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.

AP Source: Pistons in talks about downtown move; no deal yet

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: Owner Tom Gores of the Detroit Pistons tosses the ball to a referee during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons could be starting their final season at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The team is in advanced discussions about moving downtown to play at the Detroit Red Wings’ new arena, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. The person, speaking Thursday on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the Pistons have not commented, said there is no deal yet but the intent would be for the NBA franchise to start playing downtown next season if possible.

Representatives from the Pistons and Olympia Entertainment have been involved in the talks. Olympia handles business operations for the Red Wings, who are owned by Mike and Marian Ilitch.

The Pistons play this season’s home opener in Auburn Hills on Friday night against Orlando. The Palace has been home to the Pistons since 1988. Prior to that, the team played at the Pontiac Silverdome for a decade. The last time the Pistons played downtown for an extended stretch was when they called Cobo Arena home from 1961-78.

The Red Wings are playing their final season at Joe Louis Arena before moving to Little Caesars Arena. The new venue is being built right across the highway from where the Tigers and Lions play at Comerica Park and Ford Field, and a group is hoping to put a stadium for a Major League Soccer franchise in that area as well.

The Pistons won championships in their first two seasons in Auburn Hills and again in 2004, but the atmosphere slipped in recent years as the team went through several dreadful seasons. Detroit returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.

Current owner Tom Gores bought the Pistons from Karen Davidson in 2011.

Crain’s Detroit Business, citing unidentified sources, reported earlier this week that talks on moving the team were continuing between Pistons ownership and Olympia Entertainment. Mark Barnhill, a partner at Gores-founded Platinum Equity, said he had no comment on reports of the team’s potential move downtown.

Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

Sixers fan who flipped off Russell Westbrook apologizes

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26:: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content)  A Philadelphia 76ers fan gives Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder the middle finger in the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

NBA players have some pretty nasty things yelled at them by angry, frustrated fans during games. Most of the time they ignore it.

But when Russell Westbrook got the double “bird” from a Sixers fan during the first quarter of Philadelphia’s home opener Wednesday — broadcast on national television — the best part was Westbrook’s reaction.

He was rightly ejected for the incident. That man is Richard Harkaway, a urologist in the city. By Thursday night, he had issued a statement apologizing to everyone involved, via Philly.com.

“As a part-time comedian I realize that my words and actions are sometimes inappropriate,” Harkaway said in a statement to Philly.com issued by a personal representative. “In this instance, after standing up to boo and being provoked by Russell Westbrook calling attention to my being overweight, my action in response was clearly inexcusable and I am embarrassed. I sincerely apologize to my fellow Sixers fans, the Sixers organization, my colleagues and patients, and to Mr. Westbrook for my behavior.”

Harkaway had previously written this on Facebook about the incident, via the New York Post.

“Not as simple as it seems. I love to scream at the players and anyone who has been to a game with me knows this. Part of my charm. What you may not have seen on any of the video clips is what started the whole thing, which was Russell Westbrook saying ‘sit down f—ing fat boy’ when I stood up to boo.”

On some level, this feels like part of a larger national conversation taking place, one about treating each other with basic civility even if we disagree. If you pay for your ticket and you want to boo or heckle a player you have that right — Donald Sterling would heckle his own Clipper players. But there is a line of common decency you should not cross. Harkaway crossed that line, and with that he forfeited his right to be at the game (despite some early local reports, he was ejected).

In this case, it’s time to accept the apology and move on.

DeMarcus Cousins on new Kings coach: “I like him and he likes me”

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts to a foul called against him during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Dave Joerger was hired in Sacramento to do nearly the impossible: Turn around the Kings into a playoff team with potential, and develop a relationship with DeMarcus Cousins that makes the game’s best center want to stay in Sacramento (his contract is up in the summer of 2018).

The Kings won their opening game and return home Thursday to open their new building against the Spurs (a stiffer test than the Suns, to put it kindly).

As for the relationship part, Joerger is at least doing better than George Karl, as Cousins told our old friend Brett Pollakoff working for SLAM.

Jason Jones at The Sacramento Bee had a longer quote.

“Joerger’s been great,” Cousins said. “I think what he brought to the team is what this team needed. It fits our identity more than how we played in the past. Not to knock any of the previous situations but I think this situation fits this team the best.”

Cousins said last week he likes that’s there’s no gray area with Joerger. He makes everything plain and clear and that’s a plus.

It’s a good start for Joerger, but will it be enough? The feeling from most people around the league outside Sacramento is that it’s too late, the well has been poisoned and Cousins will leave the Kings as a free agent in two summers if they don’t trade him before then.

The Kings are not giving up that easily, especially in the first season in a new building — it is a franchise that wants to show Cousins it has turned the corner. Don’t expect any move with Cousins this season — landing elite players is hard and the Kings don’t want to give up on the one they have. The Kings may eventually have to face a decision on making a trade, but they are not there yet.

Meanwhile, other teams are just circling and waiting.

Derrick Rose with a frank assessment of Knicks opener vs. Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks controls the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 25, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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The Knicks are primed for a slow start. New coach teaching a new, modified system. New starting point guard who missed most of training camp. New defensive anchor at center, who missed most of training camp. New players throughout the roster, plus the need to develop and highlight Kristaps Porzingis. It’s going to take time to find how it all fits together.

Then their opening game is against the defending champion Cavaliers? Welcome to the NBA.

The Cavaliers won going away, with LeBron James looking every bit the best player on the planet. Derrick Rose, how would you assess the Knicks’ play? Via Barbara Barker of Newsday.

You have to love that Rose is honest. And he’s right.

Rose was part of the problem with the ball movement — 41.2 percent of his shots in that game came after seven or more dribbles and after he held the ball for at least six seconds. Carmelo Anthony was better, but not great. The Knicks stagnation on offense in the second half was a sharp contrast from the way the Cavaliers shared the rock all night.

The Knicks ball movement should get better as Jeff Hornacek pushes this team and they get more comfortable with the balance of pace (which we saw in the first half) and running the triangle (which they did much more after the game was a blowout, almost like a practice). It is going to take time to find that balance. At the same time, the team’s defense needs a lot of work, and the bench needs to improve.

All of that can happen, but in a tight Eastern Conference a slow start could be a tough hole for the Knicks to climb out of.