Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where this Wall kid, we kind of like him

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What you missed while trying to wrap your head around the idea the T-Rex was probably covered with feathers

Our game of the night had the Jazz completing a sweep of Florida by beating the Magic. Get the details here.

Wizards 98, Rockets 91: Triple-double for young John Wall in this one — 20 points, 13 assists and 10 boards. From our friends at ESPN, only four players needed fewer games to get their first triple-double: Oscar Robertson, Hambone Williams, Magic Johnson and Connie Hawkins. Pretty nice company. Wall has the early ROY lead, but really we’re just entering the first turn of the race, Brandon Jennings led at this point last season.

Bucks 108, Hawks 91: The Bucks started 2-5 and you knew they were better than that. They won this one in large part because they got the offensve rebound on 30 percent of their missed shots, and Drew Gooden was a big part of that (he had 5 offensive rebounds alone). That was a quality pick up just starting to pan out. Same with Corey Maggette, who had 20 on 7-8 shooting.

Bobcats 101, Raptors 96: Charlotte’s defense still isn’t where it needs to be, but for one night their offense can carry them through, with six guys scoring in double figures. Although, that may just be because they played the Raptors.

Nets 95, Cavaliers 87: New Jersey won this one on the offensive glass, grabbing the board on 31 percent of their missed shots. Really, Kris Humphries won that, with six offensive boards himself. He completely outplayed teammate Brook Lopez inside, which says more about Brook right now than anything. Tough season so far for the Lopez brothers.

Warriors 122, Knicks 117: David Lee returns to NYC and drops 28 on the team that let him go, but it wasn’t personal. Right. Well, part of it was no Ronny Turiaf, who was resting his knee and without him nobody protects the rim for the Knicks. Monta Ellis played for Golden State, not even missing a game after that awkward fall, and he dropped 22.  Danilo Gallinari is killing my fantasy team… I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Thunder 109, Sixers 103: No Andre Igudala, out injured for the Sixers. Plenty of Russell Westbrook abusing Lou Williams and everyone else, he dropped 31. Jrue Holliday acquitted himself nicely on offense with 17 and 11 dimes, but did we mention Westbrook did what he wanted on offense?

Spurs 107, Clippers 95: This makes 18 in a row for the Spurs over the Clippers. What else do I need to say?

Mavericks 106, Grizzlies 91: Dirk Nowitzki turned an ankle in this one and was never comfortable, going 6-14 shooting. But the Mavs are deep — Shawn Marion drops 20, the Jet gives them 25 off the bench. That depth serves the Mavs very well in the regular season.

Minnesota 98, Kings 89: Kevin Love goes for 23 and 24 last night in 38 minutes, so tonight Kurt Rambis benches him for 12 minutes in the second half and gives him just 28 minutes. When Love returns in the fourth quarter he scores 8 more points and is a +5 for that stretch. I give up trying to figure it out.

But really, this is the Michael Beasley show, he puts up 42 in one of those performances that explains why he was drafted No. 2 overall. Don’t get sucked in though, for the season he has not been good, got to do it more than one night in this league, On the other side of the ball Tyreke Evans tweaked an ankle but still scored 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting, however had just one assist on the night, not getting teammates involved. One guy who is fitting in for the Kings is Samuel Dalembert who had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with nine rebounds.

Anthony Davis wants to be great player on great team ‘every year. Not every other year. Not every few years. Every year’

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Pelicans star Anthony Davis has made the playoffs just twice in six years. Last season was the first time he won a a series.

That’s atypical for a player of his caliber.

Davis, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

“When you look at LeBron, every year you know he’s going to be great and his team is going to have a chance to win the title,” Davis said. “From here on out, I want to be in that conversation every year. Not every other year. Not every few years. Every year. If that’s going to happen, we’re going to have to win, and I’m going to have to be the most dominant player.”

Davis is putting it on himself to be that player.

The big question: Are the Pelicans good enough to be that team?

Both Davis and New Orleans met his expectations in a resounding opening win over the Rockets, but it’s a long season. The Pelicans are good, though flawed. They’ve never contended for a title with Davis, let alone done so annually. As he enters the midst of his prime, it might be now or never.

Davis can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, and he’s setting a bar. A high one.

