Baseline to Baseline, where the Bulls still give the Celtics fits

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What you missed while wondering, “What can I do to speed up my heart attack…”

Bulls 101, Celtics: 93: No Bulls management punched each other in the making of this recap.

Derrick Rose just dominated Rajon Rondo and got him in foul trouble. Rondo is the speed and youth of the Celtics, without him they can look old. And in this one they looked old. With Rondo out the Celtics actually tried to cover Rose with Nate Robinson for a bit, which was amusing (he jumped out of the way of imaginary picks). Rose finished with 39. Kirk Hinrich got to the rim in the first half, and he moves in three-quarter time. But his shot was on — Hinrich with a season high 30.

Not a good night for the Celtics at all. Been a lot of those lately. Even a retro performance from Paul Pierce, playing like it was five years ago, could not save the Celtics.

The Boston loss means it is the four seed, Atlanta the three. That means Cleveland in the second round. The Celtics play again tomorrow night but it is over for them. Chicago is not done – they need to beat the Bobcats tomorrow night or hope the Raptors lose to a selfish and unmotivated Knicks team. Either one of those two and the Bulls are in the playoffs as the eight seed, neither and they are out.

Suns 123, Nuggets 101: This one was over early as the Suns went on early 14-0 run and were up 18-2, and the lead held about there are higher the rest of the way.

The Suns pick-and-roll you to death, which if you have Steve Nash is a good idea. The Nuggets tried to switch all the picks, but then the Suns bigs were not aggressive, stepping back to stop penetration, and the Suns shot like they were wide open. Because they were.

The Suns get home court in the first round with this win, but the opponent is still to be decided.

Jazz 103, Warriors 94: Carlos Boozer had to leave in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. Deron Williams got in foul trouble. Doesn’t matter, the Jazz are still better than the Warriors. They defended Golden State well and kept the score and pace down. What veteran teams do.

Lakers 106, Kings 100: Shannon Brown started for Kobe and did a good imitation of him, taking a team high 19 shots. But it worked. He got the dunks everybody expects out of him but was also draining shots from the midrange. That is the rarity.

From the Lakers Reporter: In the Lakers last five, Pau Gasol is averaging 27.6 points on 65 percent shooting. He is the playing better than any Laker right now.

Tyreke Evans didn’t have a big milestone to reach, but he made some noise anyway — he got tossed with two technicals in the third quarter. Evans had the ball when Shannon Brown took swipe at the ball — it looked pretty clean — but Evans stared down the ref. Rookie of the Year or not, some things a rookie cannot do. 

Tracy McGrady: Carmelo Anthony should retire

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Carmelo Anthony seems done with the Rockets.

Where should the former star go next? Tracy McGrady has a recommendation.

McGrady:

I honestly think Melo should retire. I really do. I don’t want him to go through another situation like this, and people are just pouring negativity on this man’s legacy. I really think, because it hasn’t worked out the last two teams, just go ahead and — you have a Hall of Fame career — just go ahead and let it go.

For what it’s worth, McGrady talked about coming back in 2014. Maybe he retired too soon. However, he said he’d return only if a team made him its focal point.

Some stars transition well into being a role player. Vince Carter is a prime example.

Others don’t. Anthony seems to fit the latter category.

But that doesn’t mean he should retire.

Anthony shouldn’t worry about McGrady or anyone else struggling to watch him decline. If he wants to keep playing and an NBA team will sign him, Anthony should sign. He doesn’t owe it to us to ensure we feel comfortable with his career. It’s his career.

Besides, Anthony’s legacy will be defined by his time with the Knicks and Nuggets. These late years will be forgotten. McGrady is known for the Magic, Rockets and Raptors. Nobody remembers his time with the Knicks, Pistons, Hawks and Spurs. The Basketball Hall of Fame practically even said his time San Antonio didn’t count!

That said, it might not be Anthony’s call. Maybe there’s a team so desperate for a scoring backup power forward, it’d benefit despite Anthony’s ego and defensive deficiencies. But Anthony might just be finished.

If that’s what NBA teams collectively decide, that’s how it goes.

But whatever say Anthony say still has, he shouldn’t worry about McGrady or any of the many like-minded watchers.

Report: Jazz confident they could have signed Kyle Lowry last year, but waited for Gordon Hayward instead

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Entering 2017 free agency, rumors swirled Kyle Lowry would leave the Raptors. He ultimately re-signed with Toronto, but maybe that was only due to the timing of Gordon Hayward‘s decision to leave the Jazz for the Celtics.

Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune:

according to multiple Tribune sources, the Jazz spoke extensively to Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry’s representatives about bringing the All-Star point guard to Utah. After those discussions, the Jazz felt confident about their ability to land Lowry, but chose to pull out of any potential deal because signing Lowry would have required cap space earmarked for the Hayward

Lowry would have been huge for the Jazz, who instead traded for Ricky Rubio to start at point guard. Utah still won 48 games and a playoff series last season, but the team would have been even better off with Lowry.

Perhaps, Lowry wouldn’t have signed with the Jazz. Just because they felt confident means only so much. They might have misread his actual thoughts. At minimum, Lowry wasn’t willing to wait on Utah.

Lowry agreed to re-sign with Toronto on July 2. Hayward, after a twisting saga, announced his choice of Boston on July 4.

If Lowry were truly willing to commit to the Jazz, they erred by not accepting his pledge. Maybe that was a reasonable strategy, but it was still an error. Waiting on Hayward proved to be a mistake.

In Utah, many will blame Hayward for stringing along the Jazz. But he was a free agent with a right to decide on his own timeline. I believe he had legitimate desire to return to the Jazz. He just had greater desire to join the Celtics.

If the Jazz were completely on top of their game, they would have had a better read on Hayward’s decision and locked in Lowry rather than spending time recruiting Hayward. Again, maybe that would have been unreasonably difficult to know without hindsight. But that would have been the optimal way to proceed.

Draymond Green addresses argument with Kevin Durant: ‘I’m not going to change who I am’

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Warriors forward Draymond Green knows the perceived significance of his argument with teammate Kevin Durant.

“I’ve read a lot about how, is this the end of the run? Or is it over? Or did I ruin it? Or did I force Kevin to leave?” Green said.

But don’t expect Green to bend amid those high stakes.

“I’m not going to change who I am,” Green said.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Green is correct: His emotional, stubborn, feisty style has led to more good than bad both for himself and Golden State. Reigning that in could have adverse effects.

But there’s still room for personal growth. Green can handle some situations, including this one, better without losing his edge. Every level of the organization agreed.

Blake Griffin calls out Raptors president Masai Ujiri while praising Dwane Casey

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Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.

Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.

“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”

The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.