Baseline to Baseline recaps: Joakim Noah is all the offense Bulls need

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Welcome to PBT’s roundup of the day in NBA action. Or, what you missed while watching the Golden Eagle snatches kid video over and over…

Lakers 101, Bobcats 100: Pau Gasol returned but that kind of got overshadowed by the Lakers barely winning a game they were supposed to cruise in. We’ve got all the details in our Game of the Night post.

Bulls 100, Celtics 89: The Bulls played the night before in Memphis, while the Celtics had been in Chicago resting. But it didn’t look like that at all — the Bulls moved faster, played with more energy and just looked younger and fresher. Which is troubling for a Celtics team that falls to .500 on the season and has lost three straight. They do some things well (Rajon Rondo had 26), but their defense was the weakness as Joakim Noah racked up a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer each had 21. Chicago shot 56 percent from three on the night. Their bench outscored Boston 37-16.

Heat 103, Timberwolves 92: When Miami is hitting threes they are very difficult to beat — in the second half the Heat went 8-of-16 from three and pulled away from Minnesota to get the win. What is the other rule when playing the Heat? Don’t turn the ball over or they will run you into the ground. Minny turned the ball over 19 times (with Ricky Rubio out). Dwyane Wade had 24 points, while LeBron James flirted with the triple-double — 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko had 22 points for Minny.

Jazz 92, Nets 90: Brooklyn found another way to lose one in the second half. They led by as many as 13 but the Jazz came back in the third because they grabbed 8 offensive rebounds in the quarter while the Nets turned the ball over 7 times in the same span. Still they had a chance at the end, on a crazy play Joe Johnson made a steal but eventually passed on a three giving it to Gerald Wallace for a three that missed, then Reggie Evans missed the putback and the Jazz held on. Mo Williams had 19 for Utah, Al Jefferson added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Mavericks 107, 76ers 100: Dorell Wright almost brought the Sixers back. Almost. Dallas had stretched out their lead with a 14-4 run and were up 12 with four minutes left, looking like they would cruise in for the win. But Wright hit four threes in the final 3:15 of the game and got it down to 5, but the Mavs held on thanks to O.J. Mayo and… Chris Kaman? Yes, Kaman. Mayo and Kaman combined for 17 of the Mavericks final 19. That is four straight losses for Philly.

Nuggets 112, Spurs 106: Vintage Tim Duncan showed up for this one — 31 points (12 in the fourth quarter), 18 rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots. But it wasn’t enough. Denver took the lead in the second quarter and never gave it up. The up and down Nuggets picked up a gritty win behind Danilo Gallinari, who had 28 points and drained some key three-pointers in the final minutes that Gregg Popovich said were the difference. With this Denver has won four of their last five and maybe they will start to build on this kind of win. But we’ve thought that before this season.

Bucks 98, Pacers 93: This was a tight one — tied 85-85 — but Brandon Jennings broke that tie, had 13 of his 34 in the fourth quarter and that was the difference. Monta Ellis added 19. When one or the other of the Bucks guards is hot they stand a good chance of winning, that’s hat happened here. On the flip side, not one of the Pacers starters shot over 50 percent, but George Hill still had 18.

Raptors 113, Cavaliers 99: Andrea Bargnani has missed three games and the Raptors have a three game winning streak. Coincidence? Toronto used a 14-4 run at the start of the fourth quarter to pull away and get a win on the road. Toronto had balance — 23 from Jose Calderon, 18 from Alan Anderson, 17 from Amir Johnson. Kyrie Irving had 23 points and seven assists, Anderson Varejao dropped 22 points and had 10 rebounds for the Cavs.

Hawks 100, Wizards 95 (OT): Another tough loss for the Wizards, one that came despite Jordan Crawford having a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Lou Williams had 24 points, Josh Smith added 17 points and 13 rebounds. Also, in overtime there was a key three from DeShawn Stevenson.

Warriors 103, Hornets 96: Credit the young Hornets for having some fight — they were down a dozen midway through the fourth quarter and fought back to tie this game at 92-92 on an Anthony Davis and-1 (he finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds). But the Warriors have shooters — Jarrett Jack drew a foul and sank a couple free throws, Stephen Curry drained a jumper, Jack got a couple more free throws and that was it. David Lee had 26 points and nine rebounds for Golden State. Ryan Anderson had 28 points for the Hornets.

Markieff Morris calls Paul Millsap a “crybaby,” Millsap responds “It definitely got personal now”

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The Atlanta Hawks owned the Washington Wizards from the opening tip Saturday, making it a 2-1 series with an easy win.

