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.

Before season starts, watch top 10 dunks of preseason

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Starting Tuesday night, the games matter. The dunks matter.

But before we move onto those dunks, let’s have some fun with the top 10 dunks of the meaningless preseason. They may not matter, but they certainly were fun.

Of course there are some expected highlights — can you have a dunk reel without Russell Westbrook? — but game-winning dunks always get the top slot.

Carmelo Anthony says rather than take knee during Anthem he wants action in communities

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers during their game at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2016 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 Al Bello/Getty Images)

Colin Kaepernick certainly fired up a discussion — not always the conversation he intended, but a discussion of the treatment of African-Americans in our society was part of that conversation.

No NBA player has taken that same step through the preseason, taking a knee during the national anthem (only anthem singers have done that). Some teams are locking arms during the anthem in a show of solidarity, but they stand in two orderly rows.

Carmelo Anthony explained in an interview with Bleacher Report that what he and many others want to see is the next step in Kaepernick’s protest — action in the community.

“I’m past the gestures,” New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that—enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff—we need to start putting things in place….

“He’s done it,” Anthony said of Kaepernick. “He was courageous enough to do that. He created that. He created the kneeling and that protest. And people fell in line with that. Some people supported it. Some people didn’t. But at the end of the day, and I’m not taking nothing away from him…I just don’t think the gesturing is creating anything. I think it’s bringing awareness, but I think doing stuff and creating awareness in the communities [is more effective].”

What are those things? Players, the players’ union, the NBA itself, and it’s teams are all working to figure that out. This is not something where one blanket program fits all — what is needed in communities in New York is different from the needs in Milwaukee, is different from the needs in Sacramento. This needs to be local, with players involved.

There have already been some steps. The Bulls held a basketball tournament between police and a mentoring agency, which was followed by a panel discussion. Dwyane Wade biked with police through Miami. The Grizzlies have revived the Police Athletic League in Memphis. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are teams from New Orleans to Los Angeles are working to bring youth and police together to talk.

It’s a start. A good start.

There is no one magic gesture, no one simple measure that can heal the deep divides in our nation right now. There are no easy answers, and as a nation we can be too dependent on easy answers. We need to listen. We need to talk to each other, not at each other. We need to practice empathy.

NBA players can help lead that effort, that conversation. It would be the next step after a protest — to act on those steps. Good on Anthony and the NBA for attempting to go down that road.


Rockets change from earlier reports, waive Pablo Prigioni, keep Tyler Ennis

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 17:  Pablo Prigioni #9 of the Houston Rockets celebrates in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas. 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 Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The Rockets traded for Tyler Ennis., sending Michael Beasley away in the deal.

Which is why it was a bit of a surprise on Monday when early reports had the Rockets waiving Ennis, but either the report was off or the Rockets changed their minds.

With Patrick Beverley out injured, this leaves the Rockets thin at the traditional point guard spot. However, in practice James Harden, Eric Gordon and others will initiate Mike D’Antoni’s offense, so the bigger challenge will be defensively. Prigioni was not much help there at this point in his career.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team snaps up Prigioni as insurance, or he certainly can make money overseas. Prigioni played last season as a backup point guard for the Clippers.

Want some dance lessons from Hassan Whiteside? We got that.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: A portrait of Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Miami’s Hassan Whiteside is a lot of things: An elite shot blocker, up-and-coming NBA star who worked hard for the right to be that, a Heat cornerstone.

Dance instructor?

I’m not sold, but he’s showing off his groove in this Twitter video.

When you get a $98.6 million contract, you can do whatever you want. So he can be a dance if he wants to.