Caron Butler’s final four: Bulls, Spurs, Nets, Clippers

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For a guy on the wrong side of 30 coming off major knee surgery that caused him to miss most of a season, Caron Butler has some pretty sweet options ahead of him for this season.

Butler is down to a final four, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.

Caron Butler’s choices: SA or CHI for the $5 million midlevel exception, or NJ or LA Clippers for about $7 mill/year…

On the Bulls he would add needed wing depth on a team that is a title contender. Plus Butler’s defense fits well in that system. Butler is really a three and the Bulls play Luol Deng there, but Butler could slide in as an oversized two guard.

Same in San Antonio, where he would be starting on the wing (or maybe being sixth man if Manu Ginobili starts). This is an older team making one more run and it could be a good fit. The Spurs are about to waive Richard Jefferson to make room.

The Clippers are a team with serious playoff aspirations and a hole at the three. While I would argue Tayshaun Prince would be a better fit for the Clippers, Butler is an upgrade over Ryan Gomes. Plus, Butler can throw lobs anywhere near the basket and get assists because of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

The Nets are a chance to be part of another team trying to rebuild and with a couple good parts in Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. Plus, starting next season he would be playing in New York (Brooklyn, to be specific) and that has appeal.

The team you notice is not on there are the Dallas Mavericks, who are only offering short term deals trying to keep cap space for this summer.

I guess we’ll see Friday (or over the weekend) what matters most to Butler.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)