Baseline to Baseline recaps: Dallas had to lose sometime

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What you missed while reminiscing about how great Moses Malone was

Our game of the night was LeBron James’ team besting his good friend Chris Paul’s team….

Bucks 103, Mavericks 99: Dallas has played some very good zone defense during the 12-game win streak they had entering this game — Brandon Jennings carved it up with penetration, Andrew Bogut exposed the soft middle of it. When the Mavericks tried man-to-man that didn’t work either. Bogut was 8 of 8 at the rim and the Bucks as a team were 9-13 from three — inside and out.

Add to that the Bucks — the worst per-possession offense in the league coming into this game — figured it out. At least for one night. Really it’s been more than one night, they have played better the last week. We wondered if it was a mirage. Nope, they are playing well again.

Dallas jumped out to a 20-point second quarter lead so this is not how we expected this one to end. Early on, it looked like a lot of the last dozen Mavericks games. But the Dallas offense was not consistent while the Bucks offense started taking apart the zone. And it just went like that.

Grizzlies 86, Trail Blazers 73: The Blazers had a small lead entering the fourth quarter, but a Grizzlies 15-2 run to start the fourth was what changed the game. Portland shot 21 percent with five turnovers in the fourth quarter, on their way to 9 points. A lot of that is just the Blazers, their offense can really stagnate right now, especially when Roy is 3 of 13.

Bulls 92, Pacers 73: Chicago is playing good defense and the Pacers can get confused on offense, and the result is the Bulls were out to an 18-2 lead. The Pacers battled back and actually had the lead and were in it until midway through the fourth. Once again Jim O’Brien stuck with James Posey and T.J. Ford and kept other starters on the bench late, even when things looked bad. Hibbert with 20 minutes for the game, Collison sat the fourth quarter again. Worst rotations in the game right now.

Jazz 108, Warriors 95: Golden State shot 32.5 percent on shots at the rim. That’s 32.5 percent on dunks, layups, tip-ins and other chip shots. What else needs be said?

LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards

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With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.

It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.

 

 

That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.

James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”

He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.

The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.

And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.