It’s a series now — and that includes trash talk.

Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.

The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”

Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.

“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”

These two have already had a beef this series.

Game 4 in this series just got a lot more interesting.

Marc Gasol game-winner tops Kawhi Leonard’s brilliance, evens Spurs/Grizzlies series 2-2

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Best. Game. Of. The. Playoffs.

So far at least.

Kawhi Leonard scored 16 consecutive points for the Spurs down the stretch of regulation to force overtime, then in OT hit a corner three with 7.2 seconds left to tie the game at 108-108. Leonard finished the game with a career playoff high of 43 points.

It wasn’t enough. Because in those final seconds Marc Gasol did this.

The 110-108 Memphis win ties the series at 2-2 as it heads back to San Antonio for Game 5. I might not want to sit next to Gregg Popovich on the flight home.

While Gasol hit the big shot, he never gets the chance if Mike Conley isn’t every kind of amazing through the clutch parts of this game. Conley finished with 35 points, and that includes a floater in the lane that forced OT (although Leonard got a pretty good look to end it in regulation and just missed). I’m surprised the Spurs switched on the pseudo pick on this play.

The Spurs struggled to get stops down the stretch, mostly because they had David Lee and Tony Parker both on the floor and Memphis did a good job getting switches onto those defenders. Spurs starting center and best defensive big Dewayne Dedmon missed the game due to an illness, and that ended up mattering.

Hawks take control early, romp past Wizards 116-98

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ATLANTA (AP) — Paul Millsap scored 29 points, Dennis Schroder had 27 and the Atlanta Hawks delivered an early knockout blow against Washington, cruising to a 116-98 victory Saturday that sliced the Wizards’ lead to 2-1 in the opening-round playoff series.

After two tight losses in Washington exposed some bad blood between the teams, Atlanta returned home and built a 25-point lead by late in the first quarter.

The Hawks were never seriously challenged by the Wizards, who were essentially a one-man team. John Wall kept up his dazzling play in the series, scoring 29 points, but the point guard got no help from his teammates.

The other Washington starters combined to score 30 points on 14-of-45 shooting.

Millsap also had 14 rebounds, while rookie Taurean Prince chipped in with 16 points.

Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta.

The Hawks came out intent on moving the ball, getting open looks and cutting down on the turnovers that plagued them in the first two contests.

Talk about following the game plan.

Atlanta pushed out to a double-digit lead before the game was 3 minutes old and stretched the margin to 38-13 with just under a minute to go in the opening quarter on Schroder’s 3-pointer.

Wall did everything he could to spark the Wizards. He posed along the baseline after a thunderous dunk, which might have had more effect if the Wizards weren’t losing by 23 at the time. He also darted through the lane against a collapsing defense to bank in an improbable shot, drawing gasps from the Atlanta crowd.

Wall made all but one shot and scored 21 points in the first half, but the Wizards trailed 64-46 heading to the locker room. The other four Washington starters had just 18 points.

Beal, in particular, had a miserable night after averaging 26.5 points in the first two games. He was held to 12 points on 6-of-20 shooting, missing all six of his attempts beyond the arc.

TIP INS

Wizards: Wall is averaging 31 points per game in the series. … F Otto Porter Jr. left in the third quarter with a strained neck and didn’t return. … After a video review, Jason Smith was called for a flagrant foul against Millsap late in the third quarter.

Hawks: C Dwight Howard remains a non-factor in Atlanta’s offense. He scored five points and took just four shots, giving him a mere 15 attempts over the first three games. He did have 11 rebounds. … Schroder had some issues at the free-throw line, making only half of his eight attempts. Millsap did, too, going 5 of 9. … Atlanta had a double-digit lead for the final 44:24 of the game. … Prince picked up a technical foul for taunting the Wizards after an alley-oop dunk in the closing minutes. … The Hawks had just 11 turnovers.

 

Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic to play, start vs. Golden State in Game 3

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In 20 games after the Trail Blazers traded for him, Jusuf Nurkic averaged 15.2 points 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2 blocks per game. Portland was 9.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court and went 14-6, a surge that helped get them into the playoffs. Then a leg fracture had him sidelined for the end of the season and the start of the playoffs.

Until Saturday.

He will play limited minutes, but the Blazers will take it.

Portland is down 0-2 to the Warriors but are coming home to take on a Golden State team that will be without Kevin Durant again (strained calf) and coach Steve Kerr (illness).

Nurkic gives Portland some hope, he certainly helps their defense. We’ll see if that’s enough.