Thunder, Trail Blazers get most wins per dollar

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It’s a fun game for we fans to play this time of year — what team is getting the most wins per dollar spent? We think its fun; team owners call it running a business.

Ian Thomsen as Sports Illustrated broke out the numbers, and found that good young teams are more efficient than bad old ones. The top five:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder, $1.12 million per win
2. Portland Trail Blazers, $1.16 million per win
3. Atlanta Hawks, $1.23 million per win
4. Memphis Grizzlies, $1.33 million per win
5. Cleveland Cavaliers, $1.33 million per win

The top four teams on that list are the top four young, up-and-coming teams in the NBA (well, the Hawks have already arrived). Those four teams, particularly Oklahoma City, has a lot of very good young players on rookie contracts, which makes winning affordable. But in a few years those teams will have to make substantive investments, and in smaller markets it could be tough to keep all the players.

Cleveland comes in fifth, despite the second highest payroll in the league, because they win a lot.

So how about the bottom four:

1. New Jersey Nets, $6.01 million per win
2. Minnesota Timberwolves $4.19 million per win
3. Washington Wizards, $2.85 million per win
4. New York Knicks, $2.82 million

Someday, the Knicks are going to get off this list. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but Donnie Walsh is trying to shed salary and get some new players in. They can’t keep being this bad forever. Can they?

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)