Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Arron Afflalo kills the Mavericks streak


What you missed while wondering if your dog ate your toes….

The Lakers getting a win — not a statement, just a win — against Boston is our Game of the Night.

Mavericks 121, Nuggets 120: Arron Afflalo is a great story. Back at UCLA he was the man — they ran him off double screens (like Boston does with Ray Allen) to get him open, he was the guy the offense was built around.. The NBA was cold water splashed across his face, here he was just another guy. He had to carve out a new identity for himself. A lot of guys fail at that. Afflalo is just a good guy with a great work ethic who transformed himself into a quality NBA role player. He’s a plus defender, he sets the screens and he waits for his catch-and-shoot three opportunities.

With 16 seconds left and the Nuggets down one to Dallas — and Carmelo Anthony fouled out after maybe his best game of the season with 42 points — Denver’s plan was to have Chauncey Billups come off the high screen of Nene and create, but Billups slipped a little and Tyson Chandler defended it beautifully and the play blew up. Billups was forced to pass to the only open guy near him, Afflalo. Shawn Marion closed out like he expected another catch-and-shoot but Afflalo took one hard dribble to his left to create space, rose up and drained the jumper from 19 feet.

Ballgame. And the Nuggets ended the Mavs win streak at 10 in what was a wildly entertaining shooting display where neither team could seem to miss and the tempo was up.

Suns 112, Warriors 88: The Suns were motivated — win and they were .500 on the season. Golden State was on the second night of a back-to-back and was flat. The result is a spanking. The Warriors shot 40 percent as a team and the best three-point shooting team in the league hit 30 percent on the night. Steve Nash was vintage.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.

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When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton
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If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.