Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Bosh gets cheers, boos, win in Toronto

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What you missed while seeing The King’s Speech

The Cavaliers stunning win over the Lakers was our Game of the Night…

Heat 103, Raptors 95: Chris Bosh blew kisses to the crowd and got a mixed reaction of boos and cheers. What that tells us is Toronto is not Cleveland.

The Heat worked hard to get Bosh the ball where he could score (he finished with 25 points) but that made them look disjointed at times. So did the Raptors zone defense. But the Heat still scored at a rate the Raptors could not match. Andrea Bargnani was the pick-and-pop king on his way to 38 points on 26 shots, and DeMar DeRozan slashed his to 24 more points. The rest of the Raptors combined to shoot 29.3 percent and that did not get it done.

Magic 101, Wizards 76: The Magic turned John Wall into a scorer — he had 27 points on 17 shots. But he had just one assist. He was not facilitating and the Wizards shot 34.9 percent on the night. Meanwhile Dwight Howard had 32 points on just 15 shots and he was hitting his free throws. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee were overmatched.

Celtics 94, Nets 80: Paul Pierce was making up for his one-point game against the Heat — he had 10 in the first quarter. The Nets were not going to roll over though, this game was tied at the half and after three. Then midway through the fourth quarter Boston went on a 16-0 run that coincided with Pierce’s return to the game and he has seven points during it (he was just attacking the rim). The other key in this one: The Nets got 15 free throws to the Celtics 39. That wasn’t the refs, that was Boston attacking on offense and playing good defense.

There are some nights you really see the potential of what Brook Lopez could be.

Knicks 102, Hawks 90: This was a pretty big beat down — New York had a double-digit lead the entire fourth quarter. The Hawks did not stop the Knicks in transition well and gave them open looks in the half court which the Knicks knocked down

Pistons 115, Pacers 109 (OT): For the second night in a row the Pacers got off to a slow start — this time down 11 after one quarter — and fought back only to lose. The Pistons led the entire second half until a Darren Collison layup with 15 seconds left tied it up. In the overtime the Pistons got points from Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon were the leaders, while Danny Granger was the only Pacer to score.

Clippers 98, Timberwolves 90: The Clippers really miss the steady play Eric Gordon gives them at the two. So when his replacement Randy Foye hit 6-of-14 shots for 21 points the Clippers are back in business. The Clippers dominated the second half and Blake Griffin had 15 points during that time.

Mavericks 116, Kings 100: Dallas’ depth was on display Wednesday — five guys off the Dallas bench scored in double figures. The most interesting of those was Roddy Beaubois, who had 13 in his season debut.

Sixers 114, Rocket 105: The Sixers were spreading it around — four guys with more than 16 points, seven in double digits. Andre Iguodala was big part of that, finishing with 10 assists and a triple double. The Rockets had their guys — Kyle Lowry torched Jrue Holliday for 36 points on 18 shots, Luis Scola added 26. But the Sixers were the better team in this one.

Nuggets 94, Bucks 87: Nets/Knicks fans, this was a very Carmelo Anthony night this is what you’re getting — he had 38 points but it took 30 shots to get there. He got 12 boards as well. It was good if not an efficient or pretty win for a Nuggets team that may look very different the next time they suit up for a game.

Warriors 107, Jazz 100: Golden State had 26 wins last season, they got to 26 with this victory. That is progress.

With both teams on the second night of a back-to-back it was going to be about energy levels late. Monta Ellis is a closer and had 11 of his 35 in the fourth quarter. He helped spark a 10-2 fourth quarter run that pretty much decided this one.

The Jazz are 2-6 in February and need the All-Star break maybe more than any other team.

Trail Blazers 103, Hornets 96: As LaMarcus Aldridge goes, so go the Blazers. He had 13 first quarter points, they were up nine. He had 12 in the fourth quarter and behind a 17-5 run the Trail Blazers win it. Andre Miller had 10 in the final quarter also. Chris Paul with just 8 points and 5 assists.

Report: D-League All-Star, Magic call-up Keith Appling arrested with loaded AK-47 in strip club

Orlando Magic's Keith Appling (15) makes a shot in front of Philadelphia 76ers' Jerami Grant (39) and Nerlens Noel (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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If you’re on the fringe of the NBA, trying to get teams to take a chance on you, this is the opposite of what you should do.

Former Michigan State star Keith Appling, who last season was a D-League All-Star for the Erie Bay Hawks and got a couple of 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic, has reportedly been arrested and is still in jail in Dearborn, Michigan, for allegedly taking a loaded assault rifle into an area strip club. (Dearborn police have not yet responded to NBC’s request for confirmation. Some Michigan outlets with sources in the area do have confirmation but few details.) This is how the story broke:

If true, Appling has much bigger problems then getting an invite to an NBA training camp next fall.

