Warriors Magic

Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Warriors are awesome in the first half, but that last 24….

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What you missed while wondering what to do with your PowerBalance bracelet

Magic 110, Warriors 90: If new Golden State owner Joe Lacob petitions the league to shorten games to 24 minutes, you can’t blame him — the Warriors have led the Heat and Magic at the half in their last two games. And lost both. Hedo Turkoglu had a triple double in the win — Stan Van Gundy’s offense just utilizes him so much better than he was used in Toronto or Phoenix. He’s not a great player, he’s solid but put in the right circumstance (the ball handler on the high pick-and-roll, not spot up shooter) he has value.

Heat 96, Bobcats 82: Considering who was out for the Bobcats — Gerald Wallace, Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop, which means you are starting Kwame Brown and counting on a big night from Tyrus Thomas — the fact they hung in this game for a quarter and a half is impressive. Then they missed 18 shots in a row (second and third quarters), and that will pretty much do you in against anyone, let alone the Heat.

LeBron James had 26 points and 9 boards in the second half alone, (38 points for the game) and after one big dunk stared right at Michael Jordan. You can imagine how impressed MJ is with big dunks in January.

Celtics 96, Timberwolves 93: Nobody shot well in this one — they Celtics were just missing some shots they normally knock down — and the Timberwolves grabbed offensive rebounds on 36 percent of their missed shots to keep themselves in it. Kevin Love finished with 24 rebounds, the most anybody has ever gotten in the TD Garden.

Minnesota took the “back off Rondo and let him shoot the jumper” strategy to the extreme — Rondo would be 16 feet out and Luke Ridnour was still six feet off him. In the final minutes that came back to bite them, Boston started isolating Rondo on the wing and on one play he got a bounce pass (and ugly bounce pass) through to Shaq for a basket, on another play he got a wide open floater from 8 feet to fall, and he got a wide-open 16 footer to drop. The book is to encourage Rondo to take a jumper but someone has to contest it. Also, he had 16 assists because he had time to work.

Hornets 84, Sixers 77: The Sixers bench shot 20 percent in this one. The entire Philly team shot just 34.1 percent for the game, but the bench was atrocious, led by Evan Turner’s 2-14 and Lou Williams 1-11.

Jazz 102, Pistons 97: Pistons are down three, 50 seconds left and Ben Gordon is on the bench. Why is that exactly? You may want your best three-point shooter on the floor when you need a three. Just a thought.

Key difference in this one is that the Jazz attacked — they got 11 more trips to the free throw and scored 13 more from the stripe in the win. Deron Williams with 22 and 10 to pace Utah.

Nuggets 114, Rockets 106: Denver got to the free throw line 19 more times than the Rockets, that was the real difference. Chase Budinger had 11 points in the second quarter alone.

Pau Gasol calls joining Spurs “an interesting option”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 29:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Chicago Bulls watches the action during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Marc Gasol thinks his brother Pau Gasol — who will opt out to become a free agent this summer and bolt Chicago — should join the San Antonio Spurs.

Pau doesn’t think that’s a bad idea.

Speaking with the Spanish sports publication Marca, Gasol said the Spurs would be “an interesting option for me.” (Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Gasol put up numbers — 16.5 points and 11 rebounds a game — at age 36, he still has great post moves, can still pass, and is still fairly efficient on offense. He was an All-Star for a reason. But he’s also a liability at the defensive end. Where he lands as a free agent should be about fit.

Pau would fit with the Spurs — if he was willing to come off the bench. Which is probably what should have happened in Chicago (with Joakim Noah starting for defensive reasons). As a first big off the bench Gasol can lift a team up, but if he’s out there 31 minutes or more a night as a starter — as he was in Chicago last season — he’s going to get exposed a lot defensively.

Do the Spurs want him is another question?

Is Gasol willing to accept coming off the bench behind LaMarcus Aldridge? Or does he need to be a starter? And will he take less money to contend? Gasol has some questions to answer.

Stephen Curry says he will try to return faster than two weeks

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry watches while standing on the bench during the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets Monday, April 18, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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So far, the Golden State Warriors have looked just fine — thank you very much — without one Stephen Curry in the lineup. And as Dan Feldman and I discussed in the latest PBT podcast, they likely will be able to handle the Portland Trail Blazers without him as well. They don’t need to rush him back.

But Curry is rushing himself back and wants to beat the two-week timeline for his strained MCL that the doctors put out there, reports Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

Coach Steve Kerr said Curry looked good in treatment but did not do any work on the court.

Athletes are the worst people to ask about their own recovery timelines; they don’t get to top levels of their sport without supreme confidence and a certain feeling of invulnerability. They are always sure they can bounce back faster than the doctors say — sometimes that’s true, but not often.

So long as the Warriors are not pressured by Portland (sorry Clipper fans, you’re not advancing without CP3 and Griffin), they are under no pressure to rush him back. That second round series is expected to start Sunday in the Bay Area, if the Warriors can hold serve through the first two games then they can keep Curry on the sidelines for a couple of weeks, let the knee rest completely, and bring him back on their own terms.

The Warriors will need him back for the Conference Finals and beyond, but more than that this is a Golden State team set up to be a contender for the next four or five years, you don’t want to create a bigger problem for future years pushing too hard for a title this season if he’s not right.

PBT Podcast: Thunder/Spurs, Hawks/Cavs, and Game 6s talk with Dan Feldman

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - OCTOBER 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder tries to block Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter of a NBA game at the Chesapeake Energy Center on October 28, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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 J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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Friday night sees some big Game 6s across the NBA playoffs — Indiana has the best chance of forcing a Game 7 — but everyone is looking ahead to Oklahoma vs. San Antonio in the next round.

That includes Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com, who in this latest podcast discuss that series and the Atlanta and Cleveland series that tips off next week. Also they talk about the Friday night Game 6 matchups, and if Portland could beat Golden State if the Warriors do not get Stephen Curry back.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Report: Celtics believe they’ll get meeting with Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) looks to move on Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The Thunder won 130-109. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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The Celtics will chase Kevin Durant this summer.

Will it work?

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:

Ainge will be aggressive in free agency, team sources told The Vertical, and yes, that means a run at Kevin Durant. The Celtics believe Durant will meet with them this summer, but they know that meeting won’t accomplish much unless there are significant moves leading into it.

The Celtics are optimistic about meeting with Durant. The Warriors are optimistic about signing Durant.

That might just speak to different mindsets within the organizations – why shouldn’t Golden State be confident about everything? – but it also might handicap the odds of Durant’s next team. The Warriors definitely appear more likely than the Celtics.

Boston has plenty going for it: Brad Stevens, a solid young roster, extra draft picks (including the Nets’ first-rounder this year) and cap flexibility. But Durant wants to win now, so those more youthful assets mean only so much. It’s on Danny Ainge to prove he can turn that cap space into another helpful player, deal a Brooklyn pick or two for a veteran. That would become much easier if the Celtics win the lottery.

There’s a lot happening at once. If Durant isn’t coming, Boston might prefer to keep its draft picks and build slowly. Other free agents might not come. But if Durant is on board, that makes trades preferable and other free agents landable.

Of course, Durant should be the top option.

It appears the Celtics at least have their foot in the door.