Miami Heat's James and Wade smile during second half of NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Miami

Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Heat put together a complete game. That will beat anyone.

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Welcome to PBT’s roundup of the day in NBA action. Or, what you missed while watching the video of the worst free throw attempt ever

Spurs 134, Rockets 126 (OT): There was a Linsanity flashback in Houston. Jeremy Lin took charge in the third quarter, slashed into the defense, hit rainbow jumpers and looked like the Lin of those few weeks in New York. Then the Spurs were the Spurs and just out executed everyone. Tony Parker had a triple-double. We broke it all down here.

Miami 101, Atlanta 92: Atlanta played well in this one, but when Miami puts together a complete game it’s not going to matter. Miami shot 58 percent as a team — Dwyane Wade was 11-of-13 shooting (26 points) while LeBron was 10-of-16 (27 points). Miami also had a better defensive game than they had recently forcing turnovers that let them get out and run.

As well as Miami played Atlanta took a 65-63 lead on a deep Jeff Teague three with 6:30 left in the third quarter. Miami had been sloppy with the ball for a stretch and it cost them. But then the run came. Wade hit a 17-footer coming off a screen. Chalmers with a steal and LeBron with the fast break finish with authority. Wade, as the ball handler off pick and roll, gets to free throw line and pulls up for two. LeBron drives the lane and kicks out to Battier for a corner three. Suddenly it’s 72-65. Atlanta’s Jeff Teague tried to stem the flow w with a runner high off the glass, but next time down Wade drew the foul and hit two free throws. Following a Teague turnover, Lebron made a pass to a cutting Wade in transition. It was a13-2 Heat Run. After a Hawks illegal defense, and it was Heat by 10 and they never really looked back. Any time Atlanta made a push, LeBron answered.

Mavericks 119, Kings 96: Dallas went on a 22-2 to start the second quarter and that was pretty much it for the competitive portion of this one. This was a solid, professional win for the Mavericks. That and the Kings were awful. O.J. Mayo led six Mavs in double figures with 19 (he hit three of four from three point land), while DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia each had 25 for Sacramento.

Sixers 104, Pistons 97: This game was close most of the way, it was It was tied 80-80 with Detroit doing a surprising amount of running to stay in it (the Pistons had 20 first half fast break points). Detroit cut it to 98-95 late in the fourth quarter — but a Jrue Holiday three was the dagger. Holiday had 25 points, Turner had 18 on 8-of-13 shooting, Thaddeus Young added an efficient 20. The Sixers won this in the second half when they scored 58 points. Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight each dropped in 22 points for the Pistons.

Warriors 94, Bobcats 86: The Bobcats were trying to avoid losing their 8th straight while snapping the Warriors 3 game winning streak, but were unsuccessful. The Dubs jumped on the ‘Cats early with David Lee (17 first half points, 25 for the game) the catalyst to an 18 point Golden State lead at the half. Lee was joined by the dynamic play of Stephen Curry (27 points, 7 assists), whose all around game kept Charlotte off balance all evening.

The Bobcats, led by Kemba Walker’s 24 points, did make a push in the 2nd half by holding the Warriors to 46 points (11 in the 4th quarter), but the hole they dug themselves in the first 24 minutes proved too much to overcome.
—Darius Soriano

Trail Blazers 92, Raptors 74: The big news out of this was Amir Johnson fighting with the law. And the law won. He was ejected.

But maybe the second biggest news was Portland setting an NBA record for futility going 0-of-20 from three. That is quite a feat in its own right.

As for the basketball game surrounding that show, the Blazers took control in the third with an 13-2 run, sparked in part by LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 30 points and 12 boards. The Blazers may not have hit threes but they owned the paint and got 54 of their points in there. J.J. Hickson was part of that getting 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting. DeMar DeRozan had 20 for Toronto.

Joel Embiid wants the center position to return to the NBA All-Star ballot

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The NBA got rid of the center position on the All-Star ballot starting in 2013, thanks in part to some positional confusion around former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. But just a handful of years later, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid says it should make a comeback.

Embiid — who finished third in the Eastern Conference for forwards in All-Star fan voting — told CSN Philly that due to the plethora of talented big men in the NBA, the position should return.

Via CSN Philly:

“There’s a lot of talented big men in the league, especially at the center position,” Embiid said. “That’s something the NBA should think about, putting the center back on the All-Star ballot.”

There has been a resurgence of talented and burgeoning centers that have entered the league and are performing at a high level. Embiid is one of them, and so too is DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Hassan Whiteside, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Jahlil Okafor.

Adding the center position back might be a tough sell as having it doesn’t reduce eliminations from the roster. It’s much more free-flowing now, and there’s nothing keeping great centers off the All-Star team.

It would also be a little strange if center was added back but there wasn’t a point guard spot, too. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has suggested three categories for the roster in point guard, wing, and frontcourt. That idea is as good as adding the center position, perhaps moreso to many folks in the NBA.

I don’t think adding the center position will make a comeback any time soon. Meanwhile, we’re all just waiting to see if Embiid makes the All-Star reserves.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies for reverse alley-oop jam (VIDEO)

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Is Aaron Gordon a three or a four?

That’s a debate for another day. What we all know he can do is leap out of the building, and he showed off how that can be useful during a game Friday night — Jabari Parker actually defends this fairly well, Gordon can just go over the top of him and get it. With that, we get a highlight.

The Magic upset the Bucks 112-96, behind 20 from a resurgent Elfrid Payton. Parker had 25 for the Bucks.

