Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Dallas has 50 wins in a season. Again.

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What you missed while developing a remote control floating cloud to hoover over soccer stadiums….

Mavericks 104, Timberwolves 96: No Kevin Love tonight for Minnesota so on paper this this looked like it a blowout… but nobody counted on good Anthony Randolph showing up. Much like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects the good Anthony Randolph.

Randolph started for the injured Love and had 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting plus 6 rebounds in the first half. It got basketball fans excited and twitter was buzzing. I’m telling you now — he is teasing you. We’ve been there before. Randolph will tease you with his talent then once you are in he will disappear for a while. Then, when you are about to jump off his bandwagon, he’ll be back for a couple games. It’s a vicious cycle.

Dallas led most of the second half but Minnesota made a move in the fourth quarter thanks largely to Anthony Tolliver (9 points in the quarter). We had a game. But Dallas knows how to execute —it got an 11-2 run late that included a Jason Terry pull-up three. Terry is shooting 41 percent from three in the fourth this season, (up from 37 percent overall). Meanwhile Minnesota had three shots blocked late and had Jonny Flynn driving into Wilson Chandler and throwing the ball away. Dirk Nowitzki dropped 30.

The win means the Mavs have had 50 or more wins in a season for 11 years. The only ones who bested that are the Spurs right now and the Showtime era Lakers, both with 12. That’s impressive company.

Hornets 121, Jazz 117: The ending of this was both entertaining and uncomfortable.

Paul Millsap was brilliant — on possession after possession last in the game the Jazz used him almost as a point forward, attacking from a deep wing or baseline position (he finished with 33 points). He had a ridiculous falling, sprawling across the lane, throw it up and “look what I got” basket. With about 50 seconds left he crossed over David West and went baseline for a bucket. Later Millsap did the same thing but when the help came he made a nifty pass to Al Jefferson for a bucket (that put the Jazz up two).

Then came the David West dunk to tie and landing that blew out his knee. That took the energy right out of the building.

Still the Jazz had a chance to win it and again it was Millsap, this time he was fouled trying a fade away at the elbow. He sank both with 1.4 left the Jazz were up two. Then Aaron Gray threw a baseball pass the length of the court that was knocked down, but the loose ball ended up in the hands of Emeka Okafor who threw up a prayer while falling. A prayer that was answered off the glass and gave us another 5 minutes.

The Hornets went on a 9-2 in overtime to get the win.

The loss helps solidify the Hornets in the 7 seed spot in the West (half a game back of Portland in the six spot, one game ahead of Memphis in the eight spot and three games ahead of the Rockets and falling out of the playoffs all together). The Jazz are now almost done with the playoffs, they needed this one. They are 4.5 games back of Memphis and the last playoff spot.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that MisterDukie@yahoo.com, MrDukie@yahoo.com or Mr.Dukie@yahoo.com. Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.

Breaking news: Leandro Barbosa dunked


The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start 16-0.

In the process of getting that record-breaking win over the Lakers, something nearly as historic happened.

Leandro Barbosa dunked.

The 32-year-old Golden State guard last jammed in January 2011.

For a little more perspective, look how Barbosa handled a breakaway layup earlier in the fourth quarter:

You think that man can still slam?

Yes. Yes, he can.

Magic benching Victor Oladipo, starting Channing Frye

Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Channing Frye
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Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have started eight of the Magic’s 14 games, including the last three.

But after Orlando dropped two straight, Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes.

The Magic coach will deliver against the Knicks tonight, swapping Channing Frye for Oladipo.

Skiles, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.

“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”

Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the

  • Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
  • New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8

The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.

I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.

If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.

At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.

This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.