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?

Paul George on return to Indiana Wednesday: “For whatever reason, I’ll be booed”

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This week is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s “you can’t go home again” week of the schedule. On Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony will return to New York where Knicks fans should welcome him with cheers and open arms — he meant a lot to that franchise in recent years — but may very well not.

First up, however, Paul George returns to Indiana in a Thunder uniform Wednesday night.

There’s little doubt how he will be greeted by Indiana fans, who felt betrayed by a man they stuck by through recovery from a severe injury. George knows what is coming,

Here are the key lines from PG13:

“Boos. I honestly wouldn’t think it would be any other way. The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans. That’s what I’m looking forward to. For whatever reason, I’ll be booed, but I’m gonna embrace that. I’m gonna thrive on that.”

For whatever reason? You asked to be traded and fans take that personally. There is no loyalty in sports — I have no problem with players asking out because teams show no hesitancy in dumping players they no longer have a use for (and fans are almost always good with that) — but he had to know how this would be taken in Indiana.

What George might want to worry about is stopping the red-hot Victor Oladipo (he averaged 35.7 points per game last week), because he and the Pacers are playing better than the Thunder right now.

Kawhi Leonard returns Tuesday on minutes restriction

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The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.

Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.

He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.

Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.

However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.

That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?

 

 

 

Pelicans’ Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with fibula fracture

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The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.

Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.

Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.

Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN: