Baseline to Baseline recaps: The night of the living blowouts

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What you missed while planning to be one of the Joker’s henchmen

The Cavaliers historically bad performance against the Lakers is our Anti-Game of he Night.

The Hawks hosting the Bucks was postponed due to snow and will be played on March 15.

Wizards 136, Kings 133 (OT): This was more roller coaster than basketball — the Wizards were up 19 after on quarter (14 points for Nick Young in 10 minutes) and it looked like it was over. The second quarter was the Bizzaro first quarter with the Kings suddenly hot, they stormed back and were up by two at the break. Then the third quarter it was the Wizards turn again, with Young dropping 18 in the quarter (he had 43 for the game).

This time it really should have been over — the Wizards were up six with 14 seconds left. But then a Jermaine Taylor dunk, followed by a terrible inbound pass by Rashard Lewis that was stolen by Francisco Garcia, who converted it to an and-one, and suddenly it was a game again, and we soon were headed to overtime.

Kirk Hinrich had six in OT. Nobody played particularly well in this game, but it was entertaining.

Pacers 111, Sixers 103: Andre Iguodala was back, which is the good news for Philly. He shot 0-7 from the field, which is the bad news. This was another roller coaster game where the Pacers were up 16 in the third; the Sixers battled back to lead in the fourth.

The Pacers went on a 10-2 run late to seal it with Danny Granger and Darren Collison providing the spark. Which is what we expected to happen all season for the Pacers, but it’s been spotty.

Spurs 107, Timberwolves 96: The Spurs alternated between brilliant and sloppy all night, but that was enough to beat the Wolves. Crazy sequence of five quick technicals all on Minnesota at one point in the game, including two on Rambis sending him to the showers… or bar, or wherever coaches go. Some nights the quick-trigger refs are back.

Nuggets 132, Suns 98: There were boos for Carmelo Anthony, although maybe not as many as the last game. Really, the Pepsi Center was fairly quiet in the first half when the Suns opened up a double digit lead. The Nuggets may have had all five of the preseason planned starters for ready to go but it was the bench that sparked the run, and that became contagious. By the end of the night Denver had an offensive rating of 133 (points per 100 possessions), and they took over in the second half with ‘Melo dropping 12 in the third quarter and Arron Afflalo dropping 31.

Knicks 100, Trail Blazers 86: Ronny Turiaf played maybe his best game as a Knick defending the rim. Portland was a little flat as a team, they weren’t shooing well (looking at you, Wes Mathews) so they tried to get into the lane, and Turiaf was there to play one of his better games. You can get the idea in a stat — the Knicks shot 50 percent and he Suns just 34.9 percent.

Dirk Nowitzki on Mavericks sexual harassment allegations: “It’s very disappointing. It’s heartbreaking.”

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Dirk Nowitzki is the face of the Dallas Mavericks franchise, the best player in Dallas history, the future Hall of Famer who led them to a title.

Nowitzki was not named in the bombshell story detailing sexual harassment in the Mavericks’ workplace, nor were any of the players, coaching staff, or basketball operations people. It was all on the business side of the house. That doesn’t mean Nowitzki wasn’t going to be asked about it, as was done by Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

“It’s tough,” Nowitzki said after the team practiced at USC in advance of a Friday game against the Lakers. “It’s very disappointing. It’s heartbreaking. I’m glad it’s all coming out. I was disgusted when I read the article, obviously, as everybody was. I was shocked about some of the stuff.”

“So really, really disappointed that our franchise, that my franchise, that stuff like that was going on,” Nowitzki said. “It’s very sad and disappointing. But I think [Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban] is trying to step up and lead this franchise to the right direction, and that is hiring investigators, finding out all the little details that we have to know as a franchise what really was going on. I think Mark is going to step up here …

“As a franchise, obviously, we feel bad for the victims and for what happened to some of these ladies. Like I said, it’s truly, truly disgusting. Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with some of these victims.”

That’s exactly what Nowitzki (and the other players) should say. We are all disgusted having read what was going on, and clearly since the misconduct started with a former CEO it sets a tone for the organization that this is acceptable. It is not.

There would be no reason that Nowitzki and other players would have or should have had any idea what was going on over on the business side of the Mavericks organization. Mark Cuban on the other hand… there are still questions to answer, even if he is saying and doing the right things now.

LeBron James on 1-16 playoff seeding: ‘Let’s not get too crazy’

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The NBA’s first newly formatted All-Star game went well (especially for LeBron James). It’ll probably go even better next year when the All-Star draft is televised.

Adam Silver also discussed breaking from another tradition – playoffs divided by conference. The NBA commissioner said 1-16 seeding has gotten “serious attention” from the league office.

LeBron, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:

“I would disagree with that,” James said Wednesday afternoon following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first practice since the break. “I think our league has been built the right way as far as when it comes to the postseason.”

“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game, we proved you can do that, but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs. You have Eastern Conference and you have Western Conference. You have Eastern Conference champions, you have guys from the Eastern Conference that win the big dance and sometimes you have it from the West as well.”

LeBron has won seven straight Eastern Conference titles, usually traversing an easier road to the NBA Finals than the Western Conference champion. With the West projecting to remain better for the foreseeable future, does this hint LeBron plans to stay East and wants to keep his advantage? Remaining with the Cavaliers seems slightly more likely now, though maybe LeBron will leave for the 76ers or some other Eastern Conference team. I doubt he knows yet, but I also think he cares about his conference-title streak for legacy reasons – to the point it could affect his free agency. So, this could be preemptive lobbying.

In the past, LeBron has had Silver’s ear. But Silver specifically said in Los Angeles he wasn’t concerned with the tradition issues LeBron raises.

I’m not either.

The NBA has always split the postseason by East and West, but teams have been too fluid between the conferences to feel beholden to the current setup. Current Eastern Conference teams Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic have all been in the Western Conference while in their current locations. And vice versa with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. (The New Orleans Hornets were in the Eastern Conference before they became the Pelicans and surrendered their history to Charlotte, and the Pelicans are now in the West.)

To Silver, the obstacle is travel. Concern is frequently raised about the possible effects of cross-coast playoff series.

I’m more concerned about the regular season.

Right now, teams play 52 intra-conference and 30 inter-conference. To most logically implement 1-16 seeding, the NBA would have to balance the regular-season schedule. That not only means more travel, it means more awkward start times due to time-zone difference. East Coast fans don’t want to stay up until 10 p.m. to watch their favorite team tip off during Western Conference road trips. West Coast fans don’t want to rush home from work or school to see their favorite team tip off at 4 p.m. during Eastern Conference road trips.

And then there’s the biggest and maybe only real issue: It’s virtually impossible to see enough Eastern Conference owners, who benefit from the current format, voting to change it.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.