Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies

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.

Cavaliers sign forward Derrick Williams to second 10-day contract

Cleveland Cavaliers' Derrick Williams, right, drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Rodney Stuckey in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Derrick Williams to a second 10-day contract.

The NBA champions have been impressed with Williams, a former No. 2 overall pick, and it’s likely they will sign him for the remainder of the season when his current contract expires. The Cavs announced Wednesday they signed Williams again. He has averaged 9.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Cavs, who have been bringing him off their bench with their second unit.

Before signing as a free agent with Cleveland on Feb. 9, Williams played for Miami this season before being released.

The Cavs returned from the All-Star break Wednesday and will practice before hosting the New York Knicks on Thursday, just a few hours after the trade deadline.

Hornets’ Miles Plumlee out at least two weeks with leg injury

Charlotte Hornets' Miles Plumlee (18) dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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The Hornets are essentially two different teams with and without Cody Zeller.

They’re 22-17 when he plays and 2-15 when he doesn’t. They play at a 62-win pace with him on the floor and a 29-win pace when he sits.

So, with Zeller banged up, Charlotte traded for Miles Plumee. But Plumlee hasn’t provided much, just 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in five contests.

And now he’ll add even less.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Miles Plumlee underwent a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), which revealed a second-degree calf strain in his right leg. Plumlee will be out for Charlotte’s game tomorrow at Detroit and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

The Hornets incurred significant long-term costs ($37.5 million over the next three years) to use Plumlee as a short-term bandage. Without him providing even that, this situation looks bleak.

Depending on Zeller’s health, this could turn Charlotte — 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position — into sellers before the trade deadline. At minimum, it makes the Hornets less likely to buy.

Report: Bulls pushing to trade for 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 14: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Bulls reportedly reached out to the 76ers about Jahlil Okafor a few weeks ago.

After unfulfilled intrigue and maybe a trade that fell through, Okafor remains in Philadelphia. And Chicago apparently still wants him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

As constituted, the Bulls already have a few interior bigs: Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Cristiano Felicio. But one or more could go in an Okafor trade or another deal.

Okafor would make the Chicago younger, confusing its direction with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade already in place.

Perhaps, the Bulls are pushing for a trade only because they’re offering so little. Okafor’s low-post game offers intrigue. At the right price, he’d be worth adding, no matter the fit and direction presented.

Maybe the 76ers don’t go for a lowball offer, but that’d be worth trying considering their center logjam with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Otherwise, Chicago ought to tread carefully when pursuing Okafor.

Report: 76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, picks

Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Dunleavy blocks the shot of Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 110-93. (AP Photo/John Amis)
AP Photo/John Amis
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The 76ers have played like a 64-win team when Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova share the court and a 20-win team otherwise, using data from nbawowy!.

That’s helpful for Philadelphia, which is learning what type of player — a stretch four — works best with its franchise player.

But the Hawks can use more than just a lesson in the idea of Ersan Ilyasova. They can use actual Ersan Ilyasova.

And Atlanta will get him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

Atlanta stills sound intent on keeping Paul Millsap, so Ilyasova will likely back him up. Ilyasova should work particularly well with Dwight Howard, whose interior play was a key factor in ushering in this stretch-four era by covering for the lighter power forward next to him.

In the last 21 months, Ilyasova has been traded five times: from the Bucks to the Pistons to the Magic to the Thunder to the 76ers and now to the Hawks. They can probably count on the veteran to settle in quickly as they try to improve their position in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Atlanta is fifth, closer to third than sixth.

Both Ilyasova and Splitter have expiring contracts. The advantage of Splitter, who has missed the Hawks’ last 90 games, is that his full compensation counts toward the floor apparently without Philadelphia actually having to play all of his salary.

Plus, those picks could help the 76ers in a season where they can win something meaningful — like the Hawks have decided this season is for them.