Baseline to Baseline Weekend Edition 1.24.11: Light armor

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What happened while you were watching that Haines guy no one knew about before Sunday…

Friday

Hornets 100 Hawks 59: There. I’ve mentioned it one more time. Now let’s never speak of it again.

Celtics 110 Jazz 86: It’s rare that a loss to the best team in the Eastern Conference on the road is really hard to swallow, but this was yet another disappointing effort from the Jazz.  Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were completely neutralized by the Celtics’ front line, and Deron Williams had a bad night against Rondo. The Celtics looked every bit like they would not be having those lost nights in January this year.

Saturday

Wizards 85 Celtics 83: … Or not. The Celtics’ offense completely melted into nothingness while John Wall made several huge plays down the stretch. First he tip-stole a pass from Rondo on a rebound to secure another possession and burn clock, then he drained a bank three (which he did not call glass on) which wound up icing it. But hey, the Wizards will take it any way they can get it. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce whiffed on a step back elbow J, the kind he never misses on.  Huge win for the Wizards.

Hornets 96 Spurs 72: The first quarter of this game should never be discussed again, ever. It was 13-12 after the first quarter and the defense wasn’t even really that good. It was just the Spurs and Hornets missing lots of shots. And the Spurs kept up that strategy for the rest of the game. For two teams that have played so well lately, this was a terrible performance on both sides, but Chris Paul took over, and Emeka Okafor did his thing and the Hornets got away with this one. Bad loss for the best team in the West.

Thunder 101 Knicks 98: I could talk to you about the Knicks’ incredible series of poor decisions offensively down the stretch. I could talk to you about Serge Ibaka and his work on the offensive glass garnering the Thunder way more possessions than they should have had. I can talk to you about Nick Collison’s work on Amar’e Stoudemire which helped confound him late. But really, this is all you need to know:

Warriors complained of no water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington:

Report: James Harden, Chris Paul and Gerald Green were holding back Trevor Ariza in back hallway

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Rockets players James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and Chris Paul reportedly went through a back hallway to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room after last night’s game.

That’s one version of the story, at least.

But it apparently isn’t the only one – at least when it comes to Harden’s, Green’s and Paul’s involvement.

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.

ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates—Harden, Paul and Gerald Green—but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Harden was sitting out his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring on Monday night, and Rockets sources believe that he’ll be ready for a return to the lineup on Thursday night against Minnesota.

Austin Rivers challenging Ariza is juicy, but the type of thing people say during altercations. The rest of this sounds like the Rockets trying to position themselves ahead of the NBA handing down punishments.

If they were just trying to restrain Ariza, then Harden, Paul and Green shouldn’t be fined or suspended. But if Harden is suspended, he could serve his penalty Thursday – even if the Rockets are fibbing about him being ready to play (though they at least previously laid the groundwork for that one).

There’s a lot for the league to untangle.

Russell Westbrook ejected (video)

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Russell Westbrook jumped from fifth to second in the NBA in technical fouls in about two seconds.

The Thunder star received two technical fouls and an automatic ejection late in Oklahoma City’s win over the Kings last night, leaving his nine technical fouls behind only Draymond Green‘s 11.

Westbrook got hit in the face on a drive, but instead of a foul being called on Sacramento, Westbrook was whistled for travelling. That’s quite a turnaround from the expected call to the actual call, so I understand why Westbrook was so upset. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook said something that warranted ejection. Thunder coach Billy Donovan also got a technical foul in the sequence.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

The league used to crack down on that more with public fines, but the Thunder have skirted the rule this season.