Sasha Pavlovic

Sasha Pavlovic scores another 10-day contract with Dallas

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UPDATE (5:27 PM EST): Marc Stein of reported that the Mavericks have received a verbal commitment from Peja Stojakovic, who was just waived by the Toronto Raptors this afternoon, to join the team. That’s not a rosy development for Pavlovic, who will almost surely be released at the conclusion of his second 10-day contract.

4:31 PM EST: When Caron Butler was essentially ruled out for the rest of the season, the Mavs needed to find a way to fill minutes until Rodrigue Beaubois was eventually able to return from a foot injury that has sidelined him up to this point. DeShawn Stevenson jumped into the fray and thrived, but Dallas needed more help still. Jason Terry couldn’t log overtime minutes, if only because he was fighting his way out of a slump. Rookie Dominique Jones tried his hand, but has faced serious issues finishing around the rim and doesn’t have much of a jump shot. The deep, veteran roster Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban, and Rick Carlisle had assembled suddenly looked quite limited, and an injury to Dirk Nowitzki put an unfair amount of pressure on the Mavs supporting cast. Dallas boasts a solid complementary group, but they just didn’t have the offense to overcome the absences of both Butler and Nowitzki.

Yet when 10-day contract season arrived, the Mavs inked Sasha Pavlovic as a short-term option. Pavlovic is not a prolific scorer, and in some of his seasons has been reduced to a bit of a three-point specialist. He was not going to fill in significant minutes on the wing, or provide the Mavs with any kind of instant offense. He seemed like an odd fit, to say the least; his skills are a bit redundant with DeShawn Stevenson already on-board and playing well, and Pavlovic doesn’t generate much offense of his own.

But Pavlovic has played well for Dallas during his short stay, and definitely justified another 10 days with the team — which he was granted, as the team announced this morning — on the strength of his 11-point, three-rebound performance last night against the Lakers. Pavlovic actually joined the starting lineup thanks to Rick Carlisle’s decision to move Shawn Marion back to the bench, and he responded with 5-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes of action. Last night aside, Pavlovic had only made a basket here and there, but he played well in his first round with extended minutes. Based on the strength of last night’s performance, it should be interesting to see if Carlisle elects to keep Pavlovic in the starting five. A vote of confidence that pronounced would certainly bode well for Pavlovic’s long-term chances with the Mavs, and as long as he continues to compete defensively and hit his open looks, Pavlovic seems to have a pretty decent shot of sticking on the roster.

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.