Houston Rockets v Washington Wizards

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where this Wall kid, we kind of like him

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What you missed while trying to wrap your head around the idea the T-Rex was probably covered with feathers

Our game of the night had the Jazz completing a sweep of Florida by beating the Magic. Get the details here.

Wizards 98, Rockets 91: Triple-double for young John Wall in this one — 20 points, 13 assists and 10 boards. From our friends at ESPN, only four players needed fewer games to get their first triple-double: Oscar Robertson, Hambone Williams, Magic Johnson and Connie Hawkins. Pretty nice company. Wall has the early ROY lead, but really we’re just entering the first turn of the race, Brandon Jennings led at this point last season.

Bucks 108, Hawks 91: The Bucks started 2-5 and you knew they were better than that. They won this one in large part because they got the offensve rebound on 30 percent of their missed shots, and Drew Gooden was a big part of that (he had 5 offensive rebounds alone). That was a quality pick up just starting to pan out. Same with Corey Maggette, who had 20 on 7-8 shooting.

Bobcats 101, Raptors 96: Charlotte’s defense still isn’t where it needs to be, but for one night their offense can carry them through, with six guys scoring in double figures. Although, that may just be because they played the Raptors.

Nets 95, Cavaliers 87: New Jersey won this one on the offensive glass, grabbing the board on 31 percent of their missed shots. Really, Kris Humphries won that, with six offensive boards himself. He completely outplayed teammate Brook Lopez inside, which says more about Brook right now than anything. Tough season so far for the Lopez brothers.

Warriors 122, Knicks 117: David Lee returns to NYC and drops 28 on the team that let him go, but it wasn’t personal. Right. Well, part of it was no Ronny Turiaf, who was resting his knee and without him nobody protects the rim for the Knicks. Monta Ellis played for Golden State, not even missing a game after that awkward fall, and he dropped 22.  Danilo Gallinari is killing my fantasy team… I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Thunder 109, Sixers 103: No Andre Igudala, out injured for the Sixers. Plenty of Russell Westbrook abusing Lou Williams and everyone else, he dropped 31. Jrue Holliday acquitted himself nicely on offense with 17 and 11 dimes, but did we mention Westbrook did what he wanted on offense?

Spurs 107, Clippers 95: This makes 18 in a row for the Spurs over the Clippers. What else do I need to say?

Mavericks 106, Grizzlies 91: Dirk Nowitzki turned an ankle in this one and was never comfortable, going 6-14 shooting. But the Mavs are deep — Shawn Marion drops 20, the Jet gives them 25 off the bench. That depth serves the Mavs very well in the regular season.

Minnesota 98, Kings 89: Kevin Love goes for 23 and 24 last night in 38 minutes, so tonight Kurt Rambis benches him for 12 minutes in the second half and gives him just 28 minutes. When Love returns in the fourth quarter he scores 8 more points and is a +5 for that stretch. I give up trying to figure it out.

But really, this is the Michael Beasley show, he puts up 42 in one of those performances that explains why he was drafted No. 2 overall. Don’t get sucked in though, for the season he has not been good, got to do it more than one night in this league, On the other side of the ball Tyreke Evans tweaked an ankle but still scored 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting, however had just one assist on the night, not getting teammates involved. One guy who is fitting in for the Kings is Samuel Dalembert who had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with nine rebounds.

Stan Van Gundy to Reggie Jackson: “We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio”

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It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.

Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.

In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.

Warning: NSFW language ahead.

While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:

All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.

Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.

Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.

“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.

Report: After fining Wizards, league issues memo warning teams on bench etiquette

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12:  Courtney Lee #5 of the New York Knicks takes a three point shot in the first quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on January 12, 2017 in New York City. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.

Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:

So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?

Official NBA rules state simply:

The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.

Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.

Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?

Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.

Joel Embiid wants the center position to return to the NBA All-Star ballot

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The NBA got rid of the center position on the All-Star ballot starting in 2013, thanks in part to some positional confusion around former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. But just a handful of years later, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid says it should make a comeback.

Embiid — who finished third in the Eastern Conference for forwards in All-Star fan voting — told CSN Philly that due to the plethora of talented big men in the NBA, the position should return.

Via CSN Philly:

“There’s a lot of talented big men in the league, especially at the center position,” Embiid said. “That’s something the NBA should think about, putting the center back on the All-Star ballot.”

There has been a resurgence of talented and burgeoning centers that have entered the league and are performing at a high level. Embiid is one of them, and so too is DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Hassan Whiteside, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Jahlil Okafor.

Adding the center position back might be a tough sell as having it doesn’t reduce eliminations from the roster. It’s much more free-flowing now, and there’s nothing keeping great centers off the All-Star team.

It would also be a little strange if center was added back but there wasn’t a point guard spot, too. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has suggested three categories for the roster in point guard, wing, and frontcourt. That idea is as good as adding the center position, perhaps moreso to many folks in the NBA.

I don’t think adding the center position will make a comeback any time soon. Meanwhile, we’re all just waiting to see if Embiid makes the All-Star reserves.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies for reverse alley-oop jam (VIDEO)

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Is Aaron Gordon a three or a four?

That’s a debate for another day. What we all know he can do is leap out of the building, and he showed off how that can be useful during a game Friday night — Jabari Parker actually defends this fairly well, Gordon can just go over the top of him and get it. With that, we get a highlight.

The Magic upset the Bucks 112-96, behind 20 from a resurgent Elfrid Payton. Parker had 25 for the Bucks.