Baseline to Baseline recaps: Clippers collapse leads to a lot of talk

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What you missed while watching your NCAA bracket go up in flames….

Suns 91, Clippers 87: Phoenix was on the second night of a back-to-back-to-back so coach Alvin Gentry decided to rest Grant Hill and Steve Nash — and the Suns still rallied from 12 back in the fourth quarter to win. The Suns have some fight in them, they are just 2.5 games back of the last playoff spot in the West and they want it. Shannon Brown felt at home in Staples and had seven fourth quarter points (21 for the game) and led the Suns 12-4 run to close out the contest and get the win.

The Clippers end of game execution has been terrible over the last month or so. They struggle to get off good shots when the defensive intensity picks up and teams try to take away their first option on the pick-and-roll. Chris Paul was particularly passive in this game (as evidenced by his one free throw all night) and when he did try to attack late he spun into Sebastian Telfair who made the steal. The Clippers whole fourth quarter was like that.

After the game, the Clippers had a team meeting that lasted more than an hour. I’m sure that solved everything.

Wizards 99, Hornets 89: The Wizards pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 17-2 run — and Roger Mason had 14 in the fourth quarter. John Wall had 26 points and 12 assists and was the best player on the floor. For a change the Wizards did a good job spacing the floor and moving the ball. Part of that may be that the Hornets defense is terrible. Actually that may be a lot of it.

Mavericks 101, Bobcats 96: Dallas has struggled in recent weeks and they were behind in this one by double digits after a 25-6 run by the Bobcats in the second quarter. But the Mavericks have a lot of talent and the Bobcats defense can politely be called “scattered” and Dallas made its own push to get the lead back, then a 20-7 fourth quarter sealed it (although the Bobcats made it close late). Dirk Nowitzki had 27 for Dallas, Corey Maggette led the Bobcats with 21.

Jazz 111, Timberwolves 105 (OT): Utah led most of this game but a 19-7 run to close it out by the Timberwolves sent this one to overtime. An overtime that was almost averted but Paul Millsap missed a layup at the end of regulation. In the overtime an 8-0 run by the Jazz got them the win. Gordon Hayward had 26 to lead six Jazz players who scored in double figures. Kevin Love had 25 points and 16 boards because he is Kevin Love.

Thunder 103, Nuggets 90: Oklahoma City started out the second half on an 8-0 run, held the Nuggets to 21 percent shooting in the third, pulled away and never looked back for a nice win. But the Nuggets were without JaVale McGee who didn’t get to town yet, he would have changed everything. Right. The big news for the Thunder is they got Thabo Sefolosha back, and while he just played 12 minutes this can return the Thunder to their normal rotations soon.

 

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.