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.

Report: Gerald Green to sign with Milwaukee for training camp (at least)

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How good is the hot chocolate at the BMO Harris Bradley Center?

I ask because it appears Gerald Green is going to be playing in Milwaukee, at least for training camp, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent swingman Gerald Green has agreed on a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told The Vertical.

Green will sign a non-guaranteed deal for training camp and is expected to compete for a regular-season roster spot. Milwaukee has looked to add depth at the wing positions, bringing Green and veteran guard Brandon Rush to camp.

The Bucks have 14 guaranteed contracts, so it is Rush vs. Green for that final roster spot. Green played solidly last season in Boston despite inconsistent minutes, but was not brought back as the Celtics revamped their roster. Green shot 35.1 percent from three last season, can play decent defense, and is a good veteran presence on a team with young players.

As for why I asked about the hot chocolate…

Draymond Green: I laughed in Kevin Durant’s face over Twitter fiasco

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Kevin Durant said he hasn’t slept in two days and isn’t eating due to his Twitter fiasco.

Draymond Green – who was mocked by his Team USA teammates, including Durant, over his own Snapchat snafu – said he got revenge.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Green:

It’s a little payback. I stood right there, over there, laughing in his face. And it felt pretty damn good, too.

The Warriors’ chemistry is either in a touchy spot or light years ahead.

Report: Former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett signing with Suns

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Getting cut by the NBA-worst Nets was a low point for former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, but at least he had a guaranteed salary and got paid out through the end of the year.

That won’t be the case with the Suns.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This is a no-risk flier for Phoenix. If Bennett plays well enough in the preseason, the 24-year-old will make the regular season roster. If not, the Suns won’t owe him anything.

Bennett has a chance to stick. Phoenix has just 13 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving two standard-contract spots open on the regular-season roster. Bennett will compete with Derrick Jones Jr., Elijah Millsap, Peter Jok and anyone else the Suns sign.

I don’t love Bennett’s odds. He hasn’t looked like an NBA player, and he’s reaching the age where current production matters more than potential. But by virtue of being the top pick a few years ago, he carries more intrigue than the typical player of his caliber.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey: Lottery-reform proposal ‘not doing a whole lot’

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Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supports the NBA’s lottery-reform proposal:

But that doesn’t mean Morey believes the proposal is a silver bullet.

Morey, via Bleacher Report:

Let’s be clear. This reform is not doing a whole lot, right?

And I keep saying: If it was already in place, no one would talk about it. If it wasn’t in place – all these people are talking about it because it’s coming up for probably a vote here in a minutes. Otherwise, no one would be talking about it. Everyone would be like, “Oh, yeah. Of course the bottom three lottery odds are flat. That’s how it’s always been.” It’s a very minor change, and it fixes some pretty important problems in terms of how the incentives work at the bottom of the draft, and I don’t think it changes much in any other way.

And then the best argument is the people who are frustrated the league is unbalanced between destination and non-destination cities, they say, “Because that whole system might be broken, I’m going to be against this minor, logical, simple reform.” I don’t really buy that. Let’s fix the other issues in another way, but you can still be for this reform and say we need larger reform that attacks those issues in a more fundamental way. But it doesn’t change that this is a good, logical step we’re taking.

Morey is aggressively logical, and you can see that at work here. If the new rule is better than the old rule, owners should vote for it. It shouldn’t matter which was already in place. For similar reasons, I argued against shelving lottery reform just because new national TV contracts would increase the salary cap.

Morey is also right that this is a minor reform. There’s still value in tanking, even if not quite as much. Finishing with the league’s worst record still guarantees a top-five pick with team control for five years and the inside track on keeping the player for far longer.

There’s even still value in jockeying among the league’s three worst teams, which will have identical lottery odds if this proposal passes. If a team isn’t drawn for the top four, it will be slotted in reverse order of record. The No. 1 seed in the lottery has a 20% greater chance than the No. 2 seed of picking higher between the two, and the No. 2 seed has a 20% greater chance than the No. 3  seed of picking higher between the two, according to fantastic Ryan Bernardoni of Celtics Hub.

So, this lottery reform might only minimally change behavior.

Another thing to consider: NBA owners are far more risk-averse than Morey. If this reform passes, owners will take years to evaluate it before making more meaningful changes to address the problem (if you believe there’s a problem at all). So, a step in the right direction (again, if you believe this is the right direction) is effectively a small step and a pause that could delay bigger steps.