Baseline to Baseline recaps: Are there moral victories for the Knicks?

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What you missed while adopting your girlfriend as your daughter…..

Bulls 105, Knicks 102: Are there moral victories for the Knicks?

They played hard on offense, they attacked the rim, moved the ball at key points and looked pretty good against one of the best defensive teams in the league. But this is the Knicks, a good offense is balanced with poor play at the other end of the floor — the Bulls shot 53 percent for the game and got a lot of good looks.

It was a shootout, like we expected of Knicks games this season. New York put in the effort, but things like 11 turnovers in the second quarter gave Chicago a lead it never relinquished, even when the game got close. Amare Stoudemire had 34 points, his first over 30 this season. Derrick Rose had 32 points and 13 assists, putting on a real show at the Garden.

Grizzlies 96, Hawks 77: Sometimes it is the first game home from a road trip where everything catches up with a team — the Hawks went 4-1 on a road trip but looked like their legs were tired in this one. Memphis took advantage, grabbing control late in the first half and never looking back. Rudy Gay had 21 and the Grizzlies got a quality win. They should thank the schedule maker for it.

Spurs 93, Hornets 81: The Spurs are beasts at home, especially when vintage Tim Duncan shows up and scores 19 points on 8 shots. The Hornets hung tough until the fourth quarter, when the Spurs started the quarter on an 11-2 run to pull away. Tiago Splitter (16 points) and Tony Parker (18) keyed the winning rally.

Kings 95, Trail Blazers 92: LaMarcus Aldridge looked like the All-Star he should be in the first half with 19 points (he finished with 28 and 14 boards) and the Blazers were in control. Then Sacramento started doubling him and daring any other Blazer to beat them and, Portland shot 25 percent in the third quarter and 38 percent in the fourth. Meanwhile Tyreke Evans looked like his rookie self late with some punishing, physical drives to the rim.

Warriors 119, Jazz 101: Utah was without its top three rotation guards (Devin Harris, Raja Bell and Earl Watson all injured) against a guard-oriented team. Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for 62 points on 74.3 percent shooting, and that’s pretty much your ballgame. Utah kept it close until the end of the third quarter, when Golden State pulled away. David Lee also had 23 in this game. Marcus Thornton had 13 second half points on his way to a team-high 20. Portland is now 3-9 on the road.

Nuggets 112, Clippers 91: On paper this should have been an interesting rematch of a Clipper win last week… except for the part where the Clippers were in Utah the night before and played this game like they were tired and at altitude. Doesn’t matter, the Nuggets will take it. Denver pulled away in the second half and never looked back. Ty Lawson had 18 for the Nuggets.

Cavaliers, Warriors sweeps mean time to rest, get mental breather

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant can take some pressure off that tender left calf. LeBron James has extra time to recoup after barely leaving the floor in the first round.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr scheduled some medical appointments as he deals with debilitating symptoms still affecting him nearly two years after complications from a pair of back surgeries.

The two star-studded teams expected by many to face off once more in the NBA Finals each swept through their respective first-round playoff series in four games, leaving ample time for the Cavaliers and Warriors to rest up, heal up and prepare for the next opponent.

“It gives me a mental break. As far as physically, I am who I am,” James said. “I’ve played so many games over the years, the best break for me is probably when I’m done.”

Of course guys like James and Draymond Green are already eager to get back on the court.

Cleveland now knows its next opponent is Toronto, while the Warriors were still waiting out the Clippers-Jazz series.

“Definitely have gotten antsy to play,” Green said Friday. “But you see that break and you’re excited about it, just to get that time to rest and get everybody back as close to 100 (percent) as possible for the next round. At the same time you do get antsy to get back on the floor and back in the rhythm of things. I think it’s been a good week for us to sweep and get this time off.”

Durant, still receiving treatment on his left leg and knee, spent Thursday at a San Francisco Giants baseball game. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue threw a huge watch party Thursday night so players and members of the organization could see the Raptors close out the Bucks in six games.

