What can Cleveland prove today?

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Well, we assume LeBron James won’t be playing today when the Cavs meet the Magic. (But we’ll keep you updated.)

And we know that the Magic will be at full strength.

So when the Cavs and Magic meet up for a little pre-playoff staredown, what are we going to see?

Okay, so you know how 90% of all barfights are just two guys who shove one another once, and then stare at each other for four minutes, occasionally spouting curse words and then walking away?  Same type of deal here. Neither one wants to get bloody, and neither one feels like they have anything they really need to say to each other.

The Cavs lead the season series 2-1. The Magic won the last game. The Cavs have the best record. The Magic beat the Cavs in the playoffs last year. The Cavs will have home court advantage. They had it last year, too.

So basically what we have here is one of those bad sitcoms where two people that have been broken up for a while get set up on a blind date by their friends. Only instead of realizing how much they like each other to music from Kelly Clarkson, we get to see stretch fours do battle.

And that’s actually relevant.

The Cavaliers could show that the stretch four issues they had last year with Rashard Lewis are solved with the addition of Antawn Jamison and the perimeter rotations can be held in check by Anthony Parker and better depth.

But if the Magic can keep knocking down deep threes and win a comfortable game, it puts a crack in Cleveland’s confidence, which hasn’t responded well to insecurity. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for the Magic to showcase a fully healthy Jameer Nelson, which puts them in a different level.

Or, you know, it could turn into a garbage fest. Good news is both teams are deep enough that’s still better than 70% of other rosters.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.