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.


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.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.