Baseline to Baseline recaps: Boston is hot, the Sixers not so much


What you missed while buying a small town for yourself

Knicks 100, Bulls 99 (OT): It took some huge threes by Carmelo Anthony and some missed late free throws by Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, but the Bulls got a key win in their playoff chase.

Celtics 103, Sixers 79: Paul Pierce was hot early but it was an 18-2 run in the second quarter that had the Celtics running away with this game and never looking back. The Celtics are playing well right now, while Philly is not defending (something it did well early in the season) and are turning ball over a lot on their way to four straight losses. Right now they are one game up of getting passed by Milwaukee and falling out of the playoffs.

Thunder 91, Raptors 75: Credit Toronto, which hung around this game on the road until midway through the third quarter. That’s when OKC went on a 24-0 run to end the quarter and start the fourth. That was it. What else did you expect to happen? Kevin Durant had 23 and owned the second half. Jose Calderon had 19 points to lead Toronto.

Heat 98, Pistons 75: Dwyane Wade was out with an ankle injury (a game after saying his legs were tired, but sure it’s an injury). The Heat are now 10-1 when Wade has missed a game this year, mostly because LeBron James decides to take over. He had 26 and the Heat took control with a 9-0 run in the second and never looked back.

Spurs 114, Jazz 104: San Antonio opened this game on a 12-4 run — thanks to Tony Parker’s 10 first quarter points (he finished with 27). Fans in San Antonio were chanting MVP at Parker, and he has to be in the conversation. Maybe third, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Nets 122, Cavaliers 118 (OT): This is why you need league pass — nobody thought this game would be the most entertaining game of the day, but it was. They traded threes in the fourth quarter, went into overtime and it was a 6-0 run in the extra period that got the Nets the win. Gerald Green had 32 to lead the Nets (12 in the fourth quarter), he has come on of late. Antawn Jamison had 34 for the Cavs.

Rockets 104, Kings 87: Kyle Lowry was back, but this was the Courtney Lee show — he had 17 first quarter points on 7-8 shooting including nailing all his threes. The Rockets never looked back from there. With the win the Rockets move up to the six seed in the West, still only 1.5 games ahead of the nine seed but they are not the team fading right now (hello Denver).

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.