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.

Anthony Davis leaves game with concussion, likely to miss time

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Anthony Davis has had a couple concussions during his NBA career, one of the several ailments that have kept him off the court for stretches the past few seasons.

Now Davis has suffered his third concussion since being in the league. Davis left the Pelicans’ game against the Nuggets in the third quarter after getting a concussion when trying to guard Nikola Jokic. There is no timetable for his return, he will enter the league’s concussion protocol and need to be cleared by a league neurologist before he can return to the court. After the game New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry didn’t have any details.

The play itself looked fairly innocent — there was no intent by Jokic.

Davis spent a couple of minutes on the ground after the play, his hands over his face, before going to the locker room.

Davis is averaging 25.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game this season.

Carmelo Anthony’s foot on line on game-tying shot, Spurs comeback to beat Thunder

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-101 on Friday night.

An Aldridge putback of Danny Green‘s missed 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 102-99 lead with 24.2 seconds remaining.

The Thunder missed two 3-pointers on the ensuing possession, but Carmelo Anthony tracked down a second offensive rebound and made a 25-footer with his foot on the 3-point line to cut the lead to 102-101.

Gasol made two free throws, and Russell Westbrook stumbled to the court and threw up an airball on a 3-point attempt.

Danny Green added 17 points, and Pau Gasol had 14 points to help San Antonio end Oklahoma City’s three-game winning streak.

Anthony had 20 points to lead the Thunder. Westbrook was held to 15 points after scoring 10 in the opening period. He was 5 for 22 from the field.

The Spurs rallied behind their usual formula of hounding defense and 3-point shooting.

Davis Bertans hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter, tying it at 78 with 38 seconds remaining with his final 3 of the run. The 3-pointer also closed a 58-35 run after the Spurs trailed 43-20.

The Thunder closed the first quarter on an 18-2 run. The Spurs had a season-low 15 points in the opening period.

 

Thompson’s playmaking a steadying force for defending champs

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson danced unabashedly in China after winning another NBA championship, and it got shared all over social media. He smoked a stogie on the rooftop, letting loose to reveal another side of himself.

“I didn’t plan for that video to go viral,” Thompson said matter-of-factly. “I was just having fun. I’ve always been myself and having fun while doing it and learning to enjoy every day, because it goes by so fast.”

Coming to that mindset, however, has been a process for the seventh-year Golden State guard, who acknowledges for so long he put extreme pressure on himself to be the best.

The quiet, more under-the-radar Warriors All-Star of the bunch, Thompson has provided a steadying hand early on for the reigning NBA champions who are favored to capture a third title in four years.

“I used to stress a lot more at the beginning of my career about my performance,” Thompson recalled. “Now, it’s not like I don’t stress, but I play more carefree and I’m more able, if I play as hard as I can I’m satisfied with the results. … I used to compare myself with all players and want to be the best so badly, but now it’s all about winning and having fun and realizing basketball is more of a team sport than anything.”

After a recent practice, Thompson dazzled right alongside a couple of visiting Harlem Globetrotters, spinning the ball on his finger, rolling it up and down his arms, off his knee and then a foot soccer-style before swishing a short jumper.

“I should’ve been a Globetrotter!” he yelled.

It’s a new look for this hang-loose, beach-loving Splash Brother.

The approach is working for the Warriors.

“He still carries the threat. You have to honor him,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s great at making the right play. Their whole team is. I think he’s trying to fit in with their whole buy-in that ball movement and passing is greater than any one man carrying the bulk of it.”

Still, his numbers are stellar. Thompson has had a fast start this season, which previously hasn’t been the case.

Thompson credits the familiarity with teammates and a comfort in coach Steve Kerr’s offense.

“He’s taken another step in his game. Just the experience that he’s had in his career, every year he’s gotten better and I think this year he’s shown how at the end of the season he carried it over to the beginning of this year,” backcourt mate Stephen Curry said. “Historically he hadn’t started seasons well but this year he’s locked in. He’s obviously shooting the ball well and playing great defense, but I think the biggest thing is his playmaking in situations where he’s drawing a crowd. He’s making great decisions setting guys up and just playing under control for the most part this entire season.”

Life off the court is great for Thompson, too, and that helps him be stress-free on it.

Look closely, and it’s easy to see he has come out of his shell.

On a day off last week, he golfed a popular public course close to Oracle Arena. Thompson signed someone’s toaster last spring, and it became a superstition.

In July, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at an Oakland Athletics game, then drove an IndyCar in September while serving as Grand Marshal of a series stop in Sonoma.

Thompson shares his training tricks on social media and posts photos with his bulldog, Rocco.

He recently donated $75,000 to relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating Northern California wildfires, committing $1,000 per point for a three-game stretch during which he scored 69 points – but added to that total.

He is a spokesman for chocolate milk and an obscure – in the U.S. anyway – Chinese shoe company. He signed an $80 million, 10-year extension to wear the sneakers.

“Life’s good,” Thompson said. “I never thought I’d get paid millions of dollars to wear shoes and apparel. I’m very proud to be a part of Anta. … It’s so cool that I’m big in China. I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China.”

Thompson has found a balance during the offseason to stay sharp, mixing up his workouts with outdoor activities he enjoys.

“It took years for me to figure out how to prepare the best I can for the season. I finally learned in my sixth year,” he said. “You’ve got to stay in shape almost year-round because as you get older it’s harder to get back into shape. It’s easier to get out of shape than it is to get back into shape. I do other things besides basketball to stay in shape in the offseason. I think that just keeps my mind fresh.”

He hopes to do a formal swim from Alcatraz, or even a triathlon. He swims in the ocean – “my favorite place in the world” – whenever he can. Freestyle is his strength, butterfly not so much. He plays hours of beach volleyball or just throws the football around and runs routes through the sand.

At work, he has been a model of consistency. Thompson is determined to be a better passer, creating for teammates whenever possible. He also usually guards the opponent’s top perimeter scorer.

Thompson is off to his best shooting season ever, with career highs of 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 45.6 percent on 3-pointers.

“I think his playmaking has been the best it’s been in his career,” Kerr said. “He’s really doing a good job of putting the ball on the floor and moving it on, drive and kick game, finding the centers in the pocket for little floaters. … It’s been his best passing season so far.”

Thompson used to get teased for his lack of assists, and it remains a running joke.

“I got thick skin,” Thompson quipped, “honestly I don’t really care.”

That carefree approach has taken time, and the Warriors are better for it.

 

Report: Mark Cuban in process to buy Mavericks’ G-League team

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There will come a day, in the not too distant future, when every NBA team will have an owned and affiliated G-League team. It will be a place for them to develop young players — guys they drafted but need more run than they’d get in the NBA, guys on two-way contracts, and just players they like and want to give a chance. The NBA is more and more becoming a development league — and if the one-and-done rule is replaced with something akin to the baseball rule for players going to college, having a strong G-League team will matter even more.

Which is why the news that Mark Cuban is about to buy the G-League team already affiliated with the Mavericks makes sense. Marc Stein of The New York Times broke the news.

While the name of the guys signing the checks will change with the Texas Legends, little else will.

It’s just another sign of the future in the NBA.