It's now or never for Don Nelson's record

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NBA_nelson_250.jpgIn just five more wins, Don Nelson would become the NBA’s all-time winningest coach. An amazing accomplishment.

In just 12 more games, Don Nelson is sure to be fired.

Welcome to the Golden State version of Beat The Clock.

With the announcement that the Warriors are up for sale, it became almost inevitable that a house cleaning is coming this summer. The front office staff will be gone, and while Nelson has one more year at $6 million left on his deal, the new owner almost certainly will eat that cost in order to get a fresh new start.

If you want to piss Nelson off, ask him about passing Lenny Wilkens to become the NBA’s all-time winningest coach. He won’t discuss it and will shoot you this perturbed look. Trust us, we know.

But to be that close — to have 1,328 and need just 1,332 to tie — after having been an NBA coach since 1976, there is a part of him that wants this to happen. It’s human nature. And at age 70, he’s not getting another gig, this is it. (He has said he doesn’t want another one, either.)

So the clock is ticking. A dozen games remain, he needs to win five to take the record. That’s a lot for this young Warriors team with a lot of talent but a system that never really puts teams away, and a lack of concern about defense. But then, those are things instilled by the coach, so whatever happens just may be fitting.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.