Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where the Lakers have quite the little losing streak

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What you missed while wondering if the Ochocinco marriage is just another reality television show….

The battle for the soul of New York was our game of the night.

Grizzlies 98, Lakers 96: This is three losses in a row for the Lakers, only the second time they have lost three in a row since acquiring Pau Gasol.

The temptation here is to ask what’s wrong with the Lakers and discuss their defensive shortcomings. And there were plenty, their help defenders were often late. But what really happened is the Grizzlies won this one. Mike Conley was brilliant, with 28 points on 10 of 13 shooting. Xavier Henry and O.J.Mayo made key shots. Memphis played good ball, they earned it.

Magic 90, Pistons 79: That score is misleading, the Pistons led much of this game. They did a good job taking Dwight Howard out of the flow, and he finished with just nine points. But Orlando hangs in games because of their defense and that’s what happened here — Detroit had just 34 second half points. Brandon Bass and Mikael Pietrus played well off the bench.

Celtics 108, Cavaliers: 87: The Cavaliers came out with a real energy, jumped out early and lead and looked like they would make a game of it. But then Rajon Rondo took over and scored the final 11 of the first quarter, pretty soon it was tied early in the second and then pretty soon the Celtics were rolling.

Sixers 88, Trail Blazer 79: Philadelphia’s late game offense is all too often just Andre Iguodala isolation. You’re not going to win a lot of tight games that way. But the Sixers were able to pull away because the Blazers went cold and had just 11 fourth quarter points. The Blazers, with a hobbled Brandon Roy (who may not play Wednesday on the back-to-back) just don’t have the dynamic guy who can create his own shots anymore. The Sixers did not double down the stretch and dared someone to beat them and the Blazers could not.

Spurs 118, Warriors 98: Really up-tempo game — 99 possessions — that would have been uncomfortable for the Spurs in the past but this year they are good with it. It wasn’t the shooting that won this for the Spurs it was everything else — they rebounded better, got to the line more often, turned the ball over less. Which is to say, even at a fast pace they did the little things and won because they are still the Spurs.

Pacers 107, Kings 98: Apparently Paul Westphal should have run ins with Demarcus Cousins more often — he had 20 points, eight rebounds and played under the most control I can recall this season. Not that any of that really helped the Kings.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.