Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Heat were setting records (but not playing defense)

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What you missed while watching the last days of Spring Training…

The Spurs falling to the Grizzlies (and picking up another injury in the process) plus the Mavericks knocking off (and out?) the Suns are our games of the night.

Heat 125, Rockets 119: We got to see a little bit of history from Miami’s big three — LeBron James had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 11 rebounds. According to ESPN, the last team to have three players with 30 and 10 was the Portland Trail Blazers in 1987 with saw Arvydas Sabonis, Isaiah “J.R.” Rider and Brian Grant — and it took them four overtimes. The last time any team did it in regulation was 1961 with the Cincinnati Royals and the trio of Oscar Robertson, Wayne Embry and Jack Twyman.

What the Heat did not do was play much defense — this game was 38-37 Heat after one quarter. Neither side could stop the other. Miami went on to give up 120 points per 100 possessions. That will cost you most games but they got away with it in this one.

Kings 114, Sixers 111 (OT): Don’t look now, but the Kings went 4-1 on their recent road trip. Marcus Thornton led the win getting 29 of his 32 after half time. I’m sure Thornton’s performance will be what Kings fans are talking about tomorrow.

Hawks 99, Cavaliers 83: Atlanta had the lead because the Cavs had no answer for Al Horford, who finished with 20 and had 10 of them in the first quarter. Marvin Williams stepped up with 13 in the final quarter seal it for Atlanta.

Celtics 85, Timberwolves 82: Well, this was a win for Boston. It was ugly, it doesn’t really quell any concerns about the team, but it is a win and keeps them half a game ahead (and one ahead in the loss column) of Miami in the race for the two seed in the East. Rondo was out injured but Boston still was up 19 in the first quarter and 25 in the second on a lowly Wolves team without Kevin Love. But a series of runs — with Darko Milicic leading the charge at times — made this a game again in the fourth quarter. Paul Pierce had a dozen in the fourth or this might have been an ugly loss in Boston.

Thunder 99, Trail Blazers 90: Gerald Wallace was a beast for the Blazers and put up 40, but his teammates were not as consistent as the Thunder players in this one. Kind of a veteran win for the Thunder as they withstood the Blazers runs and then took over in the second half of the fourth quarter.

Warriors 114, Wizards 104: The Wizards lost on the road. Stunning. The only bright spot for the Wizards was JaVale McGee had a career high 28. Monta Ellis was the best player on the floor and finished with 37 points and 13 assists. There was also a David Lee sighting as he dropped 33

Lakers 102, Hornets 84: No David West and Carl Landry led the Hornets with 13 first half points and 24 for the game. But he is no David West, and even if he was the Hornets were outmatched from the start here. Kobe Bryant had 19 and Pau Gasol had 15 in the first half and the Lakers were up by as many as 18 before the break and cruised on in for their seventh win in a row.

With the undersized Landry and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets are going to struggle to stop any team with real length in the West in the playoffs

Spain’s national coach said both Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Mirotic all want to play in EuroBasket

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Spain is the defending EuroBasket champions, the best team in Europe (they won the Bronze medal in Rio after two consecutive silver medal Olympics). Which shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider the talent pool: Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Nicola Mirotic, Ricky Rubio, and a host of top international players who were in the NBA (Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos-Navarro, Sergio Rodriguez, and on down the line).

Spain could bring a loaded team to the tournament, their coach Sergio Scariolo said in a radio interview, transcribed at FIBA.com.

“Pau has also told me he’s coming,” Scariolo said. “All of them want to see how they finish the season. For them to say that they’re looking forward to coming and asking what we’re going to do is a first good step, but then we have to wait and see how they end the season – the physical status of those that have to take part in the play-offs. We have to wait until then to have a definite idea but the pre-disposition of all of the players is very good.”

“We’ll begin training on 28 July and we’ll have to change our way of playing with respect to the last two years when Marc hasn’t been here,” Scariolo said. “We’ll have to incorporate him. It’s an important readjustment and there are many things that we’re working on.”

“(Nikola) Mirotic and (Serge) Ibaka have confirmed their availability,” Scariolo said to Onda Cero radio. “Obviously there is a different status and situation, but all of the players have confirmed to me their availability, although with certain provisos. Each has his own circumstances and own situation, but the availability of all is very good.”

Scariolo will have to choose between Mirotic and Ibaka if both want to play, they are both naturalized Spanish citizens, and only one of those can be on the roster.

