Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

Baseline to baseline recaps: Lakers sure don’t look tired

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What you missed while debating the merits of a law forcing porn actors to wear condoms

Heat 115, Celtics 107: We broke this one down as our game of the night. But can you ever really get enough Norris Cole?

Lakers 96, Jazz 71: If you watched this game and didn’t know which team was playing their third game in three nights and which team was opening the season, you would have gotten it wrong. From the opening tip the Lakers looked more energetic — desperate if you will — and were diving for loose balls, trying to run on the break and generally looking like the team with the younger, fresher legs. L.A. did not want to be 0-3 and it showed.

The real key was defense for the Lakers — Pau Gasol just shut down Al Jefferson, who was 2-for-15 shooting. (Gasol just hs his number, always does.) Gasol had four blocks as well. Utah shot 28.2 percent through the first three quarters. The Jazz had just 36 points in the paint — the Lakers owned that area all night.

Los Angeles also got 14 off the bench from Metta World Peace, who might be growing into the sixth man role.

Hawks 106, Nets 70: New Jersey started this game just like their opener — they played sloppy and were down 20 in the second quarter. It was ugly. New Jersey had just 30 points total in the first half on 31 percent shooting. In the opener the Nets came back to win. The difference is the Hawks are not the Wizards. The Hawks are good. They were not going to fall apart.

Pretty much everything the Hawks did worked, to the point the starters didn’t play more than 27 minutes and Vladimir Radmanovic was the team’s leading scorer with 17. Only fantasy owners were pissed about this. How well did things work for the Hawks? Even when they had plays break down, it worked. Just ask Jeff Teague.

Bucks 98, Timberwolves 95: The Timberwolves can argue they are 2-0 in the moral victory category. But that and $4 will buy you a latte.

Milwaukee played a good team game for most of the way — good defense, great ball movement, knocking down open looks — and were up 20 in the third. They seemed to be in control. But Milwaukee got stagnant in the fourth and Ricky Rubio led the Wolves as they nibbled away at the lead (Rubio was good again, 6 points, 4 assists, but with three turnovers). At the end the Wolves got it within three with 29 seconds left.

With the game on the line up three the Bucks offense was not the team play that got the Bucks the lead but a Brandon Jennings isolation, which led to a leaning baseline three. He missed, Rubio got the rebound. Minnesota’s last shot was a contested Kevin Love fade-away three from 25 feet — we should just call that the Kobe shot — and he missed it. Bucks win.

Kevin Love’s line for the night: 31 points on 6-of-18 shooting, but he was 19-of-24 at the free throw line, plus 20 rebounds (9 offensive).

Trail Blazers 101, Kings 79: This was close in the first half (46-46 tie at the break) as both teams focused on getting the ball in the paint. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins each had 10 first half points, although Cousins looked better getting them with some very athletic moves. Gerald Wallace had 13 in the first half (25 for the game).

In the second half the Blazers tightened up their defense and the Kings started to look like a tired team on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland took Cousins out of the game offensively and the Kings could not get the outside shots to fall and balance things out. Meanwhile, Nicolas Batum and Wallace started leading out after closing out on shooters and the Blazers were racking up the easy transition buckets. And soon the game was out of reach.

Sit back and watch the top 10 dunks from the first five weeks of NBA season

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Who doesn’t love a good dunk compilation?

Well, somebody probably just said “bah, humbug” but is that the person you really want to hang out with?

The fine folks at NBA.com put together the Top 10 dunks of October and November, and when Rudy Gobert dunking over Kristaps Porzingis is all the way down at 10, you know it’s a good list. Put off starting your Christmas shopping, at least for another 2:44, and watch the video.

Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Here you go.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Chance The Rapper performs on Camp Stage during day one of Tyler, the Creator's 5th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival at Exposition Park on November 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Of course you do. How is that even a question?

Above you can see just that from Chicago Friday night (where Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and the Bulls knocked off the Cavaliers). Benny the Bull is on his side as well, while the Cubs’ mascot and others try and stay out of the way.

I’ll take this over another kids’ dribbling contest any day.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili hustling saves lead to Spurs bucket (VIDEO)

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That’s about the most Spurs play ever.

During the third quarter of San Antonio’s win over Washington Friday night, LaMarcus Aldridge saved the ball from going out-of-bounds on the baseline, he threw it out high to Manu Ginobili, who had to leap and save it from going into the backcourt. Two hustle plays. From there the Spurs whipped the ball around the perimeter, and it ended up back to Aldridge on the baseline, where he nailed the 12-foot jumper.

Eventually, the Spurs would get a Kawhi Leonard jumper to give them the victory.

LeBron on Cavs’ three-game losing streak: “We got to get out of the honeymoon stage”

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wipes his face as he looks down after guard Kyrie Irving missed a shot during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Chicago. The Bulls won 111-105. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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For a team that is 13-5 and atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been their intimidating selves consistently this season. There have been flashes during a 13-2 start, but mostly they win on talent, or when they flip the switch for a half, but they haven’t looked like a tested team working on building good habits through the first quarter of the NBA season. They have an elite offense, but their defense is surrendering 105.1 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the league.

It’s been worse the last four games. The Cavaliers had to come from behind to beat the Sixers, then got blown out by the Bucks and Clippers. Friday night, Cleveland lost to Chicago, giving the Cavs a three-game losing streak, and LeBron James had enough. He sent a message to his team through the media (from the Associated Press):

“We got to get out of the honeymoon stage,” James said. “You got to play the game, the right way. We’ve got to battle every night like we ain’t won nothing. Last year is last year. After ring night is over with, now it’s a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over. It’s time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points (in the paint) is ridiculous. We’ve got to man up. Everybody.”

The Cavaliers would be far from the first team to have a championship hangover, and considering the five-decade title drought in Cleveland before that win we should have expected one of those “I can’t get off the couch, I’m just going to lay here and watch golf all day” kind of hangovers. As Gregg Popovich has said before, its human nature to let up after a big win.

However, the blowout loss at the hands of the Clippers Thursday — the only title contending team the Cavs have faced this season — should be a wake-up call. The fact is the Cavaliers are still playing well enough to beat everyone in the East, but their real tests come in the form of the Warriors/Clippers/Spurs out West. Right now it’s hard to picture the inconsistent defense of the Cavaliers lifting them past any of those teams in four out of seven games.

LeBron has been to six-straight Finals for a reason — he does not let up. And he’s going to have to shake this team out of its malaise to get them back to an elite standing.

It’s also the first week of December. It’s we’re having this same conversation the last week of March about the Cavaliers then it’s okay to start looking for the panic button in Cleveland. For now, trust LeBron to be the leader this team needs. Calling them out was just step one.