Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

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What happened to Sunday while you were filling out your brackets completely for fun with absolutely no wagers involved…

Cavs 104 Celtics 93: We already told you about the Celtics getting run around a bit, but I wanted to follow up with Antawn Jamison. Jamison finished with 15 points on 6 of 17 shooting which is terrible. But the number of looks he got at the rim which touched inside-iron and then rimmed or clanged out was pretty high. Those are shots he’s going to make in April and May, along with at least half of those six missed free throws.

Jamison tossed in 12 rebounds to boot part of a 51-43 advantage for the Cavs. He may not be showcasing the highlights, but he’s filling in the holes quite nicely.

Bucks 98 Pacers 94: Not televised, which is a shame since it sounds like it was fun. Plus, it was the one game a year where Solomon Jones is an actual storyline. Luke Ridnour had a good game, Solomon Jones led a comeback that failed.

Bobcasts 96 Magic 89: Throw Dwight Howard into the illustrious group of teams that refuse to admit the Bobcats shut ’em down. The Bobcats’ doubled hard and have the athletes to run off the three. No doubt the Magic had an off shooting night, but if there is a formula for beating the Magic, that’s it.

Doubling Howard forces him to make adjustments he’s not comfortable with and the Magic feast on the kick out and second rotation. But you have to run out effectively.

I’d love to give you some sort of insight on how Stephen Jackson dropped 28 on them but honestly it boggles the mind.

Heat 104 Sixers 91: Just so we can get this out there.

The Sixers lost to a Heat team without Michael Beasley (injury) and Jermaine O’Neal (ejection) and Dwyane Wade didn’t have to play in the fourth.

That my friends is a one-page recipe for Suck.

Jamal Magliore has flashes every now and again where he looks legit, like today in limited minutes. Go ahead and pencil in the Sixers for the best available point guard in the draft. Carlos Arroyo had 12 assists for crying out loud.

Thunder 119 Jazz 111: The Jazz for some reason did not play Kyle Korver much in their loss to the Bucks even though they needed a perimeter scorer to spread the floor. Then tonight they let him try and guard Kevin Durant for a bit.

Kyle Korver was then dragged to hell.

Westbrook and Durant scored 65 points on 33 shots. Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams brought it, but the Jazz lost in the paint which is insane because that’s where they should dominate. Serge Ibaka had 0 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes, but of course there is no box score stat for “punking Carlos Boozer like a madman.”

Suns 120 Hornets 106: Amar’e Stoudemire is back, ladies and gentlemen. THAT Amar’e.

Stat has topped 30 points in four of the last five games and the one he didn’t he had 29. There was very little the Hornets could do in this one. It wasn’t even the usual Nash pick and roll slice and dice either. Stoudemire took whoever was defending off the dribble, got it in transition did the whole thing. A dominant Stoudemire is something for playoff teams to fear.

Blazers 109 Raptors 98: This was a Rudy Fernandez game. He dazzled in limited minutes the type of game that makes you wonder if he shouldn’t have more time on the floor. He lit up from the arc and made a big show with some dazzling assists.

The Raptors? I don’t want to say it again. Don’t make me say it again. There’s got to be a different way to say this.

Nope. Raptors can’t guard anyone. Or anything.

Kings 114 Wolves 100: Tyreke Evans had 29 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds.

Man if only the Wolves had gotten the #2 overall pick. Or hadn’t selected a point guard that prefers Spanish beaches and mild winters.

Frustrated Kyrie Irving on another ring: “And I want more. I’m going to go take it.”

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Since the All-Star break, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not looked like a championship team. They have been in a malaise going 8-10 with the second-worst defense in the NBA during that stretch. The Cavs like a team that is just waiting for the games to have meaning again in the playoffs. It makes one tempted to say this will come back to bite them in the postseason, but which team in the East is going to beat them?

The Cavaliers players are frustrated with their play of late, too.  Kyrie Irving vented about it after practice, as reported by Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Obviously it was just a frustrating game and there have been a few frustrating games for all of us,” Irving said. “Just getting back to what we do, having fun with one another and being truthful with one another — we’ll be good…

And then Irving said: “You can’t rely on just thinking that one championship is enough. It’s natural for human beings to just get comfortable. To rely on just having won a championship. But if you a (competitor) you want two, you want three, you want four. And if you dedicate yourself more like you say you do, then you want more. And I want more. I’m going to go take it.”

