Three Stars of the Night: Turn It Around

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How about those road Warriors? They didn’t have Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry, or Harrison Barnes…and they still shot 53 percent in a 108-95 victory in Cleveland. A lot of that credit goes to Klay Thompson, who just missed the cut despite dropping a career-high 32 points. That’s how good our Three Stars were tonight, so let’s get right to them:

Third Star: David Lee – (20 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists)

Lee makes so much of Golden State’s offense work with his high post play and ability in the pick and roll, and tonight no was no exception. Even with the Warriors having to dig deep into their bench, Lee made the offense work by consistently making the right decisions. He’s always been a dogged offensive rebounder and good finisher, but Lee is so much more complete than he was a few years ago. It’s frightening to think how good Golden State can be with Andrew Bogut’s defense filling in the only real gaps in Lee’s game.

Second Star: Brandon Jennings – (30 points in 30 minutes, 6 assists)

Jennings and the Bucks both came out slow against the Pistons, but it didn’t take them long to turn it on. After the Bucks captured the lead with a big second quarter, Jennings sealed the deal with maybe the best short scoring burst we’ve seen this year. Halfway through the third quarter, Jennings scored on six straight possessions. For those scoring at home, it looked like this: Layup-two free throws-3-3-3-3. That’s a 16 point flurry on consecutive possessions with no misses in a little over two minutes of game time. You won’t see a scoring explosion like that again this year.

First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge – (29 points, 13 rebounds, game-tying and game-winning shots)

Never, ever count the Blazers out of a game at home. Dallas probably thought they had it in the bag up 21 in the third quarter, but they didn’t count on LaMarcus Aldridge performing miracles. After climbing all the way back, the Blazers found themselves down just three with about 11 seconds left. Aldridge set a down screen, got the ball, and then stepped back behind the 3-point line like that’s something he regularly does. Aldridge hadn’t hit a 3-pointer all season, but his huge shot from the 3-ball tied the game and sent the Rose Garden into hysteria. Thanks to a drawn charge on the other end by Ronnie Price, the Blazers incredibly got a chance to win it in overtime, and there was no doubt who they were going to. That’s the thing about Aldridge — he has two moves in the post, but because he’s so long, they’re still really tough to stop. Aldridge went to his patented turnaround with the game on the line, and it fell through to give the Blazers a dramatic home win.

Chicago does humor with “Beauty and the Bull” snapchat musical

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The Beauty and the Beast movie is both a hit and ripe for satire. Or just amusing spinoffs.

Enter the Chicago Bulls, with Benny the Bull mascot and Robin Lopez pitching in on a musical takeoff of the film promoting the team.

Well played Bulls.

LeBron James drives through Wizards defense, dunks on

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Even when they are getting beat — and the Cavaliers have some issues to shake out before the playoffs start — there are a couple times a game that LeBron James makes a play that is stunning.

For example, splitting defenders out high with his dribble then going in and dunking on Ian Mahinmi. LeBron did that Saturday night.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers and Cleveland has issues that are bigger than LeBron’s goggles (Boston can tie Cleveland for the top spot in the East with a win Sunday), but never doubt LeBron’s explosiveness.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86

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DALLAS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth after their fifth straight victory, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

The Raptors, who came back from 15-point deficits to win each of their last two games, made it a little easier on themselves Saturday. Toronto scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in dealing the Mavericks’ playoff hopes a damaging blow.

Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for Dallas, which missed 18 of its first 22 3-pointers and finished just 7 of 28 from behind the arc.

Patrick Patterson added 14 points for Toronto, including a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.

The Mavericks fell four games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run made things more interesting.

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s free throws with 7:57 to go brought the Mavs within 79-74, the closest they had been since 7-2 early in the game. But Ibaka made consecutive jumpers to restore a nine-point lead, and Dallas got no closer than six after that.

The Raptors had their biggest lead at 42-26 in the first half. Barnes scored Dallas’ last 11 points of the half to help cut into the lead, but Toronto led 54-44 at the break.

J.J. Barea‘s long 3 at the third-quarter buzzer again brought Dallas within 10 at 74-64.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful that guard Kyle Lowry would return from wrist surgery before the end of the regular season. “I know he’s doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of work to keep his body in shape,” Casey said. “Just let him rehab, let him do his thing and trust our medical people.” Lowry has missed the last 16 games. . Toronto was also without starting forward DeMarre Carroll due to a sore lower back. P.J. Tucker started in his place.

Mavericks: Seth Curry with 11 points and Yogi Ferrell with 10 were the only other Mavs in double figures. . Nerlens Noel started his second game in a row at center for the Mavericks, who have gone to a big lineup. They’ve moved Dirk Nowitzki to power forward, Barnes to small forward and Curry to point guard.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY

The Mavericks took their 41st loss of the season. Their next loss will end the NBA’s second-longest streak of .500 or better seasons – currently at 16 seasons. Their last sub-.500 season was 1999-00, when they finished 40-42 and Mark Cuban became owner of the team in January 2000.

San Antonio has the longest streak of .500 or better seasons with 20, including this season.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT

Cuban couldn’t resist giving his opinion on Barea’s ejection from the Mavericks’ victory over the Clippers on Thursday night. Barea was called for a flagrant 2 foul for pushing Blake Griffin, a player with a 10-inch height advantage over Barea.

“I just feel bad for Blake,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to come back from a knockout like that. We sent flowers to his family, condolences. I can only guess that he’s going to be drinking through a straw for a long, long time.”