Baseline to Baseline, where Durant and Deron go off

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What you missed while wondering if anyone is ever going to beat UConn…

Jazz 140, Thunder 139 (OT): Hate to see one bad call mar one of the best games of the season. Durant vs. Deron. KD with 45, D-Will with 42. Neither team could stop the other late — the Jazz push Durant into a 30 footer, doesn’t matter he drains it. Jeff Green is nailing big threes. Carlos Boozer is throwing down dunks.

Jazz get the win, but you guys blew a 13 point lead with 4:33 to play and got just careless with the ball. You got sloppy. You still got the win, but that is not how a good playoff team closes things out.

Thunder fans blaming the refs for the loss — your team had 53 minutes to score one more point and it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe getting C.J. Miles not to shoot so much would be the place to start.

Cavaliers 113, Raptors 101: Toronto was going to be hard pressed to win this one with Chris Bosh, let alone without him. The other thing of note is that when you put the very good Cleveland offense against the horrid Toronto defense, you get a lot highlight plays. Worth checking out for that alone.

Pistons 124, Sixers 103: Charlie Villanueva, when motivated and focused, is a good player. Monday at practice the Pistons were going at each other and CV31 was in the middle of it. Tuesday, after missing the team flight and having to catch up with them on a commercial flight, Villanueva was focused and dropped 25 on 8 of 11 shooting.  Detroit looked pretty good for a night.

Bobcats 109, Hawks 100: Charlotte was up 20 after one in this one. Atlanta was without Joe Johnson. For a change the Bobcats were the aggressors, going to the line 32 times to the Hawks 13. Atlanta, these nights happen. Just throw it all away and move on.

Wizards 112, Warriors 94: Sorry Nellie, not this time. The book to beating your team remains the same, the Wizards just executed it — pound the ball inside. JaVale McGee had a double double in the first half (15 points, 11 rebounds) and finished with 25 and 15. Because the Warriors have nobody who could stop him inside. That is how you beat the Warriors. Not exactly rocket science.

Knicks 104, Celtics 101: Nothing really went right for the Celtics, even Nate Robinson didn’t get much of a reaction from the NYC fans. Danilo Gallinari went off for 31. The Celtics have problems, my friends.

Bucks 79, Bulls 74: I could swear I saw Brad Miller outrun everyone, get a long lead pass and lay it in on the fast break. I must fallen asleep during this one because that couldn’t have happened.

The Bucks are a Scott Skiles coached team. You Bulls fans may remember him. His teams play hard-nosed defense. No Bogut, Kurt Thomas is the starting center and still the Bulls just average 85 points per 100 possessions. That is a team buying into the system. Bulls fans may remember that, too.

Rockets 113, Grizzlies 103: The Rockets just have the Grizzlies number — they sweep the season series and every game was a double-digit win. They shouldn’t be that much better, but the Rockets quickness with Brooks just drives Memphis batty.

Spurs 95, Kings 86: Tony Parker looked a little rusty in his return. Tyreke Evans looked good as always. Manu Ginobili remains unconscious. Not a terribly exciting game otherwise.

Paul shakes off awful start, leads Clippers past Heat 100-93

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) drives to the basket past Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) and forward Amare Stoudemire, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) — Chris Paul had the worst possible start to his shooting day.

His finish, however, was perfect.

Paul’s consecutive 3-pointers in the final minutes were daggers to a Miami comeback, and his game-high 22 points helped the Los Angeles Clippers hang on to beat the Heat 100-93 on Sunday.

“I kept shooting it,” Paul said, “because sooner or later it had to go in.”

J.J. Redick scored 14 points, Wesley Johnson had 10 and DeAndre Jordan and Cole Aldrich grabbed 11 rebounds each for the Clippers, who won despite a 1-for-15 start from the field and swept the two-game season series with Miami.

“That was a team win because nobody really had it going,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “But our defense really had it going all game.”

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic all scored 17 points for Miami. Luol Deng added 15 points for the Heat, and Hassan Whiteside finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

“They did to us what we’ve been doing the last few games, just grinding an opponent,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what they did to us, then made the bigger plays down the stretch.”

Paul was 0 for 7 in the opening period, the worst one-quarter shooting performance of his NBA career, and was 0 for 9 before he finally got a shot to fall. But his 3-pointers in the fourth snuffed out a Miami rally, and his lob that set up Jordan for a dunk was the clincher for the Clippers – who, after that horrid start, shot 55 percent the rest of the way.

Redick made a layup on the game’s first possession and the Clippers proceeded to misfire on their next 14 shots, but recovered to win for the 11th time in their last 13 road games, most of that with Blake Griffin sidelined by injuries.

“We’re just trying to hold it down until our big fella comes back,” Paul said.

Miami went to the oft-used strategy of intentionally fouling Jordan in the third quarter to slow the Clippers’ offense. And while it worked to a point – Jordan went 3 for 10 from the free throw line in the quarter – Miami couldn’t score. The Heat were 4 for 20 in the third, got down by as many as 11 and never led again.

“They made big plays down the stretch,” Wade said. “That’s the way we’ve been winning of late, so we can’t be mad at that. We got a little taste of our own medicine.”

TIP-INS

Clippers: G Austin Rivers will miss four to six weeks with a broken left hand. For now, the Clippers aren’t planning on making any roster changes to add depth. “We may have to make a decision but we’re just going to try to ride it out,” Doc Rivers said. … Paul has faced the Heat 19 times, and his teams are 13-6 in those games.

Heat: Whiteside took his first charge of the season. … Wade’s first point of the day gave him outright possession of 41st place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He came into the game tied with John Stockton at 19,711 points. … Deng has scored at least 15 points in five of his last six games.

 

SUPER SATELLITE

The Clippers were using a different plane than usual for their postgame flight from Miami to Philadelphia, for Super Bowl 50 reasons. They changed planes in order to have satellite television access so they wouldn’t miss any of the Carolina-Denver game.

“It’s really nice of the NBA to have us play today and then travel during the Super Bowl,” Doc Rivers said. “Just really a great move. But at least we get to watch it.”

 

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.