Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

1 Comment

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.

Report: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor to be shadowed by security guard now

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
1 Comment

In the run-up to the NBA Draft, there were no questions — at least publicly — about Jahlil Okafor‘s character. But of late there has been a run or incidents since then: He allegedly had a gun pulled on him outside a club in October; in November he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; then he had an altercation with a guy outside a club in Boston that the police in that city are now investigating.

Okafor publicly apologized for the incidents. Multiple times.

The Sixers are making sure a security guard follows Okafor around when he steps out now, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources.

The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.

Earlier in the day a source had wondered to John Gonzalez of why there wasn’t already security around the young core of the team when they went out.

Another front office member for another team questioned “why the Sixers won’t surround those guys with security.”

“Damn near every team does that,” the executive said, “especially with their top guys. I guess the Sixers know more than everyone else again.”

The Sixers head of security is supposed to be notified when players went out. Apparently that was not happening.

Okafor is 19, has money, and (at the very least) is putting himself in situations where bad things are more likely to occur.

We all made a lot of mistakes at that age, maybe not as potentially serious, but the bottom line is 19-year-olds don’t make good decisions. This is a Sixers team lacking in veteran leadership in the locker room, and while it’s debatable how much that would help in the wee small hours of the morning when Okafor seems to find trouble, it couldn’t hurt.

This is a smart move by Okafor’s friends/posse/handlers/whatever you call them. Get in his face now, tell him he can lose a fan base whether he’s scoring 17.5 points a game a night or not. Tell him to grow up. Then have someone around him to make sure he does the right thing (or those looking to draw him into trouble are kept away).

Watch Rasheed Wallace hit two simultaneous three pointers, one with with each hand

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Leave a comment

Ball don’t lie.

The ball has always loved Rasheed Wallace, and that hasn’t changed since he stopped playing in the NBA. Check out this shot, courtesy Brandon Jennings.

I love everything about this, including the fact Sheed’s wearing the same thing he wore around the NBA for years. I love that Wallace is still a trick shot master, just like always.

(Hat tip to Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Kobe Bryant went from DeMar DeRozan’s idol to his friend

Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan
1 Comment

TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan was 16 when he was invited to Kobe Bryant‘s camp for the top 25 American high school shooting guards.

A friendship grew between the youngster who would become an All-Star for the Toronto Raptors and the player who would become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

DeRozan talked at length Sunday night about Bryant, who announced on The Players’ Tribune that he’ll retire after the season, capping a 20-year NBA career.

“The knowledge that he tended to give me every time I got the chance to be around him, especially at a young age, carrying over to the league, it was definitely an honor,” DeRozan said after the Raptors’ 107-102 loss Sunday night to Phoenix. “I tried to listen as much as possible, soak in as much as I could all of the time. It’s crazy how much time flies.”

Bryant was DeRozan’s favorite player while growing up in Compton, Calif.

“I’ve tried to emulate and learn so much from him ever since I was a kid, watching every single game growing up in Los Angeles, having a chance to get with him and learn from him, from conversations even when I was in high school from playing against him, completing against him, being in big games with him,” said DeRozan, who scored 29 points in Sunday’s loss. “It’s definitely a sad, sad day, but he’s been in the game a long time.”

Bryant’s announcement came just before the Lakers’ game against the visiting Indiana Pacers. Fans at the game received a letter of thanks from the 37-year-old player in a black envelope embossed with gold.

Bryant has struggled mightily with injuries the past several years, and is shooting a career-worst 32 percent this season.

“It don’t matter. That man has five rings, 17 all-stars, MVP,” DeRozan said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done. It’s just father time catching up with him, injuries catching up with him this past year. People will appreciate it when he’s away from the game.”

DeRozan has his favorite Kobe memory – Bryant scoring 81 points against Toronto in 2006. DeRozan, who would join the Raptors as a rookie three years later, said he felt as if he was playing a video game watching the high-scoring spectacle unfold on TV.

DeRozan is in his seventh season with Toronto. He can’t imagine playing 20 years.

“Especially playing at a high level, doing the things he was doing … people don’t understand how hard that is,” DeRozan said. “Even now, a lot of us find ourselves tired (on) back-to-backs. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To do it 20 years at a high level, you have to give that man every credit in the world.”

Hornets’ Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with strained calf

Al Jefferson
Leave a comment

The Hornets have been playing well of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. They are solidly in the playoff picture out East, in the six slot right now.

This is not going to help matters.

The team announced that an MRI confirmed center Al Jefferson will be out two to three weeks with a strained left calf muscle, suffered during Charlotte’s 87-82 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Jefferson missing a few weeks due to injury at some point during the season is an annual event, like the Rose Parade or the Head of the Charles Regatta — but this year the Hornets are better prepared to deal with it. This is the deepest Charlotte team in recent memory.

Tyler Hansbrough, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky will get more run — plus Spencer Hawes may be back in the rotation — and if they can step up the Hornets will not slow down much.

This season the Hornets defense has been downright stingy when Jefferson is on the bench, giving up 94.2 points per 100 possessions (which is 10 better than when he is on the court). However, the Hornet offense and rebounding efforts are stronger when he plays.