Gilbert Arenas, Jeff Teague

Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Magic need a little more practice together.

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What you missed while wondering what happens when architects play too much Tetris…

Dallas beating the Heat again — hey, have another team meeting! — is our game of the night.

Hawks 91, Magic 81: It’s going to take some time for the Magic to figure this all out. They started Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Brandon Bass and Dwight Howard, brining Gilbert Arenas off the bench. They looked like a team just thrown together, the Hawks looked like a team that has been together for a while.

One quick note on Arenas, who was 2-11 on the night: He is a player that falls into the Kobe Bryant corollary — the higher his shot attempts, usually the worse it is for the team because he is forcing shots. There seemed to be moments of that here. He and the Magic may well find a balance.

Wizards 108, Bobcats 75: The trade that sent Arenas out and brought Rashard Lewis in (Lewis did not play) seems to have energized the Wizards. Call it the Ewing Theory (as John Wall is still out and will be for at least another week) but there is something there.

Pacers 94, Hornets 93: When these two teams get together it is just going to be good. In this one there was 30 seconds left when David West’s old-school three pointer  put the Hornets up two, followed by a James Posey three to put the Pacers up one with 16 seconds left. Then there was Chris Paul recognizing the double and hitting West again for a jumper that put the Hornets back up by one with 3.9 left. There was Danny Granger getting a good look, his shot rimming out and Michael Dunleavy being there for the game-winning tip in as the clock expired. These teams should play more often.

Jazz 101, Cavaliers 90: Welcome back Raja Bell, we missed you. He had 19 and was 5 of 6 from three.

Spurs 118, Suns 110: 40 was the big number for the Spurs in this one. As in they scored 40 points in the third quarter alone to pull away. Or they dominated inside as evidenced by the fact the Spurs grabbed the offensive rebound on 40 percent of their missed shots.

Gary Neal scored 22 points off the bench for the Spurs. Jared Dudley started for the Suns and had 27.

Trail Blazers 106, Bucks 80: The Bucks search for offense may have gone from desperate to futile with the news Brandon Jennings is out. The Bucks shot 38 percent on the night and floundered despite a good game from John Salmons (23 on 8-of-13 shooting). LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 for the Blazers.

Rockets 119, Warriors 112: Defense be damned, these two teams combined to score 77 points in the fourth quarter alone. Monta Ellis made fantasy owners happy with 44 points on 15 of 20 shooting, but the Rockets were just deeper.

Clippers 113, Timberwolves 90: Yes, there were a couple of the obligatory Blake Griffin dunks in this one. But what really had to impress is that he drew the double team from the Wolves and he recognized it and hit the open man leading to seven assists. They guy is more than just an athlete, he’s a basketball player.

Cavaliers’ defense foundation for blowout win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland blitzed Toronto from the opening tip.

Literally.

Cleveland cranked up their defensive pressure by getting back to aggressively blitzing Raptors’ guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan every time they came off a pick. Or they would chase DeRozan over the top of the pick and trail him, never letting him get comfortable to pull up from the midrange. Whatever the defensive scheme, the Cavaliers were physical with Lowry and DeRozan — the pair was 4-of-14 shooting in the first half.

From the start, the Cavaliers defense dictated the flow of the game and set the tone for a 38-point blowout win.

It is that defense they will need to close out this series on the road Friday night.

“We understood that coming back from Game 3 and Game 4 we just didn’t play our defense the right way,” LeBron James said after the game. “We didn’t play how we should have played, and they took advantage of every moment. We had to get back to our staple; we had to get back to what we wanted to do defensively in order for us to play a complete game. That’s the most satisfying thing, the way we defended, holding these guys to 39 percent shooting.”

Defense triggered the offensive runs by the Cavaliers in the first half — Cleveland had eight steals and scored 20 points off turnovers before halftime. Playing with a renewed energy, the Cavs did a fantastic job fighting over screens and disrupting plays, and they closed out on shooters at the arc. It was their best defensive game of the series. It was the polar opposite of how they played in Toronto.

“I think our intensity picked up, our aggressiveness picked up, we were very physical to start the game and it just kind of led to us getting out in transition, us getting steals and getting easy baskets,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

“They were locked in, from the start to the finish,” according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey.”The force that they play with is different here and we didn’t meet it.”

Back home and with their backs against the wall, you can expect a very different, very desperate Raptors team. Lowry and DeRozan will shoot better.

But if the Cavaliers pack their defense and take it north of the border this time, they should close out the series.

LeBron James was dunking all over the Raptors (VIDEO)

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With their defense creating turnovers to get breaks — and the Raptors’ defense just breaking down — the Cavaliers put on a dunking exhibition against Toronto Wednesday.

LeBron James led the way, with 23 points and plenty of dunks. Here is another.

To change things up, here is an and-1.

Cavaliers retake series lead at home with rout of Raptors

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket in the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Eastern Conference Finals have been all about the comforts of home. Through five games between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, the home team has come out on top convincingly every time. Wednesday’s Game 5 was no different, with the Cavs destroying the Raptors, 116-78 to take a 3-2 series lead.

After a pair of awful games in Toronto, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving stepped up at home to score 25 and 23 points, respectively, to go along with 23 from LeBron James. The big production from their stars was enough to keep the Raptors at bay — the only other Cavs player to score in double figures was Richard Jefferson, who had 11 points, but it didn’t matter.

On the other side, after coming up huge at home in Games 3 and 4, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 7-for-20 from the field Wednesday, and nobody else did much to pick up the slack. After not trailing by 30 at a half at any point this season, Toronto trailed by 31 at halftime, and the lead ballooned to 100-60 at the end of the third quarter. From the beginning, this game was one-sided.

The Cavs can close out the series on the road on Friday, ensuring James’ sixth straight trip to the Finals. But the Raptors have been a different team at home during this series, and in a do-or-die situation they should come out with more fight. It’s hard to imagine things going much worse than they did Wednesday.

Report: Joakim Noah having “positive dialogue” with Bulls about future

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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And the spin keeps on happening.

First came the report that Joakim Noah was telling teammates he was out of Chicago. Followed by Noah’s agent — the person charged with keeping Noah’s options open — saying that was not true.

Now comes team management — the people who said they want to keep Noah with the Bulls — saying the sides are still talking, and they want him to stay. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Veteran Bulls center Joakim Noah, his representatives and the Chicago front office continue to have a “positive dialogue” about a new contract amid a report that Noah has been telling teammates he’s ready to leave the franchise, a league source told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Those close to Noah, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, are still hopeful that he will be able to work out an agreement to stay in Chicago long term.

I’m going to let you in on a real insider bit of knowledge on what team Noah will play for next season:

Whatever team pays him the most money.

I know, it’s crazy, but sometimes people make a decision about where to work based on pay. Right now, everything is posturing. Come July 1, money will go on the table, and then Noah will know just how badly the Bulls want to keep him vs. other teams wanting to bring him in. Once the money is out there, if things are roughly even, then minutes and role on the team, lifestyle, weather and all the rest come into play.

But Puffy had it right — it’s all about the Benjamins.