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Baseline to Baseline (your game recaps): Where the Celtics tried to give one away, but couldn’t

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Denver giving the improved Dallas defense their first real test was the Game of the Night.

Celtics 105, Bucks 102 (OT): Boston got lucky. They were up 6 with 1:22 to play. Boston closes that out. Ray Allen doesn’t miss free throws in the clutch. But tonight they did. And Boston escaped with a win.

One play of note: The Celtics key defensive stop with 30 seconds to go in overtime was vintage Boston. It’s how they’ve won for years. Ray Allen didn’t pressure Carlos Delfino getting the ball on the wing and coming a little late gladly gave up the baseline, guided him that way. Because Kevin Garnett is already there in help position — Boston brings the help earl and pushes you to it. Allen and Garnett took away the pass back to Bogut (Garnett’s man) and left Delfino with few options. He still choose poorly, leaping under the basket and then throwing a pass Paul Pierce easily intercepted.

Delfino made more bad choices, throwing a pass that was picked for the final play of the game, but he did drain a key three.

The Bucks are 1-4, they are really struggling on offense. Didn’t expect that.

Hawks 94, Pistons 85: There are serious problems in Detroit. And not in the “they were 10-21 on shots at the rim and if you can’t finish 50 percent of your shots at the rim you will lose” kind of way. Although that was true Wednesday. But more in the Rodney Stuckey and coach John Kuester had something going on and Stuckey played just 2:56 the second half kind of way. The day after Tayshaun Prince fired back at the coach. Serious problems.

By the way, Atlanta won because it shot better, got to the line more, was more aggressive and just plain better.

Sixers 101, Pacers 75: The Pacers were just off. One of those nights. Danny Granger started out the game 1-8 with all of his shots 13 feet or farther out, on the night only two of his 14 shots came inside of 10 feet. Which was part of the problem — not getting to the rim. Winless Philadelphia played with a sense of desperation.

Magic 128, Timberwolves 86: Minnesota made one bucket in the final six minutes of the first quarter as Orlando went on a 33-8 run and were up 19 after one. Then it got uglier and uglier.

Hornets 107, Rockets 99: New Orleans shot 42 free throws, Houston 14. That speaks to being aggressive, that speaks to getting the ball inside and working inside out, that speaks to playing smart defense and not fouling. Chris Paul took this over in the fourth, scoring 14. Also, Emeka Okafor is playing really good defense, I thought you should know.

Jazz 125, Raptors 108: The Jazz won this one by getting points inside, in the paint, and knowing the Raptors couldn’t stop them. Al Jefferson had 27, Paul Milsap 21 and combined they shot 61 percent. The Raptors can be a good confidence boost for teams that way.

Spurs 112, Suns 110: Richard Jefferson has developed a corner three. You need to fear that rest of the league. Jefferson put up 18 in the fourth to power the Spurs win.

Lakers 112, Kings 100: The Lakers defense has not been that great this season. It wasn’t very good against the Kings. But LA cruises to another win because of their offense. Kobe leads the way with a triple double.

The Kings made a little late push when the Lakers stopped running the triangle offense and went with the Orlando offense for some reason — throw it into the post and wait for the kick out, and don’t move. Whatever you do. Then when the game gets really tight. , Fisher nailed a corner three, got a steal and a three-point play. Because that is what he does.

Warriors 115, Grizzlies 109: My god, Monta Ellis can just flat out score the ball. He had 39 including all the key late baskets. Then there was the dagger — David Lee was open in the paint, got the feed and went Kwane Brown just fumbling it. Monta Ellis beat everyone there, put on a spin move then shot an 18-foot contested fade away. Nylon.

Clippers 107, Thunder 92: Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe are the future of the backcourt for the Clippers, who look so much quicker with Baron Davis out. The Clippers found the holes in the Thunder defense — there are a lot of them right now — and went at them. For the Thunder, well, mama said there’d be days like this. Just not their night.

Report: Video of night club incident shows Matt Barnes as assailant

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28:  Matt Barnes #22 of the Sacramento Kings looks on against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. 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.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Kings forward Matt Barnes, according to one account, choked a woman and punched two other people during a nightclub fight early Monday morning. Barnes’ representatives said he was acting in self defense.

The truth?

That can be hazy, but apparently a piece of suggestive evidence exists.

A.J. Perez of USA Today:

Footage of the incident obtained by investigators appears to show Barnes was the assailant, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who is not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing.

This interpretation of the video might not be the only possible interpretation. This footage also might omit key details.

But in a situation with conflicting accounts by the involved parties, it’s something.

John Wall is frustrated with Wizards’ effort. Hard to blame him.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards looks on against the Sacramento Kings at Verizon Center on November 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. 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.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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There is no bigger disappointment in the NBA right now than the Washington Wizards at 7-13. They lost again Tuesday, this time to Orlando despite John Wall putting up a career-best 52 points.

There are a lot of places to point fingers with Washington. Their bench is one of the worst in the league. Their defense has been uninspired, especially if Marcin Gortat is not on the court. But after the latest Wizards’ loss a frustrated Wall went with something far more basic — effort. Via J. Michael at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

“Our job is to wake up and just play hard. Before you made it to the NBA or got a college scholarship, you played hard every day to get to where you wanted to,” said Wall, who had surgeries to both knees May 5. “To still be talking about playing hard, that’s something that you should be able to do after just waking up. Everybody has a job and they have to go work hard. Our job is to come here and play hard and compete. That’s the easiest thing that you should do without any contracts or any money, just come in and play basketball … if I had the answer we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Wall is having a strong season — 24.1 points and 9.3 assists per game, shooting 39.4 percent from three. Bradley Beal has played in 17 Wizards games and doing what you’d expect — shooting 41.5 percent from three, spacing the floor and giving them 21.4 points a game. Otto Porter has come into his own at the three spot and is averaging 14.4 points, and 7.9 rebounds a game, he has been sneaky good this season. Gortat has been what you’d expect.

After that it’s a disaster. Markieff Morris has been a disappointment after a strong end of last season. Tomas Satoransky shows flashes of promise, but he’s a rookie (one being asked to play a new position for him). The Wizards bench, in general, is one of the worst in the NBA — just ask Gortat. We can debate if Wall and Beal can really meld together, but it’s kind of a moot question right now with all that is wrong around them.

Throw in a lack of effort, and this is a roster that needs a shakeup. Maybe an organization that needs one. And considering they just gave Scott Brooks a five-year deal to coach, it’s GM Ernie Grunfeld who should feel his seat getting warm.

LeBron, can someone average a triple-double? “Westbrook can do it”

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 12:  LeBron James #27 (L) and Russell Westbrook #31 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team attend a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on August 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Through 22 games, Russell Westbrook is averaging 31 points, 11.3 assists, and 10.9 rebounds a night — the first guy to average a triple-double this deep into a season since Oscar Robertson did it for a full campaign in 1963. Westbrook has had a triple-double in six straight games.

The only question is: Can Westbrook keep this up? Can he average a triple-double for a season?

He’s got a backer in LeBron James. Here is what LeBron said at shootaround on Wednesday, as the Cavaliers were in New York to take on the Knicks, you can see his comments via ESPN.

“Westbrook can do it. He’s capable of doing it. He’s showing it. He’s like the Energizer Bunny, man. He just doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t get tired, and when you have that passion for the game, too, as well, it’s very doable. The game has definitely changed a little bit. It’s more, it’s almost feeling like back in, like, the 80s, you know, when teams were putting up 145 and 135 and more possessions and more shot attempts — obviously, they weren’t shooting as many 3s, but it was a lot of possessions. So with that being said, with his athleticism, him being able to get those rebounds, he handles the ball for the majority of the game for OKC so he’s gonna get the assists and I think he’s averaging nine free throws a game. He’s going to make seven or eight of those a game and obviously he’s going to get one bucket — he’s going to get 10 points. That’s the easy thing for him. So it’s very doable.”

I don’t think the question is can he do it? LeBron is right, he can. I think the question is will his body hold up? He’s a strong, well-conditioned athlete, but that is a lot of toll physically.

The Thunder need him to do this: Westbrook has 11 triple-doubles this season, the Thunder are 9-2 in those games. They are 5-6 when he fails.

Report: Donatas Motiejunas not reporting to Rockets over $6 million

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
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Donatas Motiejunas — with his agent B.J. Armstrong — has backed himself into a bit of a corner.

The restricted free agent signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Nets, but it had a lot of favorable terms (the final two years are not fully guaranteed, for example) so as one would expect the Rockets matched it. However, under NBA rules the Rockets only had to match the base of the contract — $31 million worth — not the incentives. Which is what the Rockets did.

On Tuesday, Motiejunas did not report for his physical with Houston, and the $6 million is the reason, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.

Restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas won’t report to the Houston Rockets because of a difference of nearly $6 million from the offer sheet he signed with the Brooklyn Nets, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Last week, Motiejunas signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Nets. The Rockets on Monday opted to match that offer. However, based on the CBA, the Rockets only had to match the principle terms of the offer sheet, which came to $31 million. The $6 million difference was to be paid to Motiejunas via incentive clauses if he played for the Nets.

If you think this hasn’t happened before, go talk to Nicolas Batum. As Bobby Marks of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports noted on Twitter, earlier in his career Batum signed an offer sheet with Minnesota with incentives, Portland matched but not with the incentives, and Batum understood that’s how it works, showed hp and played for the Blazers.

Motiejunas may not like it, but the Rockets have almost all the power here. As of Thursday, the Rockets can pull the offer (even if they don’t, it will expire eventually on March 1), and at that point Motiejunas is a restricted free agent again. Right where he was before. The Nets can’t re-sign him to an offer now for another year. Other teams with the cap space aren’t interested (for example, Philadelphia has the room, but the last thing they need is another big man in the rotation). The Rockets would like him to play — as a big who can shoot the three he should fit well in the Mike D’Antoni system — but they are not going fail him on the physical and let him go for nothing (they can’t trade him until after the season, even if Motiejunas relents and signs the deal with the Rockets).

Motiejunas’ only play? Sit out. But at age 26, why is he wasting part of his short career window to make money playing basketball?