Josh Smith

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Some nights Atlanta can just shoot the rock

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What you missed while remembering the lives lost at Pearl Harbor…

The Wizards making a game of it against the Lakers is our game of the night.

Hawks 116, Nets 101: Atlanta just shot lights out — 60.3 percent on the night and a solid 37.5 percent from three. Josh Smith had 34 on 14 of 16 shooting, Al Horford 24 on 10 of 18, Jamal Crawford with 27 on 11 of 17. That will get it done.

Bobcats 100, Nuggets 97: Larry Brown denies George Karl the chance to join him in the 1,000 win club, but did not laugh in Karl’s face about it afterwards. Denver hung around in this one because they hit 11 of 27 threes (41 percent) but they were not efficient. DJ Augustin was efficient, 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting, with 6 assists. Also, Gerald Wallace was attacking the rim again, a good sign. That ended Denver’s seven game win streak.

Sixers 117, Cavaliers 97: Everytime you read about Cleveland right now or see highlights of them, just start singing “Free Falling” to yourself. Use the Tom Petty or John Mayer, versions if you must, but I recommend The Almost as the best one.

Rockets 97, Pistons 83: Tracy McGrady hit a big three pointer to make it a one-point game with eight minutes left, but was nowhere to be seen when the game was decided (foul trouble). Sounds about right to Rockets fans. Luis Scola with 35 and a lot of big shots down the stretch.

Mavericks 105, Warriors 100: It was an Ian Mahinmi party — 12 points and 10 boards. Tyson Chandler was out sick (has he been hanging with the Magic players?), Brendan Haywood got the start but when it mattered at the end it was Mahinmi. He was brought in this summer as a backup and project, he looked like someone that could pay off down the line.

Dallas bench with 47 points, Warriors 16. And there is your ballgame. That’s 10 in a row for Dallas.

Blazers 106, Suns 99: Portland put up 37 in the final quarter to come from behind and win with an interesting lineup —Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, Lamarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Brandon Roy and Patty Mills (for part). A lot of wing players, but they penetrated and dished and worked hard on defense (it’s a lineup that can work against the Suns but not many other teams). Portland’s 32 of 33 from the line helped the cause.

Sit back and watch the top 10 dunks from the first five weeks of NBA season

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Who doesn’t love a good dunk compilation?

Well, somebody probably just said “bah, humbug” but is that the person you really want to hang out with?

The fine folks at NBA.com put together the Top 10 dunks of October and November, and when Rudy Gobert dunking over Kristaps Porzingis is all the way down at 10, you know it’s a good list. Put off starting your Christmas shopping, at least for another 2:44, and watch the video.

Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Here you go.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Chance The Rapper performs on Camp Stage during day one of Tyler, the Creator's 5th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival at Exposition Park on November 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Of course you do. How is that even a question?

Above you can see just that from Chicago Friday night (where Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and the Bulls knocked off the Cavaliers). Benny the Bull is on his side as well, while the Cubs’ mascot and others try and stay out of the way.

I’ll take this over another kids’ dribbling contest any day.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili hustling saves lead to Spurs bucket (VIDEO)

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That’s about the most Spurs play ever.

During the third quarter of San Antonio’s win over Washington Friday night, LaMarcus Aldridge saved the ball from going out-of-bounds on the baseline, he threw it out high to Manu Ginobili, who had to leap and save it from going into the backcourt. Two hustle plays. From there the Spurs whipped the ball around the perimeter, and it ended up back to Aldridge on the baseline, where he nailed the 12-foot jumper.

Eventually, the Spurs would get a Kawhi Leonard jumper to give them the victory.

LeBron on Cavs’ three-game losing streak: “We got to get out of the honeymoon stage”

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wipes his face as he looks down after guard Kyrie Irving missed a shot during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Chicago. The Bulls won 111-105. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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For a team that is 13-5 and atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been their intimidating selves consistently this season. There have been flashes during a 13-2 start, but mostly they win on talent, or when they flip the switch for a half, but they haven’t looked like a tested team working on building good habits through the first quarter of the NBA season. They have an elite offense, but their defense is surrendering 105.1 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the league.

It’s been worse the last four games. The Cavaliers had to come from behind to beat the Sixers, then got blown out by the Bucks and Clippers. Friday night, Cleveland lost to Chicago, giving the Cavs a three-game losing streak, and LeBron James had enough. He sent a message to his team through the media (from the Associated Press):

“We got to get out of the honeymoon stage,” James said. “You got to play the game, the right way. We’ve got to battle every night like we ain’t won nothing. Last year is last year. After ring night is over with, now it’s a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over. It’s time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points (in the paint) is ridiculous. We’ve got to man up. Everybody.”

The Cavaliers would be far from the first team to have a championship hangover, and considering the five-decade title drought in Cleveland before that win we should have expected one of those “I can’t get off the couch, I’m just going to lay here and watch golf all day” kind of hangovers. As Gregg Popovich has said before, its human nature to let up after a big win.

However, the blowout loss at the hands of the Clippers Thursday — the only title contending team the Cavs have faced this season — should be a wake-up call. The fact is the Cavaliers are still playing well enough to beat everyone in the East, but their real tests come in the form of the Warriors/Clippers/Spurs out West. Right now it’s hard to picture the inconsistent defense of the Cavaliers lifting them past any of those teams in four out of seven games.

LeBron has been to six-straight Finals for a reason — he does not let up. And he’s going to have to shake this team out of its malaise to get them back to an elite standing.

It’s also the first week of December. It’s we’re having this same conversation the last week of March about the Cavaliers then it’s okay to start looking for the panic button in Cleveland. For now, trust LeBron to be the leader this team needs. Calling them out was just step one.