 

Warriors embrace/struggle through yoga

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 05:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts in the second quarter of Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at ORACLE Arena on June 5, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Anderson Varejao lowered his 6-foot-11 frame into a runner’s lunge and raised one arm high into the air to add a twist, demonstrating after a recent shootaround the new yoga pose he just learned.

Then, he took it up a notch and attempted an airplane balancing pose on one leg with his arms spread wide.

The Golden State Warriors have become yogis.

Coach Steve Kerr is committed to changing things up, and he gave Golden State a day off from the practice floor one day last week so the players could practice yoga instead. In the middle of a prolonged stretch at home with a more regular routine, the schedule allowed for some improvising.

“I really liked it,” Varejao said. “I’m going to do more.”

Doubt you’ll see Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doing downward-facing dog again soon – though Green might be talked into another try eventually.

“I’m bad,” Green said. “Yoga isn’t for everybody. I think it’s a great thing, I just don’t think my body is made for all of those different positions. I did well at a few of them. It’s hard, it’s tough. My body really isn’t cut out for yoga.”

The very next night after the group class, during warmups for a home game with the Pistons, player development coach Bruce Fraser pulled his foot to his opposite inner thigh for an impromptu tree pose. He laughed as an amused Shaun Livingston watched from the baseline.

Andre Iguodala is an experienced yogi who can really cat-cow and is considered top on the team, often taking classes. Center Zaza Pachulia also can forward fold with the best of them. They took prominent positions in the class led by Lisa Goodwin, Golden State’s director of corporate communications and also a yoga teacher, at a Berkeley studio – a first for Kerr taking the team away from team headquarters for a yoga session.

No surprise, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry can bring it on the mat, too.

“We’ve had some optional yoga sessions at our facility. This is the first time we took everybody and made it mandatory,” Kerr said. “It was good.”

The temperature was about 92 degrees for the hour-long power vinyasa class, so it was steamy.

Everybody was drenched in sweat by the end for final resting pose, or savasana.

“My muscles felt good,” forward James Michael McAdoo said, rubbing his stomach where his core got a workout. “It was fun. It was hot in there, like working in a sauna. I told our strength and conditioning coach, `You got to step up your game. Lisa embarrassed us.'”

“It’s awful, it’s pitiful,” Thompson said of his own yoga ability. “It’s something I worked on and it’s something I actually enjoy. More than just being physically challenging, it’s an incredible mental workout. It tests your pain tolerance and your ability to push yourself mentally. That’s why I like it. It was really good. I think it helped a lot of us – everybody, even the coaches.”

Along with the experienced yoga veterans, there were some first-timers.

A few found it extremely tough.

“I’m not the most flexible,” acknowledged player development coach Chris DeMarco.

Assistant coach Mike Brown described his debut as “terrible.”

“For me, it was really hard, but it was fun,” he said, later adding, “I nearly passed out.”

Ron Adams, another assistant who focuses on preparing Golden State’s defense, happened to work out in the hottest corner of the room for his first time practicing in that high temperature.

“It’s such a cleansing exercise,” he said.

The Warriors aren’t the only ones doing it.

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has scheduled yoga time for the Pistons, saying: “It’s got its value, no question about it. Would I consider doing it with them? Probably not.”

Kerr goes whenever he can fit it in, typically taking an hour-long class during the lunch hour on game days when the schedule – and his body – allows.

It’s a time he can focus on taking some deep breaths, literally, away from the pressure-packed NBA workload and just be just another yoga student for 60 minutes out of his day.

This weekend marks one year since Kerr formally returned to the bench last Jan. 22 against Indiana after a lengthy leave of absence to deal with complications from a pair of back surgeries. Current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the way during a record 24-0 start and went 39-4 before Kerr’s comeback on the way to winning Coach of the Year after an NBA record 73-9 finish.

While the 51-year-old Kerr still has some discouraging, physically challenging moments dealing with pain and headaches, he considers himself fortunate to be on the sideline doing what he loves.

“I guess normal is a good way to say it. He seems like his old self,” Curry said. “You know he’s been through a lot just physically trying to recover from the surgeries he’s had. I can’t imagine the frustration, how long it took and things he had to do and all the doctors he’s met with. His whole story is crazy. We’re obviously happy to have him back but not only that, you see him with energy and his presence like he wants. It’s been good to see.”

Whether Kerr will take his team back to yoga any time soon, time will tell. The Warriors are at the season’s midway point and the “dog days” of January as Kerr has put it. Golden State was home for all but a night from Dec. 26 until leaving for Houston on Thursday for Friday’s game against the Rockets, with just a quick bus ride to Sacramento as the lone road trip in a 10-game stretch during that span.

Because there was so much time to practice, the yoga day was a nice change of scenery.

“Just to get away and go do something else,” Green said. “We’re still together doing something productive. But, it’s not for me.”

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell slips, mildly sprains knee ligament. MRI Saturday.

Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, right, takes the ball away as Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell, center, falls to the floor with an injury during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell mildly sprained a ligament in his right knee in the opening minutes of Los Angeles’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

Russell was re-evaluated at halftime and did not return to the game.

Russell was hurt while going around a screen set by teammate Julius Randle on Los Angeles’ second possession. The point guard’s left leg alarmingly stretched backward when he lost his footing, and he stayed down on the court for several moments.

He eventually walked on his own to the locker room, where the sprain was diagnosed.

Russell is averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds during the second NBA season for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft.