Baseline to Baseline recaps: Ugly or not, Knicks and Pacers will take wins

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What you missed while you were stealing a 600-pound bronze moose statue

Knicks 113, Magic 106 (OT): The Kicks were desperate for a win. The Magic were without Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick which meant heavy doses of Gilbert Arenas (who was 1-of-7 from three). Dwight Howard fouled out. That meant a streak breaking win for the Knicks — The Knicks had lost six in a row, the Magic had won five in a row.

Credit the Knicks with playing small — 6’9” Shawne Williams, a guy who takes nearly three times as many threes as shots at the rim, was the starting center — but keeping Dwight Howard scoreless in the first half by sending hard doubles. Credit Carmelo Anthony for hitting contested shots on his way to 19 points in the third quarter on his way to 39 for the game.

This was not some season changing win — it was rather an ugly, sloppy game really. The Knicks offense still looked disjointed and isolation heavy, Anthony just hit the shots. But the Knicks needed a win, even an ugly one, so they’ll take it.

Indiana 107, Boston 100: Rajon Rondo returned and looked good for Boston, hitting 9-of-13 shots. But Indiana outworked the Celtics in this one, got great play from Darren Collison late and won a game that lacked any flow or any good defense (Indiana was on a 120 points per 100 possessions pace, which is about 20 points higher than the Celtics give up a game. This game had no real flow to it — both teams were at times brilliant and a disaster — but credit Indiana a win it needed to remain ahead of Charlotte in the race for the eighth spot in the East.

Bobcats 87, Bucks 86: Charlotte out-executed the Bucks down the stretch — they had a 7-0 late run to take the lead behind Gerald Henderson’s 3-of-3 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Bucks just do not play well at the end of games (when John Salmons and Brandon Jennings should take over).

All kinds of playoff implications here — Charlotte remains one game back of eight-seed Indiana, with Milwaukee now three back and looking like a lottery team.

Sixers 97, Bulls 85: The Bulls never led it this one and trailed by as much as 23. The Bulls didn’t shoot well all game (1-of-11 from three) and Derrick Rose had 10 turnovers. It just wasn’t their night, but some of that had to do with the Sixers. Thaddeus Young came off the bench and was the most athletic guy on the floor, hitting 10-of-16 on his way to 21 points.

Trail Blazers 100, Spurs 92: No Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker for the Spurs — all rested with injuries. Credit the Blazers for getting the win, but I’m surprised it was this close.

Wizards 100, Jazz 95 (OT): John Wall had 25 points in the first half, Jordan Crawford had 19 after the break, Mo Evans had 7 in the overtime. This was road win number two for the Wizards this season, break out the champagne.

Lakers hire Kardashian trainer Gunnar Peterson

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LOS ANGELES (AP) A celebrity trainer known for getting the Kardashian clan into shape is going to work for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gunnar Peterson is the Lakers’ new director of strength and endurance training, the team announced Wednesday.

Peterson has been a favorite trainer among entertainers and athletes for many years while running a well-regarded private gym in Beverly Hills. His client list has included Sylvester Stallone, Halle Berry, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Pete Sampras, along with most of the Kardashian family.

Peterson will develop a strength and conditioning program for the Lakers, general manager Rob Pelinka says.

The 16-time NBA champion franchise has replaced several key members of its internal staff since Magic Johnson and Pelinka assumed control of basketball operations earlier this year.

Report: Bucks interested in Cavaliers GM David Griffin

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The Magic hired Jeff Weltman, and the Hawks are reportedly close to hiring Travis Schlenk.

In other words, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin – who’s still without a contract for next season – lost his leverage with other teams.

But to the rescue are the Bucks, who will not necessarily promote assistant general manager Justin Zanik to replace Orland-bound general manager John Hammond.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Multiple sources told cleveland.com that the Bucks, who lost general manager John Hammond to the Orlando Magic this week, have interest in Griffin, 47.

Griffin and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert have spoken about continuing their partnership in recent days, sources said, though no agreement was reached.

I still think Griffin stays in Cleveland. He helped assemble a championship contender, and he has LeBron Jamesendorsement. Plus, the Cavaliers can afford him.

But whomever gets the Milwaukee job will inherit a roster stocked with promising young talent like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker. The Bucks wouldn’t be a bad fallback option for Griffin – if he can’t use them to get a deal with the Cavs.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: Celtics’ sets harder to defend than Warriors’

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With the Cavaliers up 3-1 on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, most basketball observers are focused on Cavs-Warriors III in the NBA Finals.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue is more concerned with Boston, which scored surprisingly well in Games 3 and 4 after losing Isaiah Thomas to injury.

Lue, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I don’t even think about them,” Lue said of the Warriors to a small group of traveling Cleveland beat writers following the Cavs’ Game 4 win on Tuesday. “We’re just focused on Boston. The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it’s a totally different thing.”

Wait, the Isaiah Thomas-less 53-win Celtics are harder to defend than the Kevin Durant-supercharged 67-win Warriors? Come again, Coach?

“Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s—,” Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens’ schemes. “I’ll be like, ‘F—.’ They’re running all kinds of s—, man. And Brad’s got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It’s tough, you know, it’s tough.”

I think Lue means in a very specific way – getting his players into proper position. And in that regard he might be right.

I also think the Warriors will take this in the broadest, most offensive way possible. That’s just the nature of this rivalry.

Without Thomas, Stevens has been forced to diversify Boston’s offense. The Cavaliers, who prepared for a very different scheme, were caught off guard and are adjusting on the fly.

That’s a real challenge. But framing it as the central issue sells Golden State short.

Even if it’s harder for Lue to get his players into proper position against the Celtics, the Warriors’ surplus talent – including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green – more than makes up for it. And it’s not as if Golden State runs a basic scheme.

So why did Lue say this?

He didn’t think the travelling Cleveland beat writers would publish his candid remarks? He didn’t convey his thoughts clearly? He naively didn’t consider how this would motivate the Warriors? All are plausible.

Another theory: Lue is trying to plant a seed that acting Golden State coach Mike Brown, whose known (fairly or not) for his simplistic offensive schemes, is holding back the Warriors. If Steve Kerr doesn’t return, resentment of Brown is one of the few things that could tear apart a dominant Golden State team.

Richard Jefferson: LeBron James was sick during Cavaliers-Celtics Game 3

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LeBron James was inexplicably bad in the Cavaliers’ Game 3 loss to the Celtics on Sunday.

Except maybe it was explicable.

Cleveland forward Richard Jefferson, via Fox Sports Ohio

I know he won’t talk about it, so I’ll give my big guy a shout. Deron Williams missed shootaround this morning, because he had like a little bug, just really lethargic, had no energy. And I think that’s what Bron had. And sometimes these little bugs can go around.

When Deron didn’t show up to shootaround, it kind of started clicking in his head. Because for him it was more of like, “I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy, I had nothing.” And so, these little things happen. There was no panic.

Look, he was lethargic. They hit a bunch of tough shots. If Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-for-10 from 3, then we’re not even talking about it.

I don’t know whether LeBron was truly sick or Jefferson is just trying to help a teammate’s reputation. It can be both.

LeBron was better in Game 4, but not quite right.

If he’s dealing with a minor illness, that could clear up by Game 5 tomorrow. It should especially clear up by the Finals, which begin June 1. That’d be great news for the Cavs, who have no chance against the Warriors if LeBron isn’t at full strength.

The uncertainty of why LeBron hit a slump now of all times loomed over Cleveland’s playoff future. But Jefferson provided reason for the Cavaliers to breathe easy.