Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

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


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.

Report: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor to be shadowed by security guard now

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

In the run-up to the NBA Draft, there were no questions — at least publicly — about Jahlil Okafor‘s character. But of late there has been a run or incidents since then: He allegedly had a gun pulled on him outside a club in October; in November he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; then he had an altercation with a guy outside a club in Boston that the police in that city are now investigating.

Okafor publicly apologized for the incidents. Multiple times.

The Sixers are making sure a security guard follows Okafor around when he steps out now, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources.

The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.

Earlier in the day a source had wondered to John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com why there wasn’t already security around the young core of the team when they went out.

Another front office member for another team questioned “why the Sixers won’t surround those guys with security.”

“Damn near every team does that,” the executive said, “especially with their top guys. I guess the Sixers know more than everyone else again.”

The Sixers head of security is supposed to be notified when players went out. Apparently that was not happening.

Okafor is 19, has money, and (at the very least) is putting himself in situations where bad things are more likely to occur.

We all made a lot of mistakes at that age, maybe not as potentially serious, but the bottom line is 19-year-olds don’t make good decisions. This is a Sixers team lacking in veteran leadership in the locker room, and while it’s debatable how much that would help in the wee small hours of the morning when Okafor seems to find trouble, it couldn’t hurt.

This is a smart move by Okafor’s friends/posse/handlers/whatever you call them. Get in his face now, tell him he can lose a fan base whether he’s scoring 17.5 points a game a night or not. Tell him to grow up. Then have someone around him to make sure he does the right thing (or those looking to draw him into trouble are kept away).

Watch Rasheed Wallace hit two simultaneous three pointers, one with with each hand

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
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Ball don’t lie.

The ball has always loved Rasheed Wallace, and that hasn’t changed since he stopped playing in the NBA. Check out this shot, courtesy Brandon Jennings.

I love everything about this, including the fact Sheed’s wearing the same thing he wore around the NBA for years. I love that Wallace is still a trick shot master, just like always.

(Hat tip to Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Kobe Bryant went from DeMar DeRozan’s idol to his friend

Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan
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TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan was 16 when he was invited to Kobe Bryant‘s camp for the top 25 American high school shooting guards.

A friendship grew between the youngster who would become an All-Star for the Toronto Raptors and the player who would become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

DeRozan talked at length Sunday night about Bryant, who announced on The Players’ Tribune that he’ll retire after the season, capping a 20-year NBA career.

“The knowledge that he tended to give me every time I got the chance to be around him, especially at a young age, carrying over to the league, it was definitely an honor,” DeRozan said after the Raptors’ 107-102 loss Sunday night to Phoenix. “I tried to listen as much as possible, soak in as much as I could all of the time. It’s crazy how much time flies.”

Bryant was DeRozan’s favorite player while growing up in Compton, Calif.

“I’ve tried to emulate and learn so much from him ever since I was a kid, watching every single game growing up in Los Angeles, having a chance to get with him and learn from him, from conversations even when I was in high school from playing against him, completing against him, being in big games with him,” said DeRozan, who scored 29 points in Sunday’s loss. “It’s definitely a sad, sad day, but he’s been in the game a long time.”

Bryant’s announcement came just before the Lakers’ game against the visiting Indiana Pacers. Fans at the game received a letter of thanks from the 37-year-old player in a black envelope embossed with gold.

Bryant has struggled mightily with injuries the past several years, and is shooting a career-worst 32 percent this season.

“It don’t matter. That man has five rings, 17 all-stars, MVP,” DeRozan said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done. It’s just father time catching up with him, injuries catching up with him this past year. People will appreciate it when he’s away from the game.”

DeRozan has his favorite Kobe memory – Bryant scoring 81 points against Toronto in 2006. DeRozan, who would join the Raptors as a rookie three years later, said he felt as if he was playing a video game watching the high-scoring spectacle unfold on TV.

DeRozan is in his seventh season with Toronto. He can’t imagine playing 20 years.

“Especially playing at a high level, doing the things he was doing … people don’t understand how hard that is,” DeRozan said. “Even now, a lot of us find ourselves tired (on) back-to-backs. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To do it 20 years at a high level, you have to give that man every credit in the world.”

Hornets’ Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with strained calf

Al Jefferson
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The Hornets have been playing well of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. They are solidly in the playoff picture out East, in the six slot right now.

This is not going to help matters.

The team announced that an MRI confirmed center Al Jefferson will be out two to three weeks with a strained left calf muscle, suffered during Charlotte’s 87-82 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Jefferson missing a few weeks due to injury at some point during the season is an annual event, like the Rose Parade or the Head of the Charles Regatta — but this year the Hornets are better prepared to deal with it. This is the deepest Charlotte team in recent memory.

Tyler Hansbrough, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky will get more run — plus Spencer Hawes may be back in the rotation — and if they can step up the Hornets will not slow down much.

This season the Hornets defense has been downright stingy when Jefferson is on the bench, giving up 94.2 points per 100 possessions (which is 10 better than when he is on the court). However, the Hornet offense and rebounding efforts are stronger when he plays.