Magic could have had, didn’t want Iguodala, either

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A lot of people have been asking how the heck Orlando traded Dwight Howard and got a team that is going to be near the bottom of the NBA out of it.

That was the plan. They want to be bad and use their own picks and the ones they traded for — plus the young players coming their way — to get better over the course of a few years.

Because they could have had Bynum… and they could have had Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia team president Rod Thorn confirmed to Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“It’s interesting in that we’ve been talking to the Lakers and to Orlando for the last three weeks… And then it really came down to, Orlando — they did not want to keep Iguodala because they’re going in a different way. And they wanted to move him, and so they talked to a few teams and they ended up making the deal with Denver to move his contract, and that ended up making the deal. It took a while to do it but it ended up getting done.”

For many the gut reaction is “they didn’t want that guy who just looked awesome in London?” But this doesn’t really bother me that much for Orlando — if you have to rebuild Iguodala is not the guy to do it around. To rebuild you want young players and picks and Iguodala is a prime of his career right now player with a max deal, he just stalls any rebuilding. Now, if you want to ask why didn’t Orlando just swap with the Lakers and get 24-year-old Bynum, that’s another discussion.

Thorn tried to sell that this trade worked for everyone, but he has to reach to make it sound good for Orlando.

But if I look at the trade, Mike, I think the Lakers obviously, they got Howard, he’s considered to be the number one center in the league. So they did fine. We got Bynum, who’s considered to be the number two center in the league. Denver got Iguodala, didn’t have to give up much. So it’s good for them. And with Orlando you won’t know for a couple years, Mike, because they’re dependant on these young players.”

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)