Injuries have had key players, most recently Kevin Love and J.R. Smith out of the rotation of late, and working them back in has not gone smoothly. Still, this is the same core from the team that won the title last season, it shouldn’t be that difficult to get back into a groove.

Cleveland is acting like a team that thinks it can flip the switch.

Maybe they can, but there are some powerful teams out West who seemed to have flipped theirs long ago.

 

Rumor: Bulls ready to move on from Jimmy Butler this summer

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Predicting what the Chicago Bulls front office will do this summer is a game of roulette — the ball can land anywhere and it wouldn’t be a surprise. Is Dwyane Wade coming back? Is Nikola Mirotic part of the future? Fred Hoiberg? What kind of team are the Bulls trying to build, anyway?

Then there is the biggest one: Is Jimmy Butler still part of the long-term plan? Or is he going to be moved to facilitate a rebuilding process?

Last summer when the Bulls had the chance to trade him, they kept Butler to build around him… then made some interesting choices in trying to do that. They didn’t get enough shooting, players didn’t fit well, and others didn’t develop, and the Bulls are struggling to even make the postseason.

So what do the Bulls do this summer? One exec told Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that the Bulls were going to move Butler.

Paul George and Jimmy Butler were involved in trade rumors at the deadline, and all indications are that those conversations will resume this offseason. One front-office source told me recently that Butler is “as good as gone,” while George sounds like a player who wants out.”

Paul George wanting to contend (or if not, be in Los Angeles) is not news, but whether the Pacers decide to be serious about trading him this summer depends on a number of factors that we’re not going to get into here. This article is about Butler.

Do the Bulls want to trade Butler? Some in the front office do, some don’t. There were reports the Bulls wanted an All-Star level player for him so the team did not take a step back, but nobody was giving that up. Everyone in Chicago from ownership through management is not on the same page, which helps explain some of the stop-gap team building moves by the team. Chicago needs to decide if it wants to go for the full rebuild, which is what happens if they trade Butler. The playoffs are out of the questions for a few years if they do, but that’s not a bad thing if they draft well and commit to the plan. However, there is a sense that ownership thinks “this is Chicago, we don’t rebuild.”

All of which is to say, if the Bulls trade Butler it’s not a huge surprise. If they keep him, it’s not a huge surprise. But other teams — hello Boston — may be prepping for him to come back on the trade market around the draft.

PBT Podcast: Future of Isaiah Thomas, Ricky Rubio, also award talk with Dan Feldman

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We asked for your questions on Twitter and Facebook, and you gave myself and Dan Feldman got some fascinating discussion points:

If the Celtics land a top two pick, what does that mean for the future of Isaiah Thomas in Boston?

Is Ricky Rubio‘s run of strong play mean he remains the point guard of the future in Minnesota?

How good is Devin Booker?

We discuss all of that plus the NBA end of season awards that we are still looking at and trying to make up our minds about.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (just click the button under the podcast), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Rumor: Dell Demps out, Joe Dumars in with Pelicans?

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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is on shaky ground.

What about New Orleans general manager Dell Demps?

A long-swirling rumor is getting renewed.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

A few league sources peg the New Orleans Pelicans as a team that is going to make sweeping changes once their season ends in eight games.

The Pelicans have long been rumored to be the next stop for former Piston’s executive Joe Dumars, who is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and has close ties to the ownership and leadership of the Pelicans and Saints organization.

League sources said recently that Dumars has been active in the NBA front office circles, scouting players and reconnecting to the process.

Demps has done a lousy job building a supporting cast around Davis. Part of the reason trading for the risky DeMarcus Cousins made so much sense: The Pelicans were so underwhelming, they wouldn’t be much worse off if Cousins destroyed their culture and/or bolted in 2018 free agency.

But it’s not too late to salvage Davis’ tenure in New Orleans. He’s locked up for three more seasons, and Cousins is an extremely talented No. 2.

Is Dumars the right man to bring it all together?

He masterfully built the Pistons into the 2004 NBA champions. He also played an integral role in the team’s downfall.

Another factor: There appears to be a mutual respect between Cousins and Dumars, who coveted the big man since he was coming out of Kentucky. That could help the Pelicans re-sign Cousins in 2018.

Dumars’ success should get him general-manager job interviews, but his more-recent failings demand tough questions. I’m unconvinced the Pelicans are scrutinizing Dumars enough, and they’d probably benefit from a more-thorough search.

But Dumars might be a fine hire. Dumping Demps would at least be step in the right direction.