Amare Stoudemire, Tyrus Thomas

Baseline to Baseline recaps: ‘Melo is off but Knicks aren’t

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What you missed while calling 911 asking to fight a cop….

Raptors 99, Suns 96: The biggest upset of the night was our game of the night.

Knicks 111, Bobcats 78: Carmelo Anthony wondered if he shot too much after the Knicks loss to the Nuggets, then he sat down with Amar’e Stoudemire and talked about the sharing of power. Against Charlotte he took just seven shots, made none and had 1 point. His shot was off, but he also was trying to push the pace and clearly was trying to get others involved, something that does not come naturally to him

‘Melo not scoring opened things up for Amare Stoudemire (18 points on 12 shots) and Tyson Chandler (20 points on 9-of-10 shooting). Particularly in the paint, where those to dominated Charlotte (with a couple monster put backs). The Knicks ball movement was the best it has been in a while. New York blew this game open and did not let up through the third and fourth quarter, giving the starters plenty of rest late.

The question we will find out in the next few days is this — was this an aberration against a bad Bobcats team and defense, or are the Knicks figuring things out? Magic 8 ball says, “ask again later.”

By the way, Kemba Walker is good.

Magic 102, Pacers 83: Welcome to this season’s NBA, where the Magic can have just 56 points one night and look a mess then hand Indiana its first home loss the next. Dwight Howard missed most of the second quarter after picking up his third foul, but Orlando made a 10-0 run at one point and kept the game close. In the third quarter they pulled away and J.J. Redick sealed it with 11 fourth quarter points. Ryan Anderson went 0-8 in Boston then was 5-7 from three in this one, he found his shooting touch again.

Heat 92, Cavaliers 85: Miami lost to Milwaukee at home in their last game after a sloppy effort. How did they respond? With more of the same, for at least the first 24 minutes of this one. By contrast, the Cavaliers came out playing hard, driving and dunking (seven in the first half, four of them by Samardo Samuels, who had a monster game) while the Heat watched. Cleveland led 39-37 at the break as they had 22 points in the paint while LeBron James seemed a spectator (7 points). But in the third quarter the Heat went on a 12-2 to take the lead and Chris Bosh made it stick with 17 of his 35 points coming in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland played harder, but talent still wins games.

Trail Blazers 97, Grizzlies 84: Memphis is a team that likes to push you around, but in this one Portland stood up to them and pushed back. Hard. Marcus Camby had 22 points and 5 blocks, LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points and the Blazers get another win in the Rose Garden. Memphis forced 20 turnovers (they gamble a lot in the passing lanes) but where that broke the Warriors late the Blazers stood up to the challenge. O.J. Mayo had 20 to lead the Griz.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford suggests allowing teams to advance ball in final two minutes without timeout

Steve Clifford
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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The final minutes of a close NBA game rank among the best moments in sports – which is pretty remarkable, considering frequent stoppages interrupt and impede enjoyment of the game.

Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout.

Coaches should probably call fewer timeouts, because drawing up a play also allows the defense to set. But timeouts give the offense the option of advancing the inbound spot into the frontcourt, a key advantage. So, teams will keep calling timeouts.

Unless…

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

For Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, the ability in the final two minutes of a game to advance the ball without requiring a timeout to be called could speed up the action. That has been used on a trial basis in the D League and in Summer League, and several coaches felt it worked well.

“The game is at an all-time high in popularity, but a lot of people complain about the last two minutes,” Clifford said. “I think it would add a different dimension but it would also be a good thing in addressing our biggest issue.”

Not that the coaches would be willing to lose any of their timeouts, though. They just wouldn’t save them specifically for that purpose.

I’m here for that.

I’m unsurprised control-seeking coaches want to keep all their timeouts, and reducing those seems unlikely, anyway. The NBA pays its bills through commercial breaks.

Would moving those advertising opportunities earlier in the game pay off? Audiences are probably larger in crunch time, but an action-packed closing stretch could hook fans and grow overall audiences. It’s always a difficult decision to forgo maximizing immediate revenue in pursuit of more later.

But I’m fairly certain fans would appreciate the change, which is at least a starting point in considering it.

Kyrie Irving feels validated after hitting game-winning shot to bring title to Cleveland

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Back in July during the pre-Olympics USA Camp in Las Vegas, I asked Kyrie Irving what had changed for him, what was different for him after winning an NBA title. His answer was about the doors it opened, the possibilities that suddenly felt available to him. A month after winning the title he still seemed a little overwhelmed by the experience, and he hadn’t fully processed it yet. Which is completely understandable.

Now, as training camp is set to open for the Cavaliers and their defense of that title, Irving clearly has gotten used to being a champion — and he feels validated. Look at what he told Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Yes, my life’s changed drastically,” Irving told cleveland.com Saturday, during Irving’s friendship walk and basketball challenge downtown for Best Buddies, Ohio — an organization that gives social growth and employment opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It’s kind of, you’re waiting for that validation from everyone, I guess, to be considered one of the top players in the league at the highest stage,” Irving said. “That kind of changed. I was just trying to earn everyone’s respect as much as I could.”

It’s amazing to think of the impact one shot — Irving’s three over Stephen Curry with 53 seconds left in Game 7 — can have. If he misses, there is less pressure on the Warriors to answer with a three, maybe they come down and get a bucket inside for two (one could argue they should have done that anyway rather than hunt for the three), from there maybe the Warriors win. If so, that could change everything from Kevin Durant‘s summer plans to what the Cavaliers’ roster looks like today — there’s a good chance Cleveland’s lineup would have changed if they lost to the Warriors two Finals in a row.

One shot can have that kind of impact on a player, too.

Kyrie Irving was one of the top five point guards in the NBA for a while, a score first guy but one who had some floor general in him and got some steals. A lot of time seemed to be spent focusing on his flaws defensively and passing. But with that shot, he feels validated. If he carries that confidence into next season, the Cavaliers just got better.

Check out top 50 plays from Kevin Garnett’s Hall of Fame career (VIDEO)

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First Kobe Bryant. Then Tim Duncan.

Now Kevin Garnett. The Hall of Fame class in five years is going to be stacked.

But before we move on from Garnett’s announcement this week that he is retiring after 21 years in the NBA, let’s look back at his greatest plays (compiled by the folks at NBA.com). Enjoy this for 11 minutes rather than watching your NFL fantasy team flounder. Again.