Atlanta Hawks v Orlando Magic

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Get Mike Bibby into the three-point shooting contest

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The highlights from Monday night. Chicago beating Oklahoma City was our game of the night.

Hawks 80, Magic 74: Who is the best three point shooter in the NBA so far this season? Mike Bibby at 53 percent. Yes, that Mike Bibby. So with the Hawks up three and 30 seconds to go, who do you turn to for the win? Exactly. It looked like the usual old terrible isolation play for Josh Smith until Bibby popped out off a down screen for a straight-away three. Nails it. Ball game.

Not that this was a particularly fun game to watch — for the first three quarters neither team cleared 20 points for a quarter. Chew on these numbers — Atlanta’s back court was 0-10 and the Magic’s front court was 2-12 in the first half. The Hawks had the lead at that point with a sad 81.8 points per 100 possessions at the break. The Magic really missed the play creation of Jameer Nelson. Dwight Howard was back — 14 points 13 boards — but was clearly feeling the impact of the stomach bug that knocked him down for a few days.

Heat 88, Bucks 78: The Heat raced out to a 14-4 early lead, pulled away for good in the second quarter and won their fifth straight. Dwyane Wade was the guy attacking tonight, LeBron and Bosh coasted a little. Not the most impressive of wins, but it’s a double-digit win on the road so you take it no questions asked. Wade had a career best 14 rebounds.

Knicks 121, Timberworlves 114: Minnesota was up nine in the first quarter, and made another second quarter, with the Wolves up 68-61 at the break. But these Knicks are resilient. Stoudemire had 39 and the Knicks are the farthest they have been over .500 since 2001. Kevin Love had 33, Michael Beasley 25 in his first game back for the Wolves.

Pacers 124, Raptors 100: This one was all Pacers, they were up 31-18 at the end of the first quarter and really blew it open from there. They were 9 of 16 from three in the first half, 13 of 26 for the game and had an eFG% of 62.9 percent on the night. Shoot like that you win.

Jazz 94, Grizzlies 85: Mike Conley is playing some nice point guard. But he is no Deron Williams.

Clippers 98, Kings 91: The Clippers were less bad in this one. Eric Gordon, Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin can string together longer bits of competent play that the Kings. Tyreke Evans was 2-12 after the first quarter, he was attacking but not finishing. The Kings battled back from being down 17 led by Pooh Jeeter, only to lose in the final minutes.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.