Baseline to Baseline recaps: Memphis can flat out ball


Our nightly roundup of all the action in the NBA. Or, what you missed while thinking maybe you should lay off those breakfast sandwiches….

Lakers 103, Kings 90: The Lakers are 2-0 in the Bernie Bickerstaff era and all anybody wants to talk about is Phil Jackson. We break it all down right here.

Grizzlies 104, Heat 86: As we all expected, Wayne Ellington was an unstoppable force who completely overwhelmed the Heat wing players. Okay, maybe not, but it turns out Memphis is a lot like the Heat in that if they are getting outside shots to fall — and they did, Ellington was 7-of-11 from three — then they become impossible to stop because they have Zach Randolph (18 points, 12 rebounds) in the paint. As a team, the Grizzlies were 14-of-24 from three. Oh, and they have the very good Rudy Gay, who scored 21.

In some ways you could see why Erik Spoelstra thinks that Chris Bosh can hang with big centers — Marc Gasol scored two points while Bosh caught the ball away from the basket and drove around Gasol on his way to 22 points on 12 shots. The problem was Heat players not named Bosh or LeBron James (20 points) shot just 25 percent against the Grizzlies defense.

Thunder 106, Cavaliers 91: This was the best OKC has looked overall this season. Russell Westbrook hit a few midrange jumpers early, seemed to get his confidence going and he went on to score 27 and dish out 10 assists — plus hit a key buzzer-beater three at the end of the third quarter — to spark the Thunder to a win. OKC played good defense and looked every bit the powerhouse in this one. Kyrie Irving had 20 points to lead the Cavaliers because he is really, really good.

Clippers 89, Hawks 76: The battle of two deep teams who love the jump shot went to the Clippers which went on a couple second half runs (including a 20-5 across the third to the fourth when the Clips pulled away) to seal this. The Clippers got double-digit scoring from three guys off the bench — Jamal Crawford (11), Eric Bledsoe (12) and Matt Barnes (10). And what should scare teams is that is not some one-off night. They can do that whenever they want. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 16 points (on 11 shots). For the Hawks, Al Horford is playing well — he has such a well-rounded game — and scored 11.

Nets 82, Magic 74: The Nets have a thing for giving up leads — there was a 22-point come-from-ahead loss to Minnesota a week ago, Sunday Brooklyn raced out to a big lead with a 35-point first quarter, led by as much as 20 but had to scramble at the end to secure it. The Nets took their foot off the gas and while the Magic are not talented then are playing hard for first-year coach Jacque Vaughn. Kris Humphries had 14 points and 21 rebounds.

LeBron James throws touchdown pass like Cleveland fans hope Sam Darnold can

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Cleveland fans can only hope Sam Darnold is as good a passer as LeBron James.

And that his receivers are better than Jose Calderon. Or at least taller.

LeBron James grabbed a rebound and threw a perfect touchdown pass to a leaked out Jose Calderon as the Cavaliers went on to beat the Phoenix Suns Friday night.

🙌🏽 @kingjames 🎯 @jmcalderon8 🙌🏽

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By the way, LeBron made a nice dish to the returned Larry Nance Jr., too.


Report: Rockets to waive Brandan Wright

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Finally healthy, it was easy to see where big man Brandan Wright would fit on Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets — he’s an athletic big man who can get up and down the court, he knows how to finish lobs above the rim, and could provide some front line depth behind Clint Capela and Nene. That’s why the Rockets picked him up in February after he was bought out by the Grizzlies.

It didn’t work out that way. Wright played in one game with Houston before his sore knee forced him to shut it down. He has not played since.

The Rockets are moving on, waiving Wright and bringing in forward Le’Bryan Nash out of the G-League on a 10-day contract, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

With center Brandan Wright unable to return from his knee issues this season, the Rockets will release Wright, who signed as a free agent last month, a person with knowledge of the move said…

He had a minor procedure and will work on his rehab with the Rockets staff, the individual familiar with the plans said.

 “Brandan did everything positive,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He just wasn’t physically able to hang in there. We hate it that the guy isn’t part of this.”

Wright has played in just 28 total this season averaging 5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes. He’s battled knee issues for a few seasons now and has not played more than 28 games in the last three. If healthy he can help teams, but we’ll see if he ever gets back into the NBA.

The Rockets use Ryan Anderson as their backup center, using Nene less of late, although how much D’Antoni can use Anderson in the playoffs due to his defensive challenges remains to be seen.

Nash, who played a season at Oklahoma State, will get his first taste of the NBA. He was a highly recruited kid out of high school, and this season has averaged 8.5 points in 19 minutes per game for the Rio Grande Vipers this season.



Cavaliers get Nance Jr., Thompson, Hood back from injuries

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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers are closer to being at full strength.

Forwards Larry Nance Jr., Tristan Thompson, and Rodney Hood all returned from injuries on Friday night as Cleveland, which has been riddled with injuries all season, hosted the Phoenix Suns. Acting coach Larry Drew said none of the players will start and all will be on minutes’ restrictions.

Drew, who is filling in while coach Tyronn Lue is on leave to address his own health, plans to keep his starting lineup intact and ease the returning players into the rotation.

LeBron James, Jose Calderon, George Hill, Jeff Green and Kevin Love were scheduled to started against Phoenix, which has lost nine in a row. Drew said he and Lue will talk again Saturday about lineup changes for the upcoming trip to Brooklyn, Miami and Charlotte.

“I really didn’t want to disrupt the starting five that we have out there right now and those guys will be playing limited minutes, so I wanted to get them slowly back and acclimated to what we’re doing,” Drew said. “There’s a chance that there could be some early substitutions to get the guys in there. I’m not ruling that out, but right now I just kind of want to stay with the flow, stay with what we’ve done the last couple of ballgames and then we’ll probably after tonight we’ll see as far as where we stand as far as starters are concerned.”

Thompson missed nine games with a sprained right ankle, Nance Jr. was out four with a hamstring issue and Hood was out the past three games with a bad back.

Drew said he did not know if Lue will accompany the team on its trip.

But while the Cavs are healthier than they’ve been in weeks, the team is still missing Kyle Korver, who is with his family in Iowa following the death of his brother, and rookie Cedi Osman, who is sidelined with a left hip flexor strain.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Bulls with ankle injury

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the Milwaukee Bucks’ home game Friday night against the Chicago Bulls with a sprained right ankle.

The Bucks ruled out Antetokounmpo earlier Friday.

Antetokounmpo got hurt in the second quarter of a 127-120 loss on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers when he appeared to trip over teammate Shabazz Muhammad under the Bucks’ basket.

Antetokounmpo is fourth in the league in scoring at 27.3 points a game.