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.

Cory Joseph drains game-winning three at buzzer for Raptors (VIDEO)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Cory Joseph made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors an 84-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for the Raptors, who before Joseph’s 3 had not led since early in the first quarter.

Joseph took DeMar DeRozan‘s pass in the corner and nailed the winning shot. He finished with 12 points as Toronto won its fourth straight despite tying a season high with 22 turnovers

Bradley Beal scored 20 points for Washington, which lost its fourth straight despite allowing its fewest points of the season.

John Wall added eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, but missed a pair of late free throws that opened the door for Toronto to win in regulation.

With 3.0 seconds left following those misses and a timeout, DeRozan got the ball, drove toward the baseline and kicked the ball out to Joseph in the left corner. Joseph rose and sank his 3-pointer as time expired.

Washington failed to hit a field goal over the final 4:24 to fall to 1-8 in its last nine regular-season games against Toronto. The Wizards did sweep the Raptors in the first round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

Toronto trailed by as many as 10 before Lowry’s 3-pointer from the left wing tied it at 70-all early in the fourth.

Washington answered with a 10-2 run before Toronto scored the next seven points, with Lowry’s 3-pointer off DeRozan’s kickout making it 80-79.

After DeRozan and Lowry each missed shots with a chance to take the lead, Wall and DeRozan traded free throws. But Wall missed a pair next, setting up the final sequence.


James hits game-winner, Cavs edge Nets (VIDEO)


CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James made a running hook shot with a second left and scored 26 points, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 90-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

After Joe Johnson‘s three foul shots tied the game with 15.2 seconds left, the Cavaliers called timeout and took the ball at midcourt.

James took the inbounds pass, dribbled to the top of the key before cutting to the right of the lane and hitting a hook shot over Brook Lopez, the Nets’ 7-foot center.

James scored 10 points and added a key steal late in the game to help Cleveland (13-4) remain unbeaten at home in nine games.

Kevin Love also scored 26 points for Cleveland, which played a sluggish first half and didn’t take its first lead until midway through the third quarter.

Lopez led Brooklyn (4-12) with 22 points. Johnson added 17 for the Nets, who fell to 1-10 on the road.

Tristan Thompson‘s basket with 1:13 remaining gave Cleveland an 86-85 lead and James made two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Johnson was fouled by J.R. Smith attempting a 3-pointer.

Johnson hit all three foul shots, but James made sure the Nets’ strong effort fell short.

James helped Cleveland rally from an 83-76 deficit in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and a three-point play before the Cavaliers took the lead on Thompson’s basket with 2:44 remaining.

Brooklyn built the lead to double figures in the second quarter and led 50-44 at halftime. Cleveland took its first lead at 61-60 on Love’s 3-pointer midway through the third. Matthew Dellavedova‘s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 69-68 lead going into the final period.

Mo Williams scored 14 points for the Cavaliers while Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets.


Scott Skiles says he would not have traded Tobias Harris to Magic

Tobias Harris, O.J. Mayo
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Back at the start of the season in 2012 and into early 2013, Tobias Harris was buried on the bench in Milwaukee — glued there by coach Scott Skiles. At the trade deadline that February, the Bucks sent Harris to Orlando  — where he blossomed into a quality forward that is part of the Magic’s future.

The Magic now coached by Scott Skiles.

Did Skiles want Harris moved at the time? No, he told Journal Sentinel (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He was pretty mature as a person even then,” Skiles said of Harris, who left Tennessee after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. “In camp he got sick; he fell behind.

“At that time, we just felt (Luc) Mbah a Moute was a better defender and (Mike) Dunleavy was a better offensive player, and Tobias didn’t get as many minutes. But we were high on him.

“Not that anybody would have listened to me, but if I would have still been the coach, I would not have been for moving Tobias. That’s for sure, if somebody would ask my opinion.”

Skiles was under pressure to win back then in Milwaukee (he was let go at the end of the season) so you can’t be surprised he was playing the veterans he trusted over the young player who would be making mistakes.

Skiles trusts Harris now; he’s giving him more than 30 minutes a night. While he’s played some small four to start the season, Skiles has switched the lineups and now has Harris starting at the three (Channing Frye is at the four). In that role he has averaged 18 points through two games, Harris has looked more comfortable. We’ll see if that sustains, but you know Skiles is giving him a chance.


DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.