Baseline to Baseline recaps: Spurs look good at the rodeo

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What you missed while on a red-eye flight to Orlando for the All-Star Game (wait, that was me)…..

Heat 102, Knicks 88: Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis combined to shoot 1-for-18 on the night, do that against the Heat and you know the result. Brett broke this out for us as a game of the night.

Thunder 100, Lakers 85:
The Thunder have younger legs. And they are better. We broke this game out here.

Spurs 114, Nuggets 99: That would be an 8-1 rodeo road trip for the Spurs. But go ahead, keep saying they are too old.

Rested after a night off, DeJuan Blair was unstoppable… wait, what? He played last night? Really? Anyway, Blair looked rested and dropped a career high 28 points with 12 rebounds as the Spurs looked every bit a team that can threaten the Thunder in the West. San Antonio went on a 19-1 first quarter run and the game never got close after that. The Spurs ball movement, defense, contributions from everywhere. Denver looks like a banged up team that could use a few days off.

Tim Duncan now gets six days off because he is missing his first All-Star Game in as long as anyone remembers.

Hawks 83, Magic 78: Explain to me again how Josh Smith is not an All-Star?

This was one-point game with 4:30 left, but the Hawks’ Willie Green hit key back-to-back buckets and the Hawks were able to get some separation and win. The Hawks were lucky, they let a 17-point lead get away and had to scrap for it at the end, but it’s still a W.

Now, let the All-Star weekend Dwight Howard speculation begin.

 

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.