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Baseline to Baseline recaps: Miami beat a good team handily… watch out

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What you missed while reading the Incredible Hulk Buddhist twitter timeline…

Heat 111, Jazz 98: When LeBron James is the ball handler attacking the rim and Zydrunas Ilgauskas is setting the picks and knocking down the pick-and-pop jumpers, it is going to be tough to defend. Together they were 19-30 for 49 points. Wade had 28 points plus he got to the line 11 times and the Heat avenged an early season loss. Just 10 bench points for the Jazz. That’s six in a row for the Heat, all by double digits.

Bulls 88, Cavaliers 83: A blizzard of a snowstorm hit Cleveland in the early evening, one that tied up downtown Cleveland to the point that JJ Hickson, Anthony Parker and other Cavs barely made it to the arena on time for the game. Combine that kind of snow with a slumping team and the building was half full. Those that did come out saw the Cavs up with 30 seconds to go but Derrick Rose hit his big shots down the stretch while the Cavs missed theirs.

Celtics 105, Nuggets 89: Denver’s defense could not stop Boston with Rajon Rondo back in the lineup. Kevin Garnett was 8 of 9 for 17; Ray Allen was 9 of 14 for 28. They were just too efficient

Knicks 13, Raptors 110: Amar’e Stoudemire had 34 points, his sixth straight game with 30 or more. Also the sixth straight Knicks win. Coincidence? Raymond Felton with the dramatic step-back game winner.

Bucks 97, Pacers 95: Andrew Bogut tipped in the game winner off a Luc Richard Mbah a Moute pass with 0.5 seconds left to win — another reminder of how much the Bucks need Bogut on the floor. Indiana, when the game is on the line and only a tip-in works, play a zone. The Bucks shot just 36 percent in this one but their 19 offensive rebounds kept them in it.

Thunder 111, Timberwolves 103: Kevin Love had 22 points and 21 rebounds, and according to ESPN that is the fifth time he has had at least 20-20 this season — nobody else has done it twice. The Timberwolves led 40-22 after one then the Thunder started focusing on defense.

Spurs 111, Warriors 94: Stephen Curry tweaked his ankle and that made room for PBT favorite Reggie Williams to get on the floor and score 31. Doesn’t matter as the Spurs are just flat out better.

Hornets 93, Pistons 74: New Orleans wins the battle of basically ownerless teams. The Hornets shot 50 percent, the Pistons 37.5 percent, that’s your ballgame.

Grizzlies 104, Suns 98 (OT): The Suns could have had this in regulation, but a missed free throw and a catch-and-shoot corner three from Rudy Gay sent the game into overtime, where the Grizzlies thrived. Mike Conley had a career-high 14 assists while Steve Nash struggled against him (didn’t think I’d every write that sentence).

Lakers 87, Clippers 86: Derek Fisher is roughly 164 years old, is too slow defensively, is an inconsistent shooter and yet… game on the line he drives and hits the lefty scoop layup over two Clippers to win the game. That man is clutch. Eric Gordon almost made the game winning play at the other end just before. Second night of a back-to-back and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom both played more than 40 minutes alternating at center — they need Bynum back before somebody just collapses.

Kings 116, Wizards 91: John Wall was a last-second scratch with a foot injury and Tyreke Evans looked hobbled going 3-9 shooting. But the rest of the Kings starters shot 60 percent against the Wizards porous defense to get the win.

Watch Stephen Curry’s late lockdown defense (video)

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Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant might not think much of Stephen Curry‘s defense – Durant gave a great and tremendously honest answer – but Curry was at his defensive best late in the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Thunder last night.

Curry locked up Durant multiple times. Also included in that clip: Curry’s rebound in traffic, because rebounding is a key part of defense.

The Draymond Green kicking controversy continued through Game 5

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 26:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 26, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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We’ve shown you the video evidence beforeDraymond Green tries to sell calls by kicking. Despite the Flagrant 2 he picked up for one of those kicks that connected with Steven Adams‘ groin, he said he was never going to start playing “careful.”

He certainly didn’t in Game 5 — he got his foot up high not once but twice.

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As we said back when it happened, the league needs to come down harder on this next season — Green is far from the only player who does it, and the league can’t only call it a foul when it connects. The habit needs to be broken with all the players doing it.

Those kicks were not even the play were Green got a technical foul, his fifth of the playoffs (get to seven and you get an automatic one-game suspension).

Did Kevin Durant throw shade at Stephen Curry’s defense? Does Curry care?

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In the fourth quarter Thursday night, Stephen Curry came up big — on defense. He had a strip of a Kevin Durant shot as KD tried to bring the ball up for a shot, plus he had another steal. Curry is no lock down defender, but he made some plays.