Cavaliers officials reportedly joke about LeBron James: ‘The tread is off his tires’

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LeBron James has played more minutes, regular season and playoffs combined, than Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and John Stockton did in their entire careers. Last year alone, in his age-33 season, LeBron played 3,947 minutes – the most by anyone since LeBron in his first season with the Heat and the most by anyone so old since Michael Jordan in his last season with the Bulls.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Cavs officials have privately joked that “the tread is off his tires” as James transitions to L.A. after playing so much last season.

I wonder how much genuine thought is behind that joke. I’d bet some, though I bet it’s also some self-perceived true belief masking a coping mechanism.

If LeBron wanted to sign a five-year max contract last summer, the Cavaliers would’ve jumped to do it. Instead, he left them for the Lakers.

I also wonder how LeBron feels about that joking. He takes his training seriously and has defied typical aging curves.

This is why LeBron was right to leave for Los Angeles if that’s what he wanted to do. For players with power to do something about it – LeBron definitely qualifies – NBA careers are too short to work with people whose vision doesn’t align with theirs. I’m not sure whether this qualifies as a divide, but there was already plenty of acrimony between LeBron and the organization in Cleveland.

That said, the Lakers unconditionally believing in LeBron’s staying power could do them in. He is in his 16th season and will turn 34 in December. He’s not worn down yet, but the clock is ticking.

Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson fired by Knicks because ‘people close to you will take the knife and put it in your back’

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When he hired Phil Jackson as team president, Knicks owner James Dolan infamously said he was ceding control “willingly and gratefully.”

But New York kept Steve Mills, who had been running the front office, on staff as general manager. Mills also replaced Jackson as president after Jackson got fired.

That served as a lesson for Jeanie Buss, Lakers owner and Jackson’s former fiancée.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

Jeanie had learned from Jackson’s mistakes in New York, where he took that job as the head of the Knicks front office in March of 2014 and was fired three years later after, as she saw it, he fell prey to the internal politics that have plagued that franchise for decades.

“He should’ve made sure (to control) who was surrounding him, because the people close to you will take the knife and put it in your back,” she continued.

Buss doesn’t name Mills or anyone. But it’s hard not to jump to man who was both Jackson’s predecessor and successor. After regaining control, Mills said he tried to steer Jackson in other directions (which, hopefully).

This reflects poorly on Dolan, whose poor leadership has cast a shadow over the organization for years. There is a toxic culture within the Knicks, from the top down.

But it’s not as if Jackson were simply a victim of that culture. With the notable exception of drafting Kristaps Porzingis, Jackson failed miserably in roster-building. He contributed to the malaise with a comedy of incompetence.

Maybe Mills stabbed Jackson in the back. But Jackson was his own problem, anyway.

Report: Knicks, Lakers, Clippers will pursue Kevin Durant in free agency

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The Warriors are reportedly bracing for Kevin Durant to leave in free agency next summer.

Just because of the New York rumors? Maybe. They’re spreading like wildfire.

But the Knicks won’t be the only team chasing Durant.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will take a run at the back-to-back Finals MVP, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Of course, every team wants Durant. But not every team will actually pursue him. Many teams believe they have no chance of signing him and won;t waste their time.

It’s probably not coincidental this early list of suitors includes only the very biggest markets. Durant already plays for the best team in a desirable location. How do you differentiate yourself from Golden State? Maybe by being in an even bigger market.

The Clippers are reportedly the frontrunner to sign Kawhi Leonard. Could they get Durant, too? That’d be intriguing.

The Lakers are definitely looking to get LeBron James a star teammate, and Durant’s name has at least come up. But Durant is already dogged by the perception he’s just riding the Warriors’ coattails. He wouldn’t change the narrative by joining LeBron.

The Knicks don’t even project to have max cap space, though they’d rush to move Courtney Lee or someone else to get Durant. But this is already the worst team on the list. New York is going to further deplete its assets while remaining appealing to Durant? Hey, it could happen.

Or maybe Durant will look at these teams and see has it pretty good in Golden State.

It could also go the other way. If Durant gives even the slightest indication he’s interested teams not yet planning to pursue him, they’d jump to get into the race. So, don’t assume Warriors, Knicks, Lakers and Clippers is anything more than the preliminary pool of vying teams.