Russell Westbrook

Baseline to Baseline recaps: No Durant, no problem for OKC.

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What you missed while playing ‪Manny Pacquiao’s Punchout‬…

Thunder 89, Celtics 84: No Kevin Durant. No Jeff Green. The Thunder missed their last 15 shots from the field. And they still handed Boston its first loss of the season at home. Part of it, as it has been all season with Oklahoma City, is free throws — they got 32 and made 27 of them (Boston was 17 of 27). But a bigger part was just effort — Boston played like a team that thought they should win easily, the Thunder played hard and desperate. It wasn’t a pretty fourth quarter, but this result was deserved for both sides.

Bulls 88, Mavericks 83: Dallas did not keep Chicago off the glass in this one — the Bulls had 20 offensive rebounds, meaning they got a second chance on 44.4 percent of their missed shots. Eight of those offensive boards belonged to Taj Gibson, who had a huge night with 17 points on 7-12 shooting. Also, Caron Butler is just flat out not playing well.

Heat 95, Bobcats 87: This was one of those games where the Heat got the win but didn’t really look good doing it. Lots of isolation basketball, they shot 6-33 from beyond 16 feet (which is way too many jump shots, something they do a lot) and they played to the Bobcats style. But, the Heat were the better team on the boards, they created more turnovers then turned those into some transition points, and they got to the line enough to win against a good defense. Charlotte had a nice effort but just did not have the players.

Lakers 112, Timberwolves 95: Why is it so hard to beat the Lakers? Because they have Kobe and Gasol, sure, but then one night Matt Barnes rises up and goes 5-5 from three, 7-7 overall and puts up 24 off the bench. Now, if Kurt Rambis wanted to bench Kevin Love in this one — no points on 0-7 shooting, 7 boards — nobody would have blamed him. Ron Artest flat out dominated Love. Lakers go 3-0 on a Midwest road trip.

Sixers 90, Bucks 79: Just a horrible shooting game, but the Bucks were worse — 33.8 percent overall, 0-12 from three. You don’t beat anybody shooting like that.

Raptors 106, Rockets 96: Toronto’s bench outscored Houston’s 46-11. Throw in an 11-17 shooting night and 26 points from Andrea Bargnani and you have yourself a Raptors win.

Wizards 89, Grizzlies 86: Still no Wall but the Wizards were the more aggressive team trying to get to the basket, as a result they shot 35 free throws to the Grizzlies 18. Gilbert Arenas had 24 points, Kirk Hinrich 22. More impressively, Arenas was defending hard on OJ Mayo all night, held him to 1-11 shooting.

Hornets 108, Cavaliers 101: Workman like Hornets win, where they had an 18-2 run late in the first half that essentially iced the game. Cleveland’s starters scored 36 points, the bench 65. David West almost outscored the Cavs starters himself with 34.

Spurs 94, Jazz 82: In a bit of irony, Tim Duncan became the Spurs all time leading scorer on a free throw. Vintage Spurs down the stretch in this one, with Tony Parker getting in the lane then passing out to Richard Jefferson for a three or Tim Duncan for the midrange. The Spurs may be the hottest team going right now.

Kings 86, Nets 81: Questions that can never really be answered: Did the Kings finally play some good defense or is New Jersey just that bad on offense?

Knicks 125, Warriors 119: Really entertaining game — mostly because nobody played a lick of defense. Fast pace, so we had Raymond Felton with 35 for the Knicks, Monta Ellis with 40 for the Warriors. In a game without defense the Knicks just shot a little better (which is unexpected, but there you go).

Cory Joseph drains game-winning three at buzzer for Raptors (VIDEO)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Cory Joseph made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors an 84-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for the Raptors, who before Joseph’s 3 had not led since early in the first quarter.

Joseph took DeMar DeRozan‘s pass in the corner and nailed the winning shot. He finished with 12 points as Toronto won its fourth straight despite tying a season high with 22 turnovers

Bradley Beal scored 20 points for Washington, which lost its fourth straight despite allowing its fewest points of the season.