After the game, Durant was asked if Curry is an underrated defender (video above). First, notice that Russell Westbrook laughs at the question — he hates giving opposing players compliments. Remember he said before the series Curry wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before. Durant stammered at first then tried to give a more diplomatic answer, but threw a little shade at Curry in the process.

“You know, he’s pretty good, but he doesn’t guard the best point guards. I think they do a good job of putting a couple guys on Russell, from Thompson to Iguodala, and Steph, they throw him in there sometimes. But he moves his feet pretty well, he’s good with his hands. But, you know, I like our matchup with him guarding Russ.”

As he should. I like the matchup of Westbrook vs. every other point guard in the league. Westbrook tore Curry up in Games 3 and 4.

Of course, Curry was asked about Durant’s comments when he came into the interview room, but he refused to take the bait.

“I got a great teammate that’s obviously a better defender on the perimeter. I like the challenge. I do my job the best I can”

He’s got a couple of teammates that are better defenders on the perimeter — Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Those guys are just busy with other players this series because the Thunder are deep and present a plethora of challenges.

This is all a tempest in a Conference Finals teapot. It wasn’t as big a deal as some in the media will try to make it out to be.

Curry is going to have to play defense and score better in Game 6 than his improved Game 5 play if the Warriors are coming back for one more game at Oracle Arena.

Tyronn Lue: ‘This is our Game 7’

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23:  Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 23, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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 Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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TORONTO (AP) To keep their season alive, the Toronto Raptors are counting on a home-court advantage that saved them before.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of their second straight NBA Finals on Wednesday night by routing Toronto 116-78 in Game 5, the fourth lopsided game in a series where both teams have struggled mightily on the road.

Paced by the resurgent Kevin Love with 25 points, and 23 apiece from James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs built a 43-point lead in the second half and demolished the Raptors. Toronto lost three games in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena by a combined 88 points.

Fortunately, the Raptors are back home in front of their own frenzied fans and will host Game 6 on Friday night in Air Canada Centre, where the Cavs are 0-4 this season and lost Games 3 and 4 in this series.

After going 32-9 at home during the regular season, Toronto is 8-2 on its floor in the playoffs, and pulled off a Game 7 wins over Indiana and Miami.

The Raptors need it to be home sweet home one more time.

“We’ve got to play the same way we played the two home games we’ve had so far,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said Thursday, a day after he was hounded by Cleveland’s guards and scored just 13 on 5 of 12 shooting. “That’s all we can do. Can’t worry about the road. We might not get a chance to go back on the road if we don’t play the right way tomorrow.”

Toronto was overmatched from the opening tap in Game 5, falling behind by 18 after one quarter, 31 at halftime and finishing with 18 turnovers, five by Lowry.

“They’re drastically bad when you’ve got LeBron coming at you,” Lowry said.

In an all-over-the-map postseason, an elimination game against Cleveland is about as drastically bad as things have been for the Raptors, who led 3-2 in each of the first two rounds. Even so, Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan didn’t seem too troubled after Thursday’s film session.

“I don’t know why we get so comfortable once we put ourselves in a tougher situation,” DeRozan said. “We’ve been doing it all year and we always bounce back. I think we just thrive off adversity.”

Cleveland’s home record was one win better than Toronto’s this season, and the Cavs are unbeaten in seven home playoff games since Game 6 of last year’s finals. While his team has struggled in Toronto, coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t want to have to put that streak on the line.

“We want to come in with the approach that this is our Game 7,” Lue said. “We’ve worked hard all season to get to this point, and we want to treat this next game as our Game 7.”

After Wednesday’s big win, Irving said the hostile atmosphere the Cavs encountered in Toronto made them “probably my first legitimate two road games that I’ve experienced in my playoff career.”

“Our communication, everything had to be a lot sharper,” Irving said of battling the noise in the North. “We took a lot that we had to learn from that game, including myself. Going into Game 6, I feel a little bit more prepared than I was going into Game 3 and 4 of knowing what to expect, what it’s going to be like.”

If there was any good news for the Raptors in Game 5, it was the return of center Jonas Valanciunas, out since May 7 with a sprained right ankle. Casey said Valanciunas, who scored nine points in 18 minutes Wednesday, could provide offensive versatility in Game 6.

“Getting the ball in the post will be a calming effect for us,” Casey said. “He’s got to be able to make it out of the double team, as the guards do. We looked at that today. He can quarterback out of the low post as well as score out of the low post, and it gives us a third option.”

Can home court advantage and a healthy Valanciunas prolong the deepest playoff run in Raptors history and help Toronto reach a third Game 7?

Casey hasn’t given up hope.

“We’ve been here before,” he said. “We’re here at home. We’ve played well here at home. We are playing against one of the best teams in the NBA right now. Our guys take solace from being at home, understanding we’ve been here before and we can bounce back from it. I have faith we will bounce back.”