Baseline to Baseline, the "you can't stop the Nets" edition

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What you missed around the NBA last night while wondering what it would be like to see Doc Rivers snap like that hockey coach

Mavericks 109, Nuggets: 93: Dallas won this one with their forwards. The obvious part of that is Dirk Nowitzki’s triple-double — 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. Usually Denver puts Kenyon Martin on Nowitzki and Martin gets physical with him. But Martin is still out (14 games now) with his knee injury, and while Denver tried a number of people and systems, but they had no answer for Dirk, who just had too much room to do whatever he wanted.

The other forward spot saw Shawn Marion shut down Carmelo Anthony. Yes, I know, it felt weird just to type that sentence. But it’s true. Marion used his length, Melo just seemed off and was just 3 of 16 from the floor. Without him — and with Chauncey Billups going 3 for 14 the Nuggets struggled to generate offense.

Another ego boost for a Mavericks team that thinks it has at least the Western Conference Finals in its future. They’ll have to do this four out of seven times, but they are starting to believe they can.

Raptors 103, Bobcats 101: Stop just for a second and think about the big picture — if you had before the season offered Toronto and Charlotte the chance to be playing a game in late March with serious playoff implications, they would have jumped at it. Jumped without looking. This is a step forward.

As for the game… The Bobcats stake their claim with defense. And it was not good in this one — gave up 115.7 points per 100 possessions, well above their 102.3 season average. If they get to the playoffs, they can’t do that, because their offense isn’t going to bail them out of anything.

Don’t believe me, think about the last play of the game — down two and a chance to tie, With 6 second Raymond Felton starts a drive to the lane and draws three-fifths of the Toronto defense, including Chris Bosh just looking to get a game-saving block. Tyson Chandler goes in to crash the boards, and the other three Bobcats do a poor job of spacing the arc — they are all on the left side within 15 feet of each other, allowing two Raptors defenders to cut off all three. Felton realizes he has no shot so he throws a pass hard and low that Chandler was not expecting and couldn’t have handled anyway. Out of bounds. Ballgame.

Hornets 108, Lakers 100: Lakers fans, you should be a little nervous. Not as nervous as many of you are, but nervous. Because — as Darius of Forum Blue & Gold asked — when was the last time you saw the Lakers put a complete game together? This team has flaws (questionable guard play, spotty outside shooting, not running the triangle smoothly) that it can overcome with focused play But how often do you get that consistently? They are bored, but last year they had some games that made you fear them. This year they have a half here, a quarter there. But not a game.

Great win, great hustle and effort from the Hornets. They stood up to Lakers runs and held their ground. They can do that with Chris Paul back.

Nets 90, Spurs 84: It’s not the big things with the Spurs that look bad. It’s not the injuries to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. It’s the execution that is off, something that used to be there players 1 to 12. From little things like not calling out back screens to the miscommunication that caused Tim Duncan to throw the ball out of bounds with the game on the line, the little things are right. The Spurs used to be the kings of the little things. Now they are not, and that is a bigger problem then the Big Three getting older.

Jazz 103, Knicks 98: Toney Douglas is a nice young rookie point guard, has had some good games and could develop into a quality player in the league. But he is getting an education — two nights ago it was Steve Nash and tonight it Deron Williams.

Aside that, all the Jazz did tonight was improve their playoff position and their lottery position all in one win. (Remember, they have the Knicks first round pick this year — Isiah Thomas, the gift that keeps on giving.)

Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor said he’s “embarrassed,” called actions “dumb”

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Sixers’ big man Jahlil Okafor isn’t going to face serious repercussions for getting involved in a fight outside a Boston nightclub on Wednesday. The police are not investigating, the team is not suspending him (he is playing Friday night against Houston) and the Sixers are supporting him.

But Okafor admits he should have walked away, and his actions were “dumb” and “embarrassing.” Here is the money quote (the full video interview is above):

“It was definitely dumb on my part. It’s something that I am embarrassed about, (we’re) still dealing with the league and the team. But I’m not happy about it at all.”

Of course, this has led to renewed criticism of people around the league who are not fans of GM Sam Hinkie’s pushing the “be bad to get good” boundaries to new levels. Like it or not, that system can work, and depending on how the next draft unfolds, the future of Joel Embiid, and when Dario Saric comes over, there could be some very nice young building blocks — some real franchise cornerstones — in Philly in a couple of years. The plan can work if Hinkie nails the draft.

But one criticism of their plan does ring true to me — a couple louder, veteran voices in the locker room could help the maturation process. Would it have kept Okafor from doing something stupid with a heckler in front of a club? Likely not. But it would speed up the learning process, it would instill professionalism rather than the more chaotic system now. Michael Lee summed it up well at Yahoo.

