Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

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What happened Wednesday, while you were asking “What’s That Song?“…

Bobcats 100 Thunder 92: Raymond Felton is probably better than you think he is. He’s been a huge part of the Bobcats’ success this year, and his ability to create chaos in the offensive set now that teams can’t collapse because of Stephen Jackson is letting him tear things up. He was a huge part of the run tonight, 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting, 7 assists and zero turnovers.

This was a rare loss that actually looks bad for the Thunder. The Bobcats played with payoff toughness, and the Thunder didn’t really know how to respond. They can execute when they need to, but if you rough them up a bit, their inexperience shows. Kevin Durant needed 26 shots for 26 points and got blocked five times.

Cavaliers 99 Pacers 95: This LeBron James taking over late thing has gotten out of control. The Pacers made a run on a coasting Cavs team, and so James scored 6 points, got 2 blocks and 2 assists in the final four minutes. That’s just absurd.

Roy HIbbert was mighty fine in this one, and he’s looking more and more like a great center for years to come. If he gets a good point guard to pair with this summer next year could be huge for him. Of course, Larry Bird will probably draft Jon Scheyer or something, but whatever.

Celtics 109, Knicks 97: Boston has maybe the tallest, longest front line in the NBA. The Knicks starting center is 6’9″ and is not a center in any real sense of the word. The Celtics are not a stupid team. They pounded the ball inside early and often, were up 13 after a quarter and the only reason this one was just a little close was the Celtics packed it in five minutes before the game ended.

The very wise Kelly Dwyer says the game is always teaching you. This game is the exception that proves the rule. Nothing much to take away from this one.

Sixers 108 Nets 97: The Net can’t beat the Sixers without Devin Harris. Obviously.

The Sixers won this battle behind Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday, but the Nets will win the war because they have legitimate hope for next year and the years after.

Raptors 106 Atlanta 105: Atlanta’s picked a bad time to go to pieces.

The Hawks have been coasting for too long and you can tell they’re bored, and they didn’t put the effort forward to stop the Raptors’ terrific offense. They took this game lightly, allowed the comeback, and let Chris Bosh bury them.

Andrea Bargnani had 11 rebounds, and the Raptors won. These two things are not unrelated.

Magic 110 Spurs 84:The Spurs stopped Dwight Howard. Got him frustrated, limited, invisible. That’s how you’re supposed to stop the Magic, right? 

And that’s why the Magic got Vince Carter. Carter was en fuego, and between that and the Magic’s defense this wasn’t much of a contest. The Spurs pulled within 10 in the third and you thought it would be tight. Then the Magic rattled off another run. Goodnight, San Antonio. Have a nice night.

Rockets 107 Grizzlies 94: The Grizzlies don’t play great defense to start with. If the other team is on fire, they don’t have the defensive personnel or know-how to make adjustments. The result? Aaron Brooks was 7-7 from the arc, finished with 31 points and all of a sudden the Rockets’ backcourt looks downright terrifying.

The Grizzlies’ playoff hopes aren’t technically dead, but this was the night they turned off the respirator.

Mavericks 113 Bulls 106: Yeah. Another night. Another Bulls team with almost none of its starters. Another loss to a good team. the Mavericks owned this. They knew they should win and decided tonight was a night they wouldn’t screw around.

Caron Butler is SCARY good on this team.

Jazz 122 Wolves 100: Good news, Wolves fans! You gave up 30 fewer points than you did against the Suns!

This team. Is. Terrible.

Clippers 101 Bucks 93: The Clippers used, get this, zone. And it positively boggled the Bucks. Couldn’t get penetration, couldn’t get open looks, couldn’t create any of the switches they depend on. Bizarre development that may cost them in the playoffs.

Drew Gooden had 16 and 11, and looks good on the Clippers. Which makes a lot of sense in some ways.

Warriors 131, Hornets 121: New Orleans just got beat by a D-League team. Seriously. Three D-League callups by the Hornets — Anthony Tolliver, Chris Hunter and Reggie Williams — combined for 69 points on the night. On 66 percent shooting and 8 of 14 from three. (More on this to come later.)

The trio (and sparked one of the biggest comebacks of the year — Golden State was down 21with 5:30 left in the third. The game should have been over. All they had to do was stick with the game plan that had been working — don’t turn the ball over and keep pounding it inside against the small Warrior front line. Apparently that is too much to ask. Meanwhile Golden State (without Stephen Curry) just got hot from the floor. The result was a damn entertaining, if not fundamentally sound, rare Warriors win.

As expected, Last Two-Minute report says DeMarcus Cousins didn’t foul Dwyane Wade

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It was an obviously wrong call. NBA officials get far, far more right than wrong over the course of a game — there are not better referees on the planet (watch FIBA ball someday) — but they are human, and they make mistakes. Sometimes pretty egregious ones. And that’s what happened at the end of the Kings/Bulls game.

And that’s what happened near the end of the Kings/Bulls game. Dwyane Wade went up for a layup/dunk he missed, but he landed a bit awkwardly and a referee apparently thought that was because DeMarcus Cousins touched him. The foul was called, even though Cousins did not foul Wade in the least.

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report agreed:

Cousins (SAC) has his hand on Wade’s (CHI) back while he is airborne, but he does not extend his arm and push him and the contact does not affect the shot attempt.

