Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps

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What happened Saturday while you were setting fire to the urn containing the ashes of your bracket you already burned…

Jazz 103 Wizards 87: The Jazz were everywhere defensively in the second and third quarters. Stretch and swarm, repeat. Against a pretty bad offensive squad. The Wizards did make a nice run in the late second to close the half behind Nick Young, but then the Jazz came out with focus and put the foot on the neck.

Paul Millsap is not playing well at the moment.

Bulls 106 Nets 83: Thanks for getting my back, there, Nets. ‘Preciate that.

Back to back for the worst team in the league against a team trying to get itself back on track and make the playoffs, with Noah feeling spritely? That’s a recipe for disaster if there ever was one. No legs for the Nets at either end and once the Bulls got their legs under them, that was all she wrote.

Taj Gibson is either the best worst player or worst best player that starts in the NBA.

Blazers 112 Hornets 101: For all the talk about the Hornets’ effort this season, they still have their fair share of games like this. Of course, this game was an elimination from the playoffs game for them. So it would have been good timing to show up. They did not.

Brandon Roy was blistering, efficient, and dominant.

Darren Collison was 10-10 for 22 points and 5 assists. He’s totally fine with coming off the bench. But maybe he shouldn’t be.

Lakers 109 Rockets 101: The problem is you can lead the Lakers at the half, make significant strides, get huge runs on them, but once they figure you out, that’s game, baby.

They figured the Rox out in the second quarter and broke it open.

The Rockets’ defense has been disappointing as the season’s gone on, and a far cry from Adelman’s usual work.  They couldn’t bother the Lakers for long stretches.

Mavericks 11 Warriors 90: This Beaubois kid’s got a future. 40 points for Roddy off the bench, letting Kidd get some rest. Not a brilliant game for the Mavericks, but it didn’t need to be. This team doesn’t have the same matchup problems their predecessors did with the Dubs.

Anthony Tolliver had 21 rebounds, which is pretty awesome.

LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers passes while under pressure from Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Tyronn Lue said Cavaliers-Warriors could eventually match Celtics-Lakers as a rivalry.

First, if you ask LeBron James, Cleveland-Golden State would have to become a rivalry at all.

LeBron, via Joe Vardon Cleveland.com:

“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”

“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”

Of course, Cavaliers-Warriors is a rivalry. These teams have met in the last two NBA Finals, played each other with relentless intensity, talked plenty of trash and remained elite.

LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.

Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)

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Andre Drummond is really good at these deep heaves.

His 3-point percentage (44%) is even better than his free-throw percentage (38%) the last two years, though that says too much about his work from the line.

Drummond wasn’t the only Pistons player converting to end quarters. Ish Smith and Tobias Harris also stepped up in the Pistons’ 102-97 win over the Lakers:

NBA: Suns got away with offensive foul before key points in win over Spurs

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker acknowledges a foul as San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker lies crumpled on the floor, in the second half of their regular-season NBA basketball game in Mexico City, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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Devin Booker scored 39 points in the Suns’ 108-105 win over the Spurs on Saturday in Mexico City.

But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:

Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.

That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.

The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.

Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to  the league:

Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.

But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.

Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.

Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)

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Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.

The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.

It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.