Baseline to Baseline recaps: Injuries or not, Dallas just keeps rolling along

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What you missed while contemplating that Elton John is now a father

The Bobcats winning their first game under Paul Silas is our game of the night.

Mavericks 103, Thunder 93: Dirk Nowitzki went down in the second quarter — the Mavs are saying it is not serious but he is going to have an MRI anyway — however that didn’t slow Dallas. Shawn Marion scored 20 on 10 of 15 shooting in Dirk’s spot, and Jason Terry hit some key shots late. Their zone defense gave the Thunder some fits late.

Magic 104, Nets 88: Hedo Turkoglu looked terrible in the first couple of games after the trade to bring him back to Orlando, but he now has shot better than 50 percent three straight games and had 20 in this one.

Grizzlies 96, Raptors 85: Memphis won this game at the free throw line — their 28 attempts were twice what Toronto had. They got to the line because the Griz were more aggressive getting to the rim (learn that lesson kids — good things happen when you are aggressive).

Hawks 95, Bucks 80: Another day, another Hawks win over a below .500 team. Atlanta shot 55 percent in the first quarter compared to the Bucks 37, putting Atlanta up big early and they never looked back.

Timberwolves 113, Hornets 98: Just one of those nights for the Hornets — Chris Paul and David West (45 points between them) did their thing but everyone else was ice cold. Marcus Thornton was 3-11 missing shots he can hit. Meanwhile the Wolves were hitting shots easy and hard. Wesley Johnson was 6 of 8 from three for 24 points. Just that kind of night.

Rockets 100, Wizards 93: I don’t know who won the fight these two had but Andray Blatch brought his fight to the court with 17 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. JaVale McGee on the other hand was 1-of-5 for 2 points. The Rockets won this one with 12-2 and 8-0 runs in the fourth quarter to come from behind.

Trail Blazers 96, Jazz 91: There was a time not so long ago where the Jazz were almost unbeatable at home. Those days are long gone, apparently. The Blazers did this without Marcus Camby who rolled his ankle and left the game, but tweeted afterwards that his ankle “should be good” and he “should be back soon.”

Clippers 100, Kings 99: Up three with 5 seconds left, the Clippers substituted in Ryan Gomes for defensive purposes — and with one second left he fouls Tyreke Evans who is in the process of shooting a three. So we have Evans with three free throws to send the game to overtime. Makes the first. Makes the second. Misses the third, DeMarcus Cousins had a shot at a tip in that missed, Evans grabbed that rebound and had a little 10-footer that missed. The Kings find another heartbreaking way to lose.

Warriors 110, Sixers 95: Monta Ellis can pass, too. He had 12 dimes on top of his 22 points.

Rumor: Paul George told former Pacers teammates he wanted to join the Lakers

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Paul George to the Lakers is a capital-T thing.

George is from Southern California, and he keeps indicating his dissatisfaction with the Pacers. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Even Lakers president Magic Johnson is talking about George.

Where do rumors like this originate?

Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:

A SoCal native, he’s been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time. He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.

Did George say he dreamed of playing for the Lakers growing up? Did he say it’d be cool to join his boyhood favorite team if the situation presented itself? Or did he say he wanted to get the heck out of Indiana to join the Lakers as soon as possible?

There are so many ways his comments to teammates could get misconstrued as they get passed down in the game of telephone.

But the Lakers threat – to whatever degree it’s real – looms, and it’ll impact how the Pacers handle their offseason.

Jazz call deactivating Jeff Withey, who was accused of domestic violence, ‘strategic basketball-related decision’

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Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.

Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:

The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”

Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.

Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.

Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.