John Wall added eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, but missed a pair of late free throws that opened the door for Toronto to win in regulation.

With 3.0 seconds left following those misses and a timeout, DeRozan got the ball, drove toward the baseline and kicked the ball out to Joseph in the left corner. Joseph rose and sank his 3-pointer as time expired.

Washington failed to hit a field goal over the final 4:24 to fall to 1-8 in its last nine regular-season games against Toronto. The Wizards did sweep the Raptors in the first round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

Toronto trailed by as many as 10 before Lowry’s 3-pointer from the left wing tied it at 70-all early in the fourth.

Washington answered with a 10-2 run before Toronto scored the next seven points, with Lowry’s 3-pointer off DeRozan’s kickout making it 80-79.

After DeRozan and Lowry each missed shots with a chance to take the lead, Wall and DeRozan traded free throws. But Wall missed a pair next, setting up the final sequence.


James hits game-winner, Cavs edge Nets (VIDEO)


CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James made a running hook shot with a second left and scored 26 points, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 90-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

After Joe Johnson‘s three foul shots tied the game with 15.2 seconds left, the Cavaliers called timeout and took the ball at midcourt.

James took the inbounds pass, dribbled to the top of the key before cutting to the right of the lane and hitting a hook shot over Brook Lopez, the Nets’ 7-foot center.

James scored 10 points and added a key steal late in the game to help Cleveland (13-4) remain unbeaten at home in nine games.

Kevin Love also scored 26 points for Cleveland, which played a sluggish first half and didn’t take its first lead until midway through the third quarter.

Lopez led Brooklyn (4-12) with 22 points. Johnson added 17 for the Nets, who fell to 1-10 on the road.

Tristan Thompson‘s basket with 1:13 remaining gave Cleveland an 86-85 lead and James made two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Johnson was fouled by J.R. Smith attempting a 3-pointer.

Johnson hit all three foul shots, but James made sure the Nets’ strong effort fell short.

James helped Cleveland rally from an 83-76 deficit in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and a three-point play before the Cavaliers took the lead on Thompson’s basket with 2:44 remaining.

Brooklyn built the lead to double figures in the second quarter and led 50-44 at halftime. Cleveland took its first lead at 61-60 on Love’s 3-pointer midway through the third. Matthew Dellavedova‘s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 69-68 lead going into the final period.

Mo Williams scored 14 points for the Cavaliers while Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets.


Scott Skiles says he would not have traded Tobias Harris to Magic

Tobias Harris, O.J. Mayo
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Back at the start of the season in 2012 and into early 2013, Tobias Harris was buried on the bench in Milwaukee — glued there by coach Scott Skiles. At the trade deadline that February, the Bucks sent Harris to Orlando  — where he blossomed into a quality forward that is part of the Magic’s future.

The Magic now coached by Scott Skiles.

Did Skiles want Harris moved at the time? No, he told Journal Sentinel (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He was pretty mature as a person even then,” Skiles said of Harris, who left Tennessee after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. “In camp he got sick; he fell behind.

“At that time, we just felt (Luc) Mbah a Moute was a better defender and (Mike) Dunleavy was a better offensive player, and Tobias didn’t get as many minutes. But we were high on him.

“Not that anybody would have listened to me, but if I would have still been the coach, I would not have been for moving Tobias. That’s for sure, if somebody would ask my opinion.”

Skiles was under pressure to win back then in Milwaukee (he was let go at the end of the season) so you can’t be surprised he was playing the veterans he trusted over the young player who would be making mistakes.

Skiles trusts Harris now; he’s giving him more than 30 minutes a night. While he’s played some small four to start the season, Skiles has switched the lineups and now has Harris starting at the three (Channing Frye is at the four). In that role he has averaged 18 points through two games, Harris has looked more comfortable. We’ll see if that sustains, but you know Skiles is giving him a chance.


DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.