This was expected. Of course, that does not mean the teams will replay the end of the game, it just means the NBA admits there was a mistake. One that may have changed the outcome of the game. But that original outcome stands.

DeMarcus, how do you feel about that?

Dirk Nowitzki starts Mavericks toward 122-73 rout of Lakers

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Associated Press
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DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had something to prove on Sunday following two straight tough losses.

Coming off a three-point effort in an overtime loss on Friday, Nowitzki scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Dallas gave the Los Angeles Lakers the worst loss in their history, 122-73.

“We didn’t show up to play,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “It’s embarrassing for us as a team and for us as an organization. The effort just wasn’t there tonight, which I don’t understand.”

The 49-point defeat just edged Los Angeles’ two previous worst losses at 48 points, most recently 123-75 at Utah on March 28, 2016.

The Mavericks’ winning margin was the third-largest in their history.

It was Dallas’ 13th straight win over the Lakers, who have lost six of their last seven games overall.

After a season-best three-game winning streak, the Mavericks had blown a nine-point halftime lead at Miami on Thursday and lost to Utah on Friday.

Nowitzki was 1 for 13 against the Jazz, including a missed 3-pointer that would have tied the game in overtime.

“I looked sluggish the other night on that back-to-back,” Nowitzki said, “but took a day off yesterday, didn’t do anything. Felt a lot better today.”

The game was close for 10 minutes, with Dallas leading 23-22 before the Mavericks scored the next 15 points to blow it open. Nowitzki had seven points during the run. He played just 20 minutes.

Justin Anderson led seven Mavericks in double figures with a game-high 19 points in 16 minutes, his most playing time since Dec. 27.

The Mavericks led 67-33 at the half and never looked back. They both scored their most points and allowed the fewest in a half and a game this season. The 34-point halftime lead was the third-largest in franchise history.

The Lakers scored their fewest points in a quarter, a first half and a game.

“What’s deflating is that we didn’t guard anybody tonight,” Lakers forward Julius Randle said.

Lou Williams led the Lakers with 15 points.

Dallas’ Seth Curry scored 14 points, including seven straight in the first quarter.

Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams also had 13 points. Devin Harris and Pierre Jackson scored 10 each. Rookies Jackson and Nicolas Brussino (eight points) each reached career highs.

TIP-INS

Lakers: They played without D'Angelo Russell, second on the team at 14.3 points per game. An MRI taken Saturday showed a mildly sprained right MCL and strained right calf. That left the Lakers with rookie Brandon Ingram starting at point guard, and they had a season-low 10 assists. … Larry Nance Jr. (bone bruise, left knee) returned after missing 16 games and scored four points.

Mavericks: Dallas’ record winning margin was 123-70 win at home over the 76ers on Nov. 13, 2014. They beat the Knicks 128-78 in New York on Jan. 24, 2010. … J.J. Barea missed his 26th game this season because of a strained left calf aggravated on Friday. Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn’t expect Barea back until after the All-Star break (Feb. 24 at the earliest). Andrew Bogut (strained right hamstring) could return this week, according to Carlisle.

LENDING A HAND

Mavericks G Deron Williams moved into 20th place in NBA history with 6,715 assists, passing Kevin Johnson. Williams has had at least seven assists in seven straight games; on Sunday, he had eight, seven by halftime.

LONG-RANGE

Nowitzki tied J.R. Smith for 15th place in 3-point field goals by making one for a total of 1,729.

 

Celebrating anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game (VIDEO)

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Sorry to bring this up Raptors fans…

It was 11 years ago today (Sunday) that Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors in an eventual Lakers win. We thought it would be fun for everyone south of the border to take a walk down memory lane.

Remember, this was not just Kobe padding stats, the Lakers were on a two-game losing streak and were down 14 at the half to the Raptors. This was a Lakers team that started Kwame Brown and Smush Parker — I still say getting this team to the playoffs was one of Phil Jackson’s great coaching jobs — and the Lakers needed Kobe to step up and take over. So he did.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson each hit seven threes, Warriors pull away from Magic

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each hit seven 3-pointers and the Golden State Warriors won their seventh straight game, beating the Orlando Magic 118-98 on Sunday.

Tied at the half, the Warriors woke up from West Coast time in the second half to pull away. This was the first Eastern time zone noon tip for them since 1995, when they lost by 34 points in Orlando.

Curry went 7 for 13 on 3s and scored 27 points while Thompson as 7 for 9 from behind the arc and had 21 points. The Warriors shot 19 of 42 overall from 3-point range while the Magic went 7 for 28.

After trailing by 11 in the first half and committing a dozen turnovers, the Warriors went into the break even at 50. Curry hit four 3s and had 14 points in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored the Magic 42-24.

Kevin Durant added 15 points for the Warriors, Zaza Pachulia had 14 and JaVale McGee added 13.

Elfrid Payton led Orlando with 23 points. Nikola Vucevic, Jeff Green, C.J. Watson and Bismack Biyombo each had 12.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Lost at Orlando 132-98 on March 26, 1995, in their previous noon tip in the East. … Coach Steve Kerr decided to rest backup point guard Shaun Livingston.

Magic: D.J. Augustin sprained his right ankle during the second quarter and did not return to the game. … The Magic signed D-League affiliate Erie BayHawks forward Anthony Brown to a 10-day contract Sunday. Brown is averaging 21.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and one steal in 16 games with the BayHawks.