game with a 7-0 spurt early in the in the fourth, then methodically continued chipping away at the lead until Thaddeus Young tied the score at 100 with a short jumper and broke the tie on a tip-in with 1:31 left.

But James, whose teams were 51-0 when starting the fourth quarter with double-digit leads in the postseason, made sure the perfect record remained intact.

Cleveland has won seven straight playoff games overall and 11 straight in the first round since James returned to his hometown team.

It was another milestone day for James, who moved past Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson and James Worthy on the league’s list of consecutive first-round wins, and past Tim Duncan for most career sweeps, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

James also went 13 off 25 from the field, tying Kobe Bryant for fourth on the career playoff list for field goals. Each have 2,014 baskets.

Indiana has lost five straight postseason games and six of its last eight.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Will make their 11th appearance in the conference semifinals. … Cleveland has swept all eight series in which it has taken a 3-0 lead. … Tristan Thompson grabbed 11 rebounds Sunday, giving him double digits in all four games. … Deron Williams scored 14 points and Kevin Love had 16 rebounds.

Pacers: George finished with a series-low point total Sunday and was 3 of 9 on 3s after entering the game with a league-high 15 3s in the playoffs. … Teague scored 15 points and was the catalyst in the final spurt, including blocking one of James’ shots. He can become a free agent this summer. …Myles Turner had 20 points and nine rebounds, while Young had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT

Cleveland gets some extra rest before finding out who it will play in the second round. Indiana embarks on a crucial offseason that could dictate the franchise’s future.

More AP NBA: apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

JR Smith turns it over with behind-the-back pass, Paul George misses rim on tying 3-pointer (VIDEO)

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The Cleveland Cavaliers sweep of the Indiana Pacers was not easy. Sunday’s Game 4 matchup was tight through the first two quarters, and despite the Cavaliers opening up a sizeable lead in the third, it was the Pacers who battled back late to make it a game.

Despite the clean basketball that was played throughout the game, the final minute was one of the weirdest we’ve seen in a swept series.

It started with LeBron James hitting a clutch 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cavaliers a 103-102 lead.

The Pacers then turned the ball over with a chance to tie or take the lead with less than 15 seconds to go. JR Smith recovered the ball on the fastbreak, but flipped it behind his back on an ill-advised pass.

That gave the Pacers the ball once more, and Indiana’s Paul George got an open look at a 3-pointer. Unfortunately, it was a clanker that never even drew rim.

Cleveland beat the Pacers, 106-102, to complete the sweep. The Cavaliers await the winner of the Raptors-Bucks series, which is currently tied 2-2.

Rockets’ Patrick Beverley fined $25,000 for incident with Oklahoma City Thunder fan

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Chicago Bulls PG Rajon Rondo had to dole out a nice chunk of change on Sunday. The league fined Rondo $25,000 for attempting to trip Boston Celtics wing Jae Crowder. But Rondo isn’t the only point guard during these playoffs who earned a fine from the league.

Thanks to an altercation with a fan during Game 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley also found himself at the wrong end of a $25,000 fine from the league on Sunday morning.

Via ESPN:

In the first half, Beverley got knocked down after attempting a layup and landed at a fan’s feet, identified as Stuart Scaramucci, son of minority Oklahoma City Thunder owner Jay Scaramucci. Beverley got up and immediately started to complain about Scaramucci.

He pointed at Scaramucci as referee Scott Foster and several Rockets went to help him up. After the game, Beverley approached Scaramucci, who was sitting behind the basket, and they got into a heated discussion.

Rockets forward Sam Dekker went to pull Beverley away, and he left the court as fans yelled at him.

A live video of the incident that occurred after the game was posted to social media.

Ah, Patrick Beverley. There’s not enough players in the NBA to have beef with so why not have some with a fan? Or perhaps the son of a minority owner shouldn’t be such a goober and should try to represent the franchise a little better?

Let’s say both?

Houston leads the series, 2-1. Game 4 is on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Report: Warriors coach Steve Kerr not expected back to coach in first round vs. Blazers

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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr missed games last year due to a back injury that gave him chronic pain. Kerr also missed Saturday’s Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers due to an unspecified illness, and reports out of Oakland are that Kerr will not return to coach the rest of the first round series.

What Kerr is battling is still unknown, apparently even to the Warriors. According to a report from the Mercury News, Kerr is having trouble walking and has been in excruciating pain.

Via MercuryNews.com:

Vague descriptions like “illness” and “not feeling well,” are usually a sign something is wrong. In this case, according to sources, it is.

At the worst of this current illness, Kerr was in excruciating pain, according to the sources, and he could barely walk. It was scary because it wasn’t a feeling he’s had before.

The worst part, the Warriors don’t yet know what is going. They had to say “illness” because there are no answers yet.

Kerr hasn’t felt well all series, according to people around him, and recently it become unbearable. It is unknown if these issues are even related to his past well-known health problems.

No matter your loyalty, I think we’re all hoping for Kerr to get an answer and feel better soon. If you’ve ever dealt with chronic pain it can be something that not only debilitates your body but grates at your emotional state, too.

Meanwhile, Kerr’s absence is a huge question for the Warriors moving forward. Last season it was Luke Walton who helmed the squad so well it earned him the head coaching position for the Los Angeles Lakers. But this injury comes late in the game for Golden State, and while they may be able to cut through the first rounds of the playoffs without Kerr, there’s no doubt they would rather have him on the bench for later rounds.

In Kerr’s absence, assistant coach Mike Brown took the helm for the Warriors against Portland in Game 3. The Blazers blew a huge lead they held most of the game as Golden State took a 3-0 series lead, 119-113.

Update:

Kerr was apparently feeling a bit better this morning. Some good news!