Byron Scott says he felt “a little” blindsided by Lakers’ firing

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott watches play against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Lakers fans were demanding it. Logic dictated it — even the questionable talent did not fully explain why Byron Scott could not get the Lakers to defend, they had one of the two worst defenses in the NBA each of his two seasons as coach.

Still, Byron Scott said he was blindsided by his firing by the Los Angeles Lakers, something he said on the Dan Patrick Show this morning (video above).

Scott makes a couple of valid points. First, the Lakers did take their time after the season (letting good coaches get snapped up elsewhere) while making this call, giving the impression Scott might be safe.

Second, the Lakers did not give Scott much talent to work with. I don’t care if you resurrected Red Auerbach and John Wooden and had them tag team as the coach, these Lakers were not making the playoffs. Scott was brought in to both shepherd the Kobe farewell years — he did that exactly as management wanted — and start to develop the young talent on the team, building a foundation for the future. That is where he fell short, both in terms of building a defensive foundation or forming a strong relationship with the young Lakers, most notably D'Angelo Russell.

Scott discussed his relationship with Russell, too.

It’s far too early to say how good a coach Luke Walton will be for the Lakers, but it’s safe to say he’s an upgrade over Scott. In that way, the Lakers made the right move.

Barack Obama calls Wizards about coaching job in White House correspondents’ dinner video

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From practically the moment they fired Randy Wittman (and probably before that), the Wizards appeared locked in on Scott Brooks as their next coach. They pursued him hard and convinced him to accept the job.

But did they miss out on a better known candidate in the process?

President Barack Obama sure sounded interested.

Dirk Nowitzki says he plans to re-sign with Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrates as he leaves the court during the final minute of the second half in an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, April 11, 2016, in Salt Lake City. The Mavericks won 101-92. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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Dirk Nowitzki will opt out of the final year of a contract that would’ve paid him $8,692,184.

The big question: Why?

Does Nowitzki want a higher salary? More years? A lower salary that enables the Mavericks to upgrade their supporting cast?

He could command whichever of those he desires.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN, transcribing Nowitzki’s interview on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas:

Nowitzki reiterated Monday that he is committed to remaining with the Mavs for the rest of his career, saying that decision was essentially made when Dallas won the championship in 2011.

“That would have been the only scenario where I go somewhere at the end to kind of hang on and maybe try to win one,” Nowitzki said, referring to if he didn’t have a ring. “But ever since I won a championship here and we did that, I want to finish my career here. I always said that. The only scenario where I’ll try to go somewhere is if we’re rebuilding, if we really say, ‘This is the end of the line. We tried every which way and we can’t go any further and we’re starting basically with five rookies.’

“Obviously, that’s not what I want my last couple of years. But knowing Mark and Donnie, they always want this to be a winning franchise, so there’s no reason for me to go anywhere.”

“We had one more year on the contract, but I think this is the right thing to do,” he said. “We’re going to sit with Mark [Cuban] and Donnie [Nelson] obviously over the next few weeks and figure out how to improve this franchise again.

“Ever since after the championship, we’ve been basically a first-round exit. We’ve been a seven, eight seed. We’ve only won a few playoff games, and obviously the goal was to compete at the highest level in my last couple of years. So there is some moving to do, some thinking, some putting our heads together the next few weeks heading into free agency, heading into the draft. So this is just one move that hopefully starts a chain reaction for us to get better again, to compete really at a high level. We’ll see how it goes.”

Usually, I’d say this would at least open the door to the player leaving. But it’d be difficult for the Mavericks to pivot into rebuilding now. They don’t have their own first-round pick, and Justin Anderson is their only young player of consequence.

With Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea signed long term and Nowitzki intent on returning, it makes far more sense to try to win now. Dallas might fail, but it’ll almost certainly be the goal.

The Mavericks project to have about $20 million in cap space accounting for cap holds for Chandler Parsons ($19,969,950), Nowitzki ($12,500,0001), Deron Williams ($6,454,769) and Dwight Powell ($1,180,431). If those players sign elsewhere or get renounced, Dallas would clear more room.

Nowitzki could accept a lower salary than his cap hold, and his first-year salary would become his cap number once signed. Essentially, he could monitor free agency and slide his salary requirement depending on the quality of free agent the Mavericks could sign with the available money. Land a star, and maybe Nowitzki would take far less to accommodate him. Strike out, and Nowitzki might want a raise.

He has leverage, though it seems he’s set on using it harmoniously with management.

Still, what if Dallas flops majorly in free agency? Could Nowitzki leave? I expect the Mavericks to land productive veterans, and I doubt Nowitzki would leave anyway. But by opting out, he has the ability to walk.

The Mavericks have an opportunity to improve this offseason. Two years ago, they leveraged Nowitzki’s commitment to the franchise into a below-market deal that helped them sign Parsons. The goal should be once again involving Nowitzki in the process and having him help.

The better Dallas does in free agency, the more likely Nowitzki will be to sacrifice for the team.