Golden State scrimmaged Friday to stay sharp, while Cleveland players have competed in such ways as racing on cardiovascular machines in the weight room to stay fresh and motivated.

James led the league in minutes during the regular season then played nearly 44 per game in the first-round sweep of Indiana – familiar territory after the Cavs also swept Detroit in the first round last season, then followed by eliminating Atlanta in the minimum four games.

“I’m ready to get this thing going, but obviously I’m not going to rush the process,” James said. “… But, yeah, I don’t like the way I feel when we’re not playing.”

In 2015, when the Warriors captured their first championship in 40 years, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving suffered a freak Game 1 injury when he fractured his left kneecap, and Kevin Love was already lost to a dislocated left shoulder.

Last June, Stephen Curry had returned from a knee injury but never fully got healthy and the thought was the Warriors wore down after chasing and breaking the Chicago Bulls’ regular-season wins record with 73 victories.

“If you could sweep every series that would be perfect,” Durant said, “because you just want to play well and then you’ll worry about the rest afterward. That’s the situation we’re in. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, so it’s good to have a few days to get your bodies right and your mind right and just get back to the drawing board in terms of individual work, team work.”

In the Warriors’ case, it also has meant more time working with Mike Brown as acting head coach while Kerr is away. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year missed Games 3 and 4 at Portland because he was in such discomfort, having dealt with headaches, neck pain and nausea that recently became worse.

While Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is most known for sitting several star players at once without regard to anything but his team’s best interest, others have caught on and replicated the strategy of spelling players in order to pace for the long haul.

In March 2015, the Warriors lost at Denver with Curry watching – along with Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut – in the first game of a back-to-back. Oh, did Kerr take heat for it, even personally answering a few emails. And the Warriors reached out to other upset fans and sent along care packages.

“As a coach your responsibility is to keep your players healthy and there are times when guys need a night off,” Kerr said.

In December, Cleveland caused an uproar by resting James, Love and Irving in a loss at Memphis. Lue then sat several starters for the final game of the regular season against Toronto, and the teams will meet again in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Monday.

Now, the Cleveland coach insists, James can handle the heavy minutes when it matters most.

“His body can take it,” Lue said, “so I’m not worried about what outside people say.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

 

Chris Paul told Paul Pierce: “You’re not ending your career in Utah”

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When the Clippers lose their final game this season — maybe Sunday, maybe not for weeks — the Hall of Fame career of Paul Pierce will come to an end.

It’s not why Doc Rivers was leaning so heavily on Pierce Friday night, that’s more desperation on a shorthanded (and not that deep to start with) lineup. The Clippers got away with 20+ minutes of Pierce on Friday and still got the win.

He even served as an inspiration for Chris Paul, as CP3 said in his postgame press conference.

The best part of that video? DeAndre Jordan‘s reaction.

You can be sure Utah Jazz fans will take this comment as a slight and let CP3 hear about it next season. As for the Jazz players, they are heading into Game 7, how much more motivation do they need.

John Wall’s chasedown block of Dennis Schroder, layup saved game for Wizards (VIDEO)

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Washington had been up 22 points in the third quarter and seemed to be cruising to a win in Atlanta, and with it a trip to the second round… but it would not be that easy. The Hawks made their push back, knocking down threes and chipping away at the Wizards lead until it was all the way down to 93-90, a one possession game.

Then John Wall took over.

It started with the big play you see above — a chasedown block on Dennis Schroder, which turned into a Wall layup on the other end.

That play changed the momentum. Washington closed the game on a 22-9 run where Wall scored the final 13 points on his way to 42 for the night on just 25 shots. The end result was a 115-99 Wizards win to close the Hawks out 4-2.

Steve Ballmer loses control after Austin Rivers three, creates another meme

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Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer has been a meme machine this series. First, there was the sad face after the Clippers Game 5 loss at home.

Then Friday, there was his reaction to an Austin Rivers three.

Ballmer’s reactions may be the best part of the Game 7 between these teams Sunday.