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

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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).

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Associated Press
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 

Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.

Suns’ Devin Booker sinks three that defeats Knicks (VIDEO)

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The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.

The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.

Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.

Kawhi Leonard drops 41, Spurs best Cavaliers in OT in what may be game of the Year (VIDEO)

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The Spurs would like you to include them in your conversations about contenders.

Without Pau Gasol (hand) or Tony Parker (foot), San Antonio went into Cleveland and beat the defending NBA champions in OT 118-115 in what was one of the wildest, most entertaining games of the season. Check out the clutch-time action above, including LeBron James hitting a three Shaker Heights.

But the real star was Kawhi Leonard, who put up a career-best 41 on 30 shots. He’s the guy who has to create and make plays for this offense, and he did it on a big stage. LeBron added 29 points. Between them, they put on quite a show.