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.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith
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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

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Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.