Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where the Suns are making a run. So to speak.

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What you missed while watching Melissa Leo drop an F-bomb on national television….

The Lakers continuing their mastery of the Thunder and the Knicks upset of the Heat were our games of the day.

Suns 110, Pacers 108 (OT): One of the more entertaining games of the day was the first one. Grant Hill was on fire. The Suns were up by 15 in the third then A.J. Price took over and dropped 13 in the fourth quarter and the Pacers fought back and sent it overtime. Where Channing Frye dropped 7 including the game winner as the buzzer sounded.

Sixers 95, Cavaliers 91: This was a big win, and not just because the Cavs are knocking off everyone. For the first time since they started last season at 2-1, the Sixers are above .500. Apparently, Doug Collins can still coach.

Timberwolves 126, Warriors 123: Wes Johnson, defensive stopper. At least for one night. In a game that saw a fast pace and wild swings of momentum (both teams led by double digits at different points) it came down to Wes Johnson blocking the shot of a driving Monta Ellis with four seconds left, then stealing the inbound pass from Stephen Curry with 2.4 seconds left.

Mavericks 114, Raptors 96: This game stared out with an early 18-0 Raptors run and Amir Johnson scoring 10 in the first quarter. You didn’t think that would last. Dallas outscored Toronto by 25 in the second half, dropped 39 in the fourth quarter and pulled away.

Magic 100, Bobcats 86: Stephen Jackson put up a 35 spot and Charlotte still only had 96.6 points per 100 possessions pace. With Gerald Wallace in the northwest now you can expect more of that the rest of the season.

Rockets 91, Hornets 89: From the time they went on an 18-0 run in the second quarter this looked and felt like an extension of the Mardi Gras parties that had been going on in New Orleans all day. But as you know – admit it, you know this — when you party all day there is a price to pay. The Rockets went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, held it and got the win. Kevin Martin was killing it with 33 points on 15 shots.

Spurs 95, Grizzlies 88: Credit to the Grizzlies, who were down 20 points in the second quarter to the best team in the NBA this season, and they fought all the way back to take the lead. What has made the Spurs the best team so far is their end-of-game execution, and we saw it again with a late 8-0 run to seal this one.

Hawks 90, Trail Blazers 83: Atlanta turned the ball over on 27.3 percent of their possessions — more then one in four trips down the court — and they still won this game. Which only happens when your opponent can’t shoot, and the Blazers were 4-of-21 from three and shot 39 percent overall. Credit the Hawks defense for a lot of that.

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.

Clippers win likely playoff preview 108-95 over Jazz

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jamal Crawford scored 28 points off the bench, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 108-95 on Saturday to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth straight year.

The Clippers trail the Jazz by a half-game in their race for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West. The teams are likely to face in the first round of the postseason.

Blake Griffin added 15 points and DeAndre Jordan had 15 rebounds for the Clippers.

Rudy Gobert had 26 points and 14 rebounds for Utah, and reserve Joe Johnson added 17 points. The Jazz have dropped four of five.

Utah rallied in the third, putting together a 20-6 spurt to trim Los Angeles’ lead to 72-70 heading into the final period. Gobert had nine points and Johnson scored seven during the run that included 10 straight points for the Jazz over one stretch.

Chris Paul and Crawford both got technicals while the Clippers struggled to score and defend.

But Los Angeles turned things around in the fourth, scoring the first eight points for an 80-70 lead. Crawford had 17 points in the quarter, scoring six in a row to push the Clippers’ lead to 103-84. He was 9 of 9 at the free-throw line for the game.

The Clippers grabbed control early on, shooting 52 percent in the first quarter while building a 15-point lead.

The Jazz got within seven to start the second before the Clippers restored their 15-point margin and eventually led 49-41 at halftime.

Utah’s top two scorers, Gordon Hayward and George Hill, struggled. Hayward, who averages 22 points, had 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Hill, who averages 17.1, had nine points while shooting 4 of 11.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Gobert was coming off a career-high 35-point, 15-rebound performance against the Knicks on Tuesday. … G Sheldon Mack missed his 11th straight game with a left ankle sprain. … F/C Derrick Favors remains out with a left knee bone contusion.

Clippers: Their six-year playoff run is the longest in franchise history. … They have won 18 of 20 against the Jazz dating to Feb. 1, 2012. … They won the season series 3-1.

 

More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Sixers’ Joel Embiid officially has knee surgery, expected to be back on court in summer

Associated Press
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“The… follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid‘s left knee appears to reveal… the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan.”

When Philadelphia’s chief medical director Dr. Jonathan Glashow said that in a statement announcing Joel Embiid was being shut down for the season, the chance of knee surgery to clean up that meniscus was possible. Friday it became a reality, the team announced.

CSNPhilly.com had the details.

The team expects Embiid to resume basketball activities during this summer, according to Sixers director of performance research and development Dr. David T. Martin. Embiid will begin his rehab in Los Angeles with specialists and Sixers medical and training staff members.

“The overall status of Joel’s lateral meniscus and his cartilage is very good,” surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D., who performed the surgery, said in a statement. “Today’s procedure focused on removing a small portion of the meniscus that was responsible for his symptoms.

“The recovery program that has been established targets Joel transitioning back to full weight-bearing in approximately two weeks, at which point a conservative approach to his rehabilitation will be introduced.”

After Embiid missed two seasons with foot issues, there is a tendency to lump everything together and call him injury prone. This, however, was a minor surgery with a relatively short recovery period, even as the Sixers bring him along slowly. There is reason for concern, but this shouldn’t be an issue by next training camp.

Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game despite a minutes restriction all season. He was incredibly efficient in getting his numbers — he had an All-Star level PER of 24.2 — and when he was on the court the Sixers outscored their opponents by 3 points per 100 possessions. He’s still likely a top three finisher in Rookie of the Year balloting despite playing in just 31 games.