Baseline-to-Baseline recaps: Nuggets streak, Bulls slide

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Welcome to PBT’s roundup of yesterday’s NBA games. Or, what you missed while watching Harvard bust your bracket.

Nuggets 101, Sixers 100

At a certain point, a winning streak takes on a life of its own, to the point where it seemingly can’t be stopped.

That certainly seems to be the case with the Miami Heat right now, but the Nuggets are on a 14-game winning streak of their own now, thanks to a career night from Corey Brewer.

Blazers 99, Bulls 89

This game was nowhere near as close as the score would indicate, and considering the fact that the Bulls were playing at home and saw both Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson return to the lineup after missing time due to injury, this was a brutal performance from Chicago.

Portland began to do its damage in the second quarter, opening the period on a 14-0 run. Their lead reached as many as 19 points before halftime, and as many as 28 points before the third quarter was through.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard handled the bulk of the offense with 28 and 24 points respectively, and the Bulls actually made a run to close the gap in the fourth, behind eight points from Gibson and 10 from Jimmy Butler as Tom Thibodeau actually rested four of his five starters for the game’s final 12 minutes.

This was Chicago’s fourth loss in its last five games.

Kings 101, Timberwolves 98

Tyreke Evans scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter of this one, yet still tried to give away the game in the closing seconds.

With Sacramento leading by three and having possession of the ball with 34 seconds remaining (and a difference of almost 11 seconds between the shot clock and the game clock), Evans exhibited poor decision-making and even worse fundamental skill, as he got into the lane and turned the ball over before his team could even get a shot off.

Thankfully for Sacramento, the best Minnesota could do was find Dante Cunningham for a wide-open look from three-point distance that careened off the backboard as time expired. For the record, Cunningham has made just one three-pointer in 19 career attempts as he’s now in his fourth NBA season, making the Timberwolves’ final possession somehow worse than that of the Kings.

Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson has another surgery, will miss entire season now

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans say rookie guard Frank Jackson won’t make his NBA debut this season after having follow-up surgery to remove residual scar tissue from earlier right foot operations.

The Pelicans say Jackson also received an injection in his foot.

The club says a specialist in New York handled Jackson’s latest procedure.

The Pelicans acquired the 6-foot-4 Jackson through a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Hornets, who selected the former Duke player with the first pick of the second round last summer.

Following the draft, the Pelicans signed Jackson to a three-year contract at the NBA minimum with two years guaranteed, but Jackson needed a second foot surgery last summer to address a setback following his initial surgery last May.

Jackson spent one season at Duke, averaging 10.9 points.


Giannis Antetokounmpo turns bad pass into ridiculous alley-oop (VIDEO)

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That is just not fair.

Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe threw an alley-oop pass to Giannis Antetokounmpo that was off the mark — high and behind him — but it just doesn’t matter. The Greek Freak gets up and throws it down.

It’s early, but it’s going to be hard to beat that one for dunk of the night.

League’s Last Two Minute Report backs referees (mostly) in Raptors/Thunder game

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Anyone who watched the Thunder’s win over the Raptors Sunday afternoon in Toronto — especially the final few minutes — thought it was not referee Marc Davis and crew’s finest hour. There were missed calls and three-straight ejections of Raptors players, which all seemed rather hair-trigger (especially coach Dwane Casey, who was tossed for something a fan behind him said).

The NBA’s Last Two Minute report doesn’t see it that way — it says the referees nailed it.

According to the report, there was only one missed call in the final two minutes: Carmelo Anthony held Pascal Siakam as a pass came to him with 11.7 seconds left, and that should have been called.

What about the play that set DeMar DeRozan off and ultimately got him ejected, the drive to the basket with 33 seconds left (and the Raptors down two) where DeRozan thought Corey Brewer fouled him? The report said that was a good no call:

DeRozan (TOR) starts his drive and Brewer (OKC) moves laterally in his path and there is contact. The contact is incidental as both players attempt to perform normal basketball moves….

RHH shows Brewer (OKC) make contact with the ball and the part of DeRozan’s (TOR) hand that is on the ball. The hand is considered “part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and therefore, contact on that part of the hand by a defender while it is in contact with the ball is not illegal.

(I didn’t see it that way, I think the contact was more than incidental, and to me looking at the replay Brewer catches some wrist and impedes the shot in a way that was not legal. Just my two cents.)

The report does not cover the ejections, which are reviewed by league operations but not part of this report.

Three thoughts out of all this:

1) Raptors fans/management/players have every right to feel the calls went against them in this game. As for calls always going against them — as DeRozan complained about after the game — 29 other teams and fan bases are convinced the officials have it out for them, too. I never bought that.

2) The Raptors didn’t lose this game solely because of the officiating. Russell Westbrook was clutch down the stretch, the Thunder were part of it, and the Raptors had other issues, too (Serge Ibaka had a rough game, for example).

3) This loss also does not say a thing about the Raptors in the postseason (even if they went a little too much isolation at the end) — this was their third game in four days, they looked tired and flat at the end. That will not be the case in the playoffs.

Rumor: Injured Jimmy Butler wore his jersey under shirt and jacket on Timberwolves bench

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

Jimmy Butler‘s competitive fire burns hot.

How hot?

Butler is chomping at the bit to return from his knee injury. He sat on the Timberwolves’ bench during their loss to the Rockets last night wearing what appeared to be typical attire for a sidelined player. But dig deeper, and…

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

This story is too good to check out.