Baseline-to-Baseline recaps: Knicks have won five in a row

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Welcome to PBT’s roundup of yesterday’s NBA games. Or, what you missed while imagining playing video games at the urinal….

Mavericks 109, Clippers 102 (OT): Chris Paul did his best to lift the Clippers — 33 points on 15 shots, including scoring the team’s last 10 points in regulation. But it wasn’t enough and he didn’t get enough help. Dirk Nowitzki did — he had 33 points and 8 in overtime. We’ve got all the details on this on in our game of the night breakdown.

Knicks 100, Celtics 85: These are two teams headed in opposite directions — this was the fifth straight win for the Knicks and the fifth straight loss for the Celtics.

Kevin Garnett was out again for Boston (as he will be for a couple weeks most likely), and when he’s out the Celtics defense isn’t the same. The result was J.R. Smith dropping 32, Carmelo Antony dropping 29 plus 8 rebounds. This game was tight until midway through the second quarter when the Knicks went on a 14-0 run. Boston just never was able to close that gap.

Timberwolves 105, Pistons 82: Minnesota hasn’t had many laugher wins where the starters sat the entire fourth quarter this season, so they should enjoy this one. Minnesota led much of the game but it wasn’t until a 19-2 run to close out the third that the Timberwolves really pulled away and got the win. J.J. Barea had 21 points (including hitting 5-of-7 from three) and Nikola Pekovic added 18 points and 11 rebounds. For once the three ball fell for Minnesota (they shot 53.8 percent on the night from deep) and that fueled the win.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.