The 76ers haven’t had a player older than 25 step on the court this season…. Carl Landry is the team’s oldest player at 32 but he has yet to make his season debut, putting too much pressure on Brett Brown and his coaching staff to teach the kids what it takes to be professional.

Philadelphia hasn’t hidden its desire to lose big now to win big later, but it shouldn’t just view veterans as salary-cap holds or a means to acquire more second-round picks. The Minnesota Timberwolves finished with the league’s worst record last season but invested in expediting the development of No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns, reigning Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins and fellow first-round pick Zach LaVine by bringing in aging vets Kevin Garnett, Tayshaun Prince and Andre Miller to help serve as examples on and off the court….

Through his one notable misstep thus far, Okafor might inspire the necessary change in Philadelphia. Having seasoned players around won’t prevent kids from making mistakes altogether, but the TMZ video should serve as a reminder that the long-term development of the 76ers might be enhanced if a chaperone or two were around to help the youngsters deal with getting their heads beat in.

Boston police say no investigation planned into Jahlil Okafor fight


BOSTON (AP) — Boston police say they do not plan to investigate an apparent nightclub scuffle involving Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor unless someone involved comes forward to say they were the victim of a crime.

Officer James Kenneally said Friday that police responded to reports of a fight outside the nightclub hours after the winless Sixers lost to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. But Kenneally says the participants were gone by the time officers arrived and nobody was arrested or charged.

TMZ posted cellphone video of the altercation on Thursday, showing Okafor yelling and later shoving a man. The website reports that the confrontation started when someone taunted the 76ers. Philadelphia has 16 losses and is the only team in the NBA without a win.

An agent for the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft did not immediately return a message Friday seeking comment. The 76ers declined comment.

Philadelphia plays at Houston on Friday night.

Jason Kidd suspended one game for slapping ball away from ref


Mike Budenholzer – to the dismay of someavoided suspension for making contact with a referee.

Jason Kidd sure wasn’t.


NBA release:

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been suspended one game without pay for aggressively pursuing and confronting a game official, slapping the ball out of his hands, and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Kidd was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of Milwaukee’s 129-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Kidd will serve his suspension tonight when the Bucks play the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.

One game is a standard suspension for bumping an official, and it’s probably what Kidd deserved (what Budenholzer deserved, too, for what it’s worth).

But slapping the ball from a ref’s hands looks so much worse than a standard bump. Kidd should feel fortunate the NBA suspended him on the merit of the action rather than perception of it.

Steve Kerr: Luke Walton not being credited with W-L record ‘the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard’

Luke Walton

The Warriors have surged to a 16-0 start with interim coach Luke Walton, as Steve Kerr is out after a bad reaction to his offseason back surgery.

Walton’s coaching record: 0-0.

Per NBA policy, the 16 wins are credited to Kerr.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN:

Kerr and Walton are engaged in a brutal war of deferential humility. To hear Walton tell it, he’s just a functionary, carrying out Kerr’s well-laid plans. To hear Kerr tell it, Walton deserves all the credit.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Kerr told when asked about getting all of Walton’s wins. “I’m sitting in the locker room and watching the games on TV, and I’m not even traveling to most of the road games. Luke’s doing all the work with the rest of the staff. Luke is 15-0 right now. I’m not. So it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, to be honest with you. I don’t even understand it.”

Walton expresses no angst over being winless, saying of Kerr, “Steve’s done a lot for me. It’s the least I can do to add a couple wins on his total for him with all he’s done for me.”

This is purely an academic argument. It doesn’t really matter which coach gets the wins.

But we care about records in sports, so it is important to get this right. Personally, I think Walton should get credit. He’s the head coach for these games.

The biggest counterargument is that Kerr is still involved, which is true. But he’s involved on a level more in line with an assistant. Several people are involved in a team’s coaching for every game. Only the head coach gets the win or loss on his record.

The Warriors have designated Walton their head coach. He should get the wins.

The biggest hindrance in changing the policy is probably retroactively altering other coaches’ records. Specifically, Don Nelson is the all-time wins leader with just three more than Lenny Wilkins. But the Mavericks went 10-4 in 2004-05 while coached by Avery Johnson as Nelson attended to health issues, both his own and his wife’s. Nelson stepped down for good later in the season, and Johnson’s 16-2 finish goes to Johnson. But Johnson’s first 14 games as acting head coach are credited to Nelson. Does the NBA want to revoke Nelson’s wins record over this?

So, this issue is bigger than the Warriors.

For them, the key facts much simpler. An undefeated team has two people fighting to credit the other for its success.

Whomever officially gets the wins, this is a healthy organization.