Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Lakers win fourth in a row without Kobe

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What you missed while going on Craigslist to try and find the guy who got you pregnant at that Motorhead concert….

Heat 93, Knicks 85: This potential first-round matchup proved that the Heat’s three stars — they accounted for all but 20 of the Heat’s points on the day — were better than the Knicks one (Carmelo Anthony had 42 points). Matt Moore broke down this game for us.

Lakers 112, Mavericks 108 (OT): The Lakers have now won four in a row without Kobe Bryant — the real question is can they keep up this unselfish team play and defense while incorporating Kobe back into the game. For now, Kobe is just being an assistant coach.

This game kind of has me rooting for this to be the first-round matchup — they played a close, intense game trading big shots. There was Jason Terry knocking down key looks, same with Pau Gasol (two threes in the overtime) and Metta World Peace (18 points). Dallas stayed close thanks to 24 from Dirk Nowitzki and as a team they hit the long ball — 12-of-21 from three. The Lakers got 23 points from Andrew Bynum (but on just 9-of-24 shooting, it was not his best day) and 22 points from Ramon Sessions, including a key three late in the clock.

Nuggets 101, Rockets 86: Big victory for Denver in the first game of a home-and-home against Houston, a win that moves Denver into the 7 seed, one game up on Houston in the West. Denver won because they played their kind of game — pushing the pace and sharing the ball. Also, they won because when the started doubling Luis Scola the Rockets struggled to find another scoring option. Arron Afflalo had 20 points for Denver. Down the stretch Ty Lawson outplayed Goran Dragic,

Magic 100, Cavaliers 84: No team could have used a win today more than the Magic. They got an easy one. Orlando led wire to wire in this one with Jameer Nelson stepping up to create opportunities for others (nine assists) and drop in 21 points himself. The Magic moved the ball well and had 25 assists on their 36 baskets.

Bulls 100, Pistons 94 (OT): There was a lot of fight in the Pistons and the Bulls are still getting used to having Rose back in the lineup — he had an off game but was there with the key three that sent this game to overtime. Joakim Noah had 20 points and 17 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey had 32 for the Pistons but missed two key free throws that left the door open for the Bulls.

Celtics 94, Bobcats 82: Boston sat Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and still won handily. That is 16 straight losses for a Charlotte team that is just going through the motions, while Rondo had 20 points and 16 assists — he has double-digits assists in 22 straight games.

Hornets 88, Grizzlies 75: Memphis jus was not into this game — and could have more serious things to worry about now. The Hornets are not very good but they come to play every night for coach Monty Williams and if you sleep you pay. Eric Gordon had 18 points to lead a balanced Hornets attack.

Raptors 102, Hawks 86: Atlanta took a lot of jump shots and missed a lot of jump shots — if you can keep them out of the paint and make them shoot those you will beat them. Something to watch in the playoffs. DeMar DeRozan had an impressive 25 points.

Kings 104, Trail Blazers 103: What a fun ending. Portland led most of the game but a 10-0 run made it close then Wesley Mathews hit the shot to give the Blazers the lead, only to have Marcus Thornton hit a fade-away from the elbow area. DeMarcus Cousins was a beast in pain and finished with 23 points.

Reports: Kevin McHale withdraws from Kings coaching search, could join Pacers

Kevin McHale
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports wrote a few weeks ago about the Kings coaching search:

Kevin McHale is steadily gaining internal support, league sources told The Vertical. If Cousins truly is the future, the Kings have to hire a coach he will buy into, and McHale, a respected voice and one of the game’s all-time great post players, certainly seems like a good fit.

They won’t get him, of course

McHale indeed emerged as a candidate, and though it took him a little longer than other prominent former head coaches, McHale also came to the conclusion Mannix foresaw,

Marc Stein of ESPN:

This is part of the reason Sacramento talking to everybody. The Kings don’t know whom they can get.

An owner who has changed course too often in Vivek Ranadive, a general manager with too little experience in Vlade Divac, a top player who repeatedly feuds with coaches in DeMarcus Cousins – who’d want this job? Probably not someone who could get one of the NBA’s other 29 head-coaching gigs, and that might apply to McHale.

Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:

Frank Vogel is still twisting in the wind, but it seems unlikely the Pacers keep him.

There’d definitely be something intriguing about former Celtics teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale teaming up in Indiana. McHale’s experience with the Rockets could help him install an up-tempo offense, too.

Cavaliers throw pass off Mike Muscala’s head, set up 3-pointer (video)

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The Cavaliers were making so many 3-pointers, they didn’t need a lucky bounce.

But they got one, anyway.

Mo Williams‘ pass to Richard Jefferson bounced of Mike Muscala‘s head – right to Iman Shumpert for a 3-pointer.

Report: Rockets owner would consider Kenny “the Jet” Smith as head coach

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Kenny “The Jet” Smith is the next Steve Kerr?

I’m with you, I don’t see that either. But apparently in the Houston Rockets’ broad search for a new coach — we know it will not be J.B. Bickerstaff — owner Leslie Alexander would consider Smith, a member of the Rockets’ championship teams in the 1990s. From Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources tell ESPN.com that TNT’s Kenny Smith, who like (Sam) Cassell is a former Rockets player, could also land an interview. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander remains close to many players from the team’s highly successful Clutch City era, which delivered two championships, and holds them in high esteem.

As seen in the video above, Charles Barkley asked Smith about it on Inside the NBA Wednesday and Smith tap danced around the question, saying “anything basketball is me.”

The Rockets need a defensive-minded coach and someone who can help guide and build a good locker room culture, two things that held the Rockets back this season. Someone who can get the respect of James Harden and get him to do things such as show up to training camp in shape.

That’s what makes Jeff Van Gundy an interesting fit, same with Frank Vogel if he is let go by the Indiana Pacers as it more and more seems like he will be. Both of them have experience doing what the Rockets need. Can The Jet coach? Who knows. But with Harden in his prime and some other quality role players on the roster (Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Clint Capella, and the list goes on) why gamble on the unknown?

Report: Bulls telling teams they plan on keeping Jimmy Butler

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 14:  Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls warms up prior to action against the Toronto Raptors in an NBA game at the Air Canada Centre on March 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bulls defeated the Raptors 109-107. NOTE TO USER: user expressly acknowledges and agrees by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Bulls are trying to find their identity. They used to be a defensive team, but they went and got an offensive coach in Fred Hoiberg and by the end of the season had slid badly on that end of the floor. They are no longer Derrick Rose‘s team. They didn’t have the personnel to run Hoiberg’s system. The Bulls need to figure out who they are, then decide which players on the roster should be part of the team moving forward.

Expect Jimmy Butler to be part of that future. He’s the best player on the team, but he rubs some teammates the wrong way, and there have been rumors the Bulls would listen to trade offers.

That got teams calling to test the waters, but the Bulls are telling those teams they plan to hold on to Butler, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.

And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.

“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.

What is the hardest part of assembling a potential NBA title contender? Finding the elite, cornerstone player you need who can lead your team at both ends of the floor. The Chicago Bulls have that in Butler, and he’s locked up until at least the summer of 2019 on a good contract (a max contract before the TV deal money kicked in; there is a player option for a fifth season reaching into 2020). Why would they trade him?

Stranger things have happened, especially with the Bulls, but unless they want to tear it all down and rebuild — and they don’t — getting rid of Butler doesn’t make sense.

The better question is who will be around Butler come next fall?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                =