Baseline to Baseline recaps: Chicago’s offense is as awesome as the Kings defense is horrid

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What you missed while getting busted for polygamy due to Facebook (damn you Zuckerberg)….

The Celtics beating up and coming from behind to beat the Knicks is our game of the night.

Bulls 132, Kings 92: For a night, there were no questions about the Bulls offense. For a night it was an unstoppable force, shooting 61 percent on its way to 132 points and an easy win. Of course, that may have more to do with the Kings porous defense than the Bulls (even with Carlos Boozers return to action). No Bull had more than 18 points (Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver) but eight were in double figures for the night.

Magic 97, Cavaliers 86: This game was not as close as the score suggests. Orlando was up 15 in the first quarter, 26 in the third quarter and it only got close because of disinterest from the Magic and garbage time. Cleveland simply had no answer for the size and strength of the Magic inside — Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass combined for 50 points on 18-of-21 shooting and 24 rebounds.

Pacers 102, Nets 98: Gritty little win for the Pacers. Not pretty, but when you’re hanging on to the last playoff spot by a thread pretty doesn’t matter you just need the wins. Big nights from Roy Hibbert (24 points) and Danny Granger (20 points). Indy pulled away in the third quarter but a 12-4 Nets run late made it a very close one late and if Sasha Vujacic’s three had not been deflected we might be writing a very different recap.

Grizzlies 103, Jazz 85: Interesting tweet from Brian T. Smith, the Jazz beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune: “Would not be surprised if Jazz make a hard decision this summer about Jefferson, Millsap. Just does not work defensively with both in post.” That lack of interior defense is a big problem against the front line of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who combined for 50 points.

This loss basically killed the Jazz’s playoff chances.

Spurs 111, Warriors 96: The Tim Duncan injury overshadowed what was a blowout win almost from the start for San Antonio. The good news is that Tiago Splitter looked good (10 points, 14 rebounds) while Duncan was out. The Spurs need him to keep that up over the final couple weeks, although their lead in the West and the NBA is pretty much safe at this point.

Nuggets 123, Raptors 90: Another blowout early. Raymond Felton had 17 points in the first quarter. Wilson Chandler looked good at the two guard in place of the injured Arron Afflalo. Even J.R. Smith was dishing assists (6 in the first half). Also worth noting that this game was played at a ridiculously fast pace (106 possessions) and yet Denver held the Raptors to 90 points.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

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Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

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LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.

Isaiah Thomas makes it clear he wants to stay in Boston

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It’s been a long time since there was so much discussion about whether a team needs to trade or just let go of an All-NBA and All-Star player at his peak who is clear and away a fan favorite.

Yet that’s where the Boston Celtics and Isaiah Thomas find themselves. After landing the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft — where they will almost certainly take point guard Markelle Fultz — and with the Celtics looking a full couple steps behind the Cavaliers in the playoffs, the question about whether Thomas is part of the future in Boston has come up. He is a free agent in 2018 and are the Celtics willing to pay the big money it will take to keep him?

Know this, Thomas wants to remain a Celtic and win a Celtic. You can listen to his full comments above, but Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has the money quote:

Outside of chasing Gordon Hayward, this summer the Celtics are going to focus on getter some frontcourt help, someone to help with rebounding and rim protection. They will look to get better, but Danny Ainge isn’t going to push all his chips into the middle of the table to make a gambit on immediate massive improvement. He will remain patient, building this team so that in three years and five years they will be a force in the East.

And the Thomas discussion likely gets put on hold for a year (unless there is a change of course and contract extension talks come up, but that’s only if Boston misses on Hayward and any other big targets).