Lakers will spend offseason on a point guard hunt

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Today, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kuptchak will enjoy the love of the fans during a championship parade.

Tomorrow he will come back to a desk with a few things on it. Like maybe six new players to find for the roster.

Starting with finding a point guard. Sort of.

All the key components of this title will be back for the next few years — Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom all have long-term deals. Bynum’s name comes up in some trade rumors (Chris Bosh, for example) but those are not likely. The Lakers have $71 million on the books for next year they are not going to be taking on more big contracts.

But they need to do something at point guard. While Derek Fisher came up big in the playoffs, as he always seems to, during the regular season he was a liability to the team on the court. His defense is sub par. He shot 38 percent last year and had a PER of 9.3. He’s really a backup point whose minutes should be kept down until the playoffs. The Lakers want him back, he wants to come back, but he’ll take a pay cut from the $5 million he made this year.

But this past year neither Jordan Farmar nor Shannon Brown stepped up. Farmar’s game is better suited to a more free-flowing style and he is a free agent — he is gone. Farmar has been frustrated trying to fit his game into the triangle, the Lakers have been frustrated because Farmar doesn’t do enough to fit his game into the triangle. This divorce has been a long-time coming.

Shannon Brown could return, but he is going to opt out of the $2.1 million he is due next year and test the market. The Lakers don’t want to pay a ton more than that, but another team might.

What the Lakers need is a point who can knock down open shots and defend. At a good price. Look for them to make a run at guys like Steve Blake or maybe even Eddie House. But they need someone to take 25 minutes a night or more at the point.

The Lakers actually may have as many as six new players on the back end of the roster. Guys like Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga may be gone, replaced by young, inexpensive options. Or maybe a veteran big wanting a ring and willing to play cheap (Kurt Thomas, anyone? Maybe Tim Thomas? Any other Thomases?).

The Lakers have a lot of decisions to make. Tomorrow.

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.)