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.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.

Kyle Korver regrets missing after fantastic LeBron James pass: ‘That would have been on his lifetime highlight reel’ (video)

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Kyle Korver feels mostly moved in. Off the floor, that is.

The newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers still has some adjusting to do before he feels completely at home with the NBA champions, who have struggled of late.

“Every day it gets better and better,” he said.

One of Korver’s biggest adjustments is learning to play with LeBron James, one of the game’s most gifted passers. Korver regretted missing a 3-pointer in Golden State after James nearly fell before feeding him in the corner.

“Oh my gosh,” Korver said. “I told him that was my bad missing that shot. That would have been on his lifetime highlight reel. That was an incredible pass.

“I thought the play was kinda broken, and he was trying to pick it up. He whipped it around behind his back right at my head, and I was like, ‘Wow, I have the ball and I’m open.’ I hesitated, and I missed the shot.

“That’s what he creates. He’s got an incredible feel for the game. It’s good to be on the other side of the ball with him.”

Acquired earlier this month in a trade with Atlanta, Korver practiced with the Cavs for the first time in Ohio on Wednesday as the team regrouped from the longest road trip of the season – a coast-to-coast odyssey – that ended with an embarrassing 126-91 blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, who sent a message in January they hope resonates in June.

While Korver, one of the NBA’s most lethal 3-point shooters has felt welcomed by his new teammates, he’s still trying to fit in with them on the court. Cleveland is just 1-3 since Korver arrived and the team’s struggles are at least loosely linked to them trying to incorporate him into the offense.

Although it wasn’t intentional, the Cavs found themselves forcing passes to Korver, who went 2 for 10 from the field and missed his first five 3-pointers in his first two games. He found his range against Sacramento and Golden State, going 11 of 20 (7 of 14 on 3s) and providing a glimpse of Cleveland’s potential when they get back to full strength.

“The more time we spend together, the better chemistry we’re going to have,” Korver said. “A lot of what my game is, is based on chemistry. Getting a good feel for the guys, me getting a feel for them, them getting a feel for me and how I play. Every day gets a little better.”

Cleveland went just 3-3 on its trip, which began in Brooklyn and concluded in the Bay Area, where the Cavs were thumped by the rival Warriors in their first visit to Oracle Arena since winning Game 7 of last year’s finals there.

The game included another run-in between James and Golden State’s Draymond Green, who was called for a Flagrant 1 foul after he collided with Cleveland’s superstar. The two have scrapped before as Green was suspended from Game 5 in the finals for hitting James in the groin.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue felt Green was putting the champs on notice with his hard foul.

“Was it a statement? I think so,” Lue said. “He didn’t want to let LeBron get in the open court and get a dunk or layup and he took a hard foul. He wanted to try to send a message to our team.”

Following the lopsided loss, there was a typical overreaction by some Cleveland fans and media members, who were quick to question all the Cavs recent issues as if they had just dropped their 10th straight game and not just four of their past seven.

Lue said trying to integrate Korver, whose role will change again when J.R. Smith returns from a thumb injury later this season, was a challenge on the trip.

A few days of practice – and a home matchup on Saturday against San Antonio – will either help the Cavs find their rhythm or expose more flaws.

Lue was asked if his team has enough playmakers.

“You can’t make a trade every day,” he said. “We acquired Kyle Korver and we’ve got to be patient for other pieces we need, but, we’re still a good team, we’re still the champs and we got to play like that.”

 

The Cavs are just 1-3 since Korver joined them, but he’s confident better days are ahead.

“I see where we’re going,” he said. “I see how it’s all going to come together. No one around here is panicking.”

Kevin Durant: Playing Thunder ‘never going to be a regular game for me’

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at ORACLE Arena on November 3, 2016 in Oakland, 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 Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant‘s first game against the Thunder featured a clever Russell Westbrook costume, emotion-laden dunks and Enes Kanter trash talk.

Durant isn’t hiding from the meaningfulness of the sequel.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s never going to be a regular game for me,” Durant told ESPN in advance of his second go-around with OKC. “I’m just going to play. There’s nothing serious. We got the first one out the way, and we’re just going to play the next game.”

“I’m sure it will [be emotional],” Durant said. “It’s people I’ve been with for so long and to see them again, yeah, they’ll be some emotions. But I’ve still got a job to do.”

This game will always spark both nostalgia and competiveness. It’s a lot to process while playing elite basketball.

We’ll see whether Durant, who lit up the overmatched Thunder earlier this season, is up to the challenge.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the game’s location.