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

Leave a comment

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.

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86

Associated Press
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth after their fifth straight victory, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

The Raptors, who came back from 15-point deficits to win each of their last two games, made it a little easier on themselves Saturday. Toronto scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in dealing the Mavericks’ playoff hopes a damaging blow.

Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for Dallas, which missed 18 of its first 22 3-pointers and finished just 7 of 28 from behind the arc.

Patrick Patterson added 14 points for Toronto, including a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.

The Mavericks fell four games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run made things more interesting.

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s free throws with 7:57 to go brought the Mavs within 79-74, the closest they had been since 7-2 early in the game. But Ibaka made consecutive jumpers to restore a nine-point lead, and Dallas got no closer than six after that.

The Raptors had their biggest lead at 42-26 in the first half. Barnes scored Dallas’ last 11 points of the half to help cut into the lead, but Toronto led 54-44 at the break.

J.J. Barea‘s long 3 at the third-quarter buzzer again brought Dallas within 10 at 74-64.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful that guard Kyle Lowry would return from wrist surgery before the end of the regular season. “I know he’s doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of work to keep his body in shape,” Casey said. “Just let him rehab, let him do his thing and trust our medical people.” Lowry has missed the last 16 games. . Toronto was also without starting forward DeMarre Carroll due to a sore lower back. P.J. Tucker started in his place.

Mavericks: Seth Curry with 11 points and Yogi Ferrell with 10 were the only other Mavs in double figures. . Nerlens Noel started his second game in a row at center for the Mavericks, who have gone to a big lineup. They’ve moved Dirk Nowitzki to power forward, Barnes to small forward and Curry to point guard.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY

The Mavericks took their 41st loss of the season. Their next loss will end the NBA’s second-longest streak of .500 or better seasons – currently at 16 seasons. Their last sub-.500 season was 1999-00, when they finished 40-42 and Mark Cuban became owner of the team in January 2000.

San Antonio has the longest streak of .500 or better seasons with 20, including this season.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT

Cuban couldn’t resist giving his opinion on Barea’s ejection from the Mavericks’ victory over the Clippers on Thursday night. Barea was called for a flagrant 2 foul for pushing Blake Griffin, a player with a 10-inch height advantage over Barea.

“I just feel bad for Blake,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to come back from a knockout like that. We sent flowers to his family, condolences. I can only guess that he’s going to be drinking through a straw for a long, long time.”

 

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
1 Comment

CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
1 Comment

Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

1 Comment

LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.