Jeremy Lin; Anthony Carter

Wednesday And-1 links: Jeremy Lin notes… and other stuff

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Great stuff on why Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony will work out from Bethlehem Shoals at GQ.

Mike D’Antoni talks Linsanity, and blending Carmelo Anthony back in to the team. It’s about the ball having energy.

A guy from Cornell talks about playing against Jeremy Lin. You can add Ivy Leaguers to the list of people who did not see this coming.

Some Harvard lawyers and executives that played with Lin didn’t see it coming, either.

Team USA and Spain will play in a pre-Olympic exhibition game that likely will be a Gold Medal preview game.

LeBron James in an 18-foot foam statue. Don’t see anyone doing that for Lin.

Kobe Bryant’s now ex-wife Vanessa was waiting for him outside the Lakers locker room on Valentines Day.

Lakers coach Mike Brown confirms he has talked with J.R. Smith. We’ll see what kind of a recruiter he is.

Kevin Love is logging more minutes per game than anyone in the NBA, which at age 23 after losing a lot of weight makes sense. Kobe Bryant is second in minutes per game at age 33 with a lot of miles on him.

And don’t go thinking coaches are resting their players more this year.

Lest you think the draft is a lock, here’s a story on how in 1979 the Lakers were torn, debating between taking Magic Johnson with the top overall pick or Sidney Moncrief. It was a close call.

The other day Metta World Peace accused Mike Brown of being a “stats guy” and that’s why Metta is sitting at the end of games. Mike Brown’s response: “If I was a stats guy, Metta, you wouldn’t be playing at all.”

But now World Peace and Brown say everything is good between them.

Kevin Martin went scoreless for the Rockets Tuesday night and was not happy to be sitting at the end of the game.

Jarrett Jack is out Wednesday for the Hornets. Because they don’t have enough problems.

Kyrie Irving was back practicing with the Cavaliers Tuesday and is scheduled to return to the court from his concussion on Wednesday.

Andrew Bogut is going to be out for a while, but he is hoping to avoid surgery on his ankle. Don’t blame him, he’s had enough surgeries.

Mark Cuban thinks Shawn Marion should be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Mark Cuban thinks a lot of things.

If you missed it, Chris Anderson — the Birdman — was in full flight Tuesday night with 16 points and 6 blocks.

A Q&A with Norris Cole, who dropped 20 last night on the Pacers. Heat have a keeper in this rookie.

With Andrew Bogut out for the season, the Bucks have interest in free agent Kyrylo Fesenko.

Hornets coach Monty Williams wants to shoot down all the rumors that Eric Gordon doesn’t want to play for the Hornets. He’s right. Gordon wants to play and prove himself, he’s not faking injuries here.

Darryl Dawkins talks dunks.

Minnesota has recalled Malcolm Lee from the D-League. They need some help at the two guard, but Lee is going to be brought along slowly.

Cavaliers’ defense foundation for blowout win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland blitzed Toronto from the opening tip.

Literally.

Cleveland cranked up their defensive pressure by getting back to aggressively blitzing Raptors’ guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan every time they came off a pick. Or they would chase DeRozan over the top of the pick and trail him, never letting him get comfortable to pull up from the midrange. Whatever the defensive scheme, the Cavaliers were physical with Lowry and DeRozan — the pair was 4-of-14 shooting in the first half.

From the start, the Cavaliers defense dictated the flow of the game and set the tone for a 38-point blowout win.

It is that defense they will need to close out this series on the road Friday night.

“We understood that coming back from Game 3 and Game 4 we just didn’t play our defense the right way,” LeBron James said after the game. “We didn’t play how we should have played, and they took advantage of every moment. We had to get back to our staple; we had to get back to what we wanted to do defensively in order for us to play a complete game. That’s the most satisfying thing, the way we defended, holding these guys to 39 percent shooting.”

Defense triggered the offensive runs by the Cavaliers in the first half — Cleveland had eight steals and scored 20 points off turnovers before halftime. Playing with a renewed energy, the Cavs did a fantastic job fighting over screens and disrupting plays, and they closed out on shooters at the arc. It was their best defensive game of the series. It was the polar opposite of how they played in Toronto.

“I think our intensity picked up, our aggressiveness picked up, we were very physical to start the game and it just kind of led to us getting out in transition, us getting steals and getting easy baskets,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

“They were locked in, from the start to the finish,” according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey.”The force that they play with is different here and we didn’t meet it.”

Back home and with their backs against the wall, you can expect a very different, very desperate Raptors team. Lowry and DeRozan will shoot better.

But if the Cavaliers pack their defense and take it north of the border this time, they should close out the series.

LeBron James was dunking all over the Raptors (VIDEO)

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With their defense creating turnovers to get breaks — and the Raptors’ defense just breaking down — the Cavaliers put on a dunking exhibition against Toronto Wednesday.

LeBron James led the way, with 23 points and plenty of dunks. Here is another.

To change things up, here is an and-1.

Cavaliers retake series lead at home with rout of Raptors

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket in the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Eastern Conference Finals have been all about the comforts of home. Through five games between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, the home team has come out on top convincingly every time. Wednesday’s Game 5 was no different, with the Cavs destroying the Raptors, 116-78 to take a 3-2 series lead.

After a pair of awful games in Toronto, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving stepped up at home to score 25 and 23 points, respectively, to go along with 23 from LeBron James. The big production from their stars was enough to keep the Raptors at bay — the only other Cavs player to score in double figures was Richard Jefferson, who had 11 points, but it didn’t matter.

On the other side, after coming up huge at home in Games 3 and 4, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 7-for-20 from the field Wednesday, and nobody else did much to pick up the slack. After not trailing by 30 at a half at any point this season, Toronto trailed by 31 at halftime, and the lead ballooned to 100-60 at the end of the third quarter. From the beginning, this game was one-sided.

The Cavs can close out the series on the road on Friday, ensuring James’ sixth straight trip to the Finals. But the Raptors have been a different team at home during this series, and in a do-or-die situation they should come out with more fight. It’s hard to imagine things going much worse than they did Wednesday.

Report: Joakim Noah having “positive dialogue” with Bulls about future

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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And the spin keeps on happening.

First came the report that Joakim Noah was telling teammates he was out of Chicago. Followed by Noah’s agent — the person charged with keeping Noah’s options open — saying that was not true.

Now comes team management — the people who said they want to keep Noah with the Bulls — saying the sides are still talking, and they want him to stay. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Veteran Bulls center Joakim Noah, his representatives and the Chicago front office continue to have a “positive dialogue” about a new contract amid a report that Noah has been telling teammates he’s ready to leave the franchise, a league source told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Those close to Noah, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, are still hopeful that he will be able to work out an agreement to stay in Chicago long term.

I’m going to let you in on a real insider bit of knowledge on what team Noah will play for next season:

Whatever team pays him the most money.

I know, it’s crazy, but sometimes people make a decision about where to work based on pay. Right now, everything is posturing. Come July 1, money will go on the table, and then Noah will know just how badly the Bulls want to keep him vs. other teams wanting to bring him in. Once the money is out there, if things are roughly even, then minutes and role on the team, lifestyle, weather and all the rest come into play.

But Puffy had it right — it’s all about the Benjamins.