LeBron James

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Maybe Miami does miss Wade


What you missed while wildly overreacting to your team’s loss

Pacers 98, Lakers 96: This contrast in offensive balances was our game of the night.

Bucks 91, Heat 82: Milwaukee turned this into an ugly, grind-it-out game that favored their style and not the high-flying Heat. So, exactly what Scott Skiles wants them to do. Teams do take on the personality of their coach.

No Dwyane Wade so the Heat went heavy with Chris Bosh again, but he had 8 turnovers on the night, which was part of Miami’s problems. Another problem that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did a good job making LeBron James work for his 28 points (which is about all you can ask).

Miami tried to go small (LeBron at the four) but they looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back that was just a bit sluggish. It made the game a slower, dogfight of an affair, which plays to the Bucks strengths. Brandon Jennings had 23 points, but it took him 20 shots to get there.

Celtics 100, Wizards 94: Boston had no Rajon Rondo, out with a sore wrist. They were without Ray Allen most of the day after he tweaked his ankle in the second quarter. Still, this is the Wizards, you expect Boston to win this more handily. Without Rondo Boston really struggles to create good looks for each other. The Wizards just struggle to create good looks for themselves — there is no team play. Combine that with some defensive lapses by Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee down the stretch (falling asleep on help responsibilities) and the Celtics get the win. Paul Pierce had 35 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds.

Clippers 103, Raptors 91: After the Clippers let a team hang around and it cost them against Minnesota on Friday, there was none of that Sunday. Los Angeles took control with a 13-0 run in the first quarter then started the second half on an 11-1 run just to salt it away. D’Andre Jordan had 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first quarter alone. Mo Williams had 26 for the Clips, 19 in the fourth quarter. Toronto shot just 35.8 percent as a team.

Nets 97, Bobcats 87: We watch these games so you don’t have to — two struggling teams, but by rule someone had to win. Charlotte came out turning the ball over 7 times in the first quarter and Deron Williams had 11 points in the first quarter , the Nets took the lead and never looked back. Williams finished the game with 19 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, while MarShon Brooks scored 20.

Jimmer Fredette scores 37 in D-League debut while Floyd Mayweather watches

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You can’t make this stuff up.

After being cut by the Spurs during training camp, Jimmer Fredette decided to stay stateside and play in the D-League, looking for a way back into and another chance in the NBA (the banged up Pelicans picked him up for four games but released him again). Fredette put up impressive numbers in his debut with the Westchester Knicks (the New York Knicks affiliate), scoring 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting, hitting a couple of threes and getting to the line a dozen times.

All while boxer Floyd Mayweather looked on from courtside (Mayweather was there to see buddy Jordan Crawford).

If Fredette keeps putting up numbers, maybe he gets a call up. But nothing is seriously going to change for Fredette unless his defense improves markedly — that has always been the big problem, and not always one exploited the same way in the D-League. He is on the low end of the athleticism scale for the NBA (not college) and that has led teams to just target him when he comes in games. There is no mercy in the NBA, and Fredette has been the gazelle outside the herd that becomes the clear target.

But he’s had a good D-League game, it’s a start on a road back.

Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans says he returns to lineup Tuesday

Tyreke Evans
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The Pelicans have needed this.

There is not one simple reason the Pelicans stumbled out of the gate this season and might as well be booking late April tee times now (they will not recover and make the playoffs). It’s a combination of issues. But at the top of any list needs to be injuries, and specifically the injury to Tyreke Evans, who had his knee scoped back in training camp.

Evans will suit up for the Pelicans Tuesday. This had been rumored for a while, but Evans himself confirmed it on Instagram.

Gm lets get it I'm not a hundred percent but happy to play today first game back #beastmode #takeflightshow

A photo posted by Tyreke Evans (@tyrekeevans) on

The Pelicans desperately need his shot creation. Anthony Davis is an unquestionable beast, but he’s not a guy you can just throw the rock to and watch him create for himself and others out on the wing. Jrue Holiday can’t really do that either. The Pelicans have looked better with Ish Smith at the point of late because he can create a little thanks to his quickness.

Evans is better at this than anyone else they have. Getting him back in the mix helps.

Norris Cole, who played fantastically for the Pelicans last season, also is expected to return to the rotation tonight.

With those two back and the team starting to find a groove, they can become respectable to dangerous. But I just can’t see them climbing out of the hole they are in and find a way into the playoffs.


Luke Walton is NBA Coach of the Month despite zero official wins

Luke Walton
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If you were going to name the Western Conference Coach of the Month for November, there was only one choice to make — the coach of the undefeated Golden State Warriors.

So congratulations Steve Kerr, since he gets the credit for those 19 and counting wins… er, wait.

The NBA announced it has given November Coach of the Month award to Luke Walton, the interim Warriors’ coach who has guided the team while Kerr is recovering from back surgery. The league also announced Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.

As the NBA explained earlier in the day, they see the Warriors as still Kerr’s team — he was the architect who put in the systems and built the foundation, while Walton is just living in the house for a while. Walton is a housesitter. So the fact the team was undefeated under Walton is moot, he gets no credit for the wins, they all go on Kerr’s resume. But Walton can win the Coach of the Month award for guiding the Warriors with their league-best point differential of 15.4 points per game.

This was expected, but now it is official.

He could win it again for December, unless Steve Kerr decides to come back

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan tied NBA record with 22 missed free throws Monday

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DeAndre Jordan tied his personal best with 12 made free throws Monday night against the Trail Blazers.

But that’s not what anybody is talking about with Jordan’s trips to the free throw line Tuesday.

So you don’t have to do the math yourself, Jordan hit just 35.3 percent of his free throws. When the Clippers pulled away with a mini-run in the fourth quarter, Blazers coach Terry Stotts responded with hack-a-Jordan, and Doc Rivers refused to take him out. The result was nine intentional fouls and trips to the free throw line in less than two minutes.

It was ugly to watch.

The purist’s answer here is “if he hits his free throws this never happens, so learn to shoot them.” That’s the camp Adam Silver is in, and it’s his voice (and that of the other owners) that matters. There is no appetite around the league to change the rule, even though more and more players are being subjected to it.

I would argue that fouling intentionally off the ball in the first place is outside the spirit of the game — it’s not playing basketball — and unsportsmanlike. I think it’s bad for the sport, much worse than missed free throws and a dragged out game. I would like to see any time there is an off-the-ball foul the aggrieved team having a choice of free throws or the ball out-of-bounds.

But I’m in the minority. The rule isn’t changing soon. Which means Jordan — or Dwight Howard or Rajon Rondo or someone — is going to get the chance to set a new free throw futility mark soon. That will be fun to watch.