That said, Spain heads into EuroBasket this summer as the team to beat. So long as all those players decide they are healthy enough to play.

Stan Van Gundy on slumping Pistons: “We’re just bad all the way around”

Associated Press
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If the playoffs started today, the Detroit Pistons would be out golfing. Or fishing. Or partying in Cabo. The point is, they would not be playing.

Which is stunning — this was a 44-win team a year ago that seemed on the rise and is anchored by Andre Drummond in the paint. This year they’re four games below .500 and lost five of their last six, including back-to-back losses to the Nets and Bulls the last two days. In the month of March, the Pistons have been outscored by  4.4 points per 100 possessions. They are now tied with the Bulls 1.5 games back of the Heat for the last playoff slot in the East.

Stan Van Gundy, you’re coach and GM in Detroit, what do you think of all this? (Via ESPN’s Nick Friedell)

“The message I gave them is, ‘Look, we got 10 games left,” he said. “And if we don’t change the way we’re playing, this is going to get really, really ugly.

“We didn’t defend at any point in the second half. We didn’t defend much in the first half, either. Just really disappointing. We were 33-33, got tied, back to .500 after that New York game [on March 11], ran into a buzz saw in Cleveland [three nights later], and that’s it. We haven’t bounced back. It’s like we took that one hit and have not recovered at all. Have not played a decent game since then. This is six bad games in a row.”

“Right now, we don’t have a lot of life in us, and we got to find some by Friday,” Van Gundy added. “It’s just not one position, either. We’re just not playing. We’re not. We’re just bad all the way around.”

The Pistons have what should be winnable games against Orlando and New York coming up on the road, followed by an important matchup next Tuesday against Miami. Detroit needs wins now, because their schedule the rest of the way is about as tough as Miami’s, but Chicago has a soft finish to the season that could see them string together wins (maybe, Chicago has its own issues).

Whatever happens the final 10 games, Van Gundy and his team have some serious assessing to do this summer, some trades to make, they need to figure out what works and go with it. Because this season did not work.

Timberwolves to unveil new logo at final home game

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The Timberwolves’ were the trendy pick for a breakout team this season with Tom Thibodeau coaching Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

Instead, Minnesota fell flat. At, 28-42 the Timberwolves will miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year – the NBA’s longest active postseason drought.

But they’ve shown progress lately and could carry that momentum into next season.

It’ll be a fresh start in at least one way.

Timberwolves release:

The Minnesota Timberwolves begin a new chapter in their franchise history by unveiling a new team logo as part of Fan Appreciation Night at Target Center on Tuesday, April 11. The Wolves will conclude the home portion of their regular season schedule that evening by hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m.

The logo will be unveiled during a special halftime show and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative t-shirt with the new identity featured.

While the new identity won’t fully take effect until the 2017-18 season, the unveiling marks only the fourth identity in the franchise’s 28-year history.  The announcement is also the beginning of an eventful summer as the Wolves brand continues to evolve. There will be several future announcements regarding the unveiling of the new team uniforms, new court designs and additional events throughout the coming months.

I’m glad these uniforms are coming out next year. I always enjoy when a style change coincides with a team changing on the court, and it seems the Timberwolves could truly do that.

Shaq on flat-earth claim: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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After Kyrie Irving claimed the Earth is flat, he doubled down and insisted he truly believed that.

After Shaquille O’Neal claimed the Earth is flat

Shaq on Art of Charm (hat tip: Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports):

The Earth is flat. Would you like to hear my theory?

The first part of the theory is, I’m joking, you idiots. That’s the first part of the theory.

This world we live in, people take things too seriously. But I’m going to give the people answers to my test. Knowing that I’m a funny guy, if something seems controversial or boom, boom, boom, you’ve got to have my funny points on, right? So now, once you have my funny points on, that should eradicate and get rid of all your negative thoughts, right? That’s what you should do when you hear Shaquille O’Neal’s statement, OK? You should know that he has funny points right over here, and what did he say? The guy had, boom, boom, boom. Add the funny points. You either laugh, or you don’t laugh. But don’t take me seriously. When I want you to take me seriously, you will know by the tone of my voice that I’m being serious.

Shaq is excellent at drawing attention to himself. The only surprise is that he didn’t keep this ruse up longer.

If Irving is pulling our collective legs to put the focus on him, at least credit the Cavaliers guard for maintaining the story longer. That Shaq lasted only a few days is revelatory.