Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

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What happened while you were partying/rioting about health care reform…

Hawks 119 Spurs 114: This was a classic. Two teams that had answers for every big shot the other one hit.

Al Horford was considered a strange All-Star pick but he looked like it in this game. Monster plays down the stretch including a massive block on Ginobili and several key putbacks. The guy has a sense for big games and is a magnet for the basketball.

The Spurs can’t feel too badly about this one, though. Duncan was back to doing his thing, including a shot off the glass that I’m fairly certain was in direct violation of physics.

But when Ginobili scores 38 and Duncan scores 29 and your team loses, that’s probably not a good thing either.

Rockets 116 Knicks 112: So much for revenge of the T-Mac. In shocking news, dynamic small guards (Kevin Martin) can slice up a D’Antoni defense (Knicks) like swiss cheese.

But if you’re looking for a revenge story? How about Jordan Hill, who put in big minutes down the stretch for the Rockets to help them get a win after being buried in New York for the first four months of the year. Hill’s the perfect type of player for the Rockets and another facet of the steal Morey pulled off.

If Aaron Brooks was just a little more efficient he’d be in discussion as a top NBA point guard.

Pacers 121 Thunder 101: Didn’t see this coming. The Thunder looked like a bunch of 21 year-olds who had to wake up earlier than usual on a Sunday morning to play basketball in Indiana. They also looked like they sucked.

The Pacers, on the other hand, played like this was their superbowl. Earl Watson nailed a pull-up 35 foot three. I haven’t seen a shot like that since… ten minutes earlier when I saw about five of those attempts in one of the NCAA games (none connected). Roy Hibbert has become a legit player, it’ll be tense seeing if he turns into a top-level center.

Kings 102 Clippers 89: It’s March! College kids are living out the brief highlights of their entire existence, flowers are blooming, and the Clippers are completely mailing in their games. Time marches on.

Cavs 104 Pistons 79: You convince yourself that Detroit still has some muscle, until games like this. The Cavs manhandled them inside. Leon Powe had 16 points and 7 rebounds. That’s a bad sign. The Cavs’ offense wasn’t even that good in this game. They just completely shut down every angle, attempt, and set the Pistons tried to deploy.

Ben Gordon’s season from hell continues.

Lakers 99, Wizards 92: Kobe outscored the Wizards 20-15 in the second quarter, and that pretty much decided this one. Even by his own standards it was a good night for Kobe. When his long jumper is falling — he was four of seven from three-point land and hit some long twos for good measure — he is impossible to guard. Of course, the Lakers, up 28 early in the third, get bored and the Wizards closed hard to make this one seem closer than it was, but it was never in doubt. That’s 11 losses in a row for Washington.

Suns 93, Trail Blazers 87: You would have thought this would have been one of the more entertaining games of the day. Man, would you have been wrong. The Blazers did what they wanted, slowing the pace way down (90%), barely turning the ball over (4 times) and holding the Suns to 38 percent shooting. But they shot just 36 percent themselves, and that was not enough. Nor was it fun to watch.

Salah Mejri kicks at Patty Mills as Mavericks and Spurs leave court for halftime (video)

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Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.

Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.

In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension

Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:

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That’ll probably draw a fine.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.