Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where streaks came to an end

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What you missed while wishing you were spending a beautiful day in Big Sur

Mavericks 98, Hornets 95: It was bound to happen. It was doubly bound to happen after this humble blog — and basically everyone else — put the undefeated Hornets atop their power rankings this week.

Player of the game? I’d vote Tyson Chandler. Certainly not for the 7 points (although he did hit 3-of-4) or the 5 rebounds. It was his defense. For much of the game he was on David West and he was 5-24 on the night. Also, in the second half he did a great job protecting the rim, and Chris Paul went 1-for-5 in the half. (Part of that goes to Paul himself, who seemed more tentative in the second half.)

Thunder 115, Jazz 108: Once again the Jazz were down double digits and tried to come back, but that streak was not going to last forever. Once again the Thunder win a game at the free throw line — they got to the stripe 34 times and hit 33 of them.

Bobcats 113, Timberwolves 110: The Timberwolves were up 8 with less than two minutes left in this one but found a new and exciting way to lose this one. Bobcats won at the line, getting their 40 times and making 30, compared to 23 attempts and 15 makes by the Timberwolves.

Magic 89, Grizzlies 72: This one was over early so you were sure not to miss an episode of The Event.

Suns 100, Nuggets 94: Tired legs on a back-to-back led the Suns to hit just 4-of-20 from three — the fact they ground out a win anyway says something about the team really starting to find itself. Combined these teams were 7-37 from three, so this was a great game to watch if you like long rebounds.

Nets 110, Clippers 96: The Nets dominated this one inside — the starting front line of Brook Lopez, Travis Outlaw and Kris Humphries scored 60 points on 64.9 percent shooting in this one. Devin Harris got ejected in this one for tackling Blake Griffin on a breakaway and can expect to make a donation to the league for that one.

Warriors 101, Pistons 97: Warriors get a win — not a pretty one, but a win — in the first game under the new owners. Another sign that things are frayed in Detroit: Tayshaun Prince and coach John Kuester got into it during a timeout. After the game both played it off as nothing, but there has been a lot of that nothing around the Pistons this season.

PBT Extra: Five players to watch heading into the NBA’s trade deadline

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It’s going to be a slow NBA trade deadline this year.

The reason it will be relatively quiet on Feb. 7 (the deadline day) this year is reflected in the five players to watch talked about in this PBT Extra. The bottom line: There are far more buyers than sellers.

Take Trevor Ariza in Washington, for example. A number of playoff teams are looking for wings on expiring contracts to help them out — the Rockets and Lakers are at the front of that line — but Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has said the team the team will not tank, so is Ariza even available.

Or, what about Terrence Ross in Orlando? Another wing a lot of teams have interest in, but is Orlando selling?

And while the Dallas Mavericks have made public overtures about reconciliation with Dennis Smith Jr., sources tell me the plan on both sides is still to find a trade, it’s just right now the offers are lowball ones (because the Mavs have no leverage and there will be good young point guards such as Terry Rozier and D'Angelo Russell available in July as restricted free agents, and teams like them better).

Still, there will be trades. These are the guys to watch.

Report: Hornets rookie Miles Bridges to compete in dunk contest

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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Want to see more dunks like this and this?

Watch the dunk contest during All-Star weekend.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Miles Bridges, the No. 12 pick in last year’s draft, has quickly proven himself as belonging in the Hornets’ rotation. He’s active, capable of getting to the rim and picks up defensive concepts quickly.

But like most rookies picked in the middle of the first round, he hasn’t yet earned a national profile.

The dunk contest will be his opportunity to change that.

Bulls’ Wendell Carter reportedly out 8-12 weeks following thumb surgery

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Wendell Carter Jr. has had a strong rookie season in Chicago: 10.3 points a game, 7 rebounds, showing real strength and touch inside and getting 67 percent of his shot attempts in the paint. The advanced stats like him: He’s got an above average PER and Value over Replacement Player, something very rare for a rookie. He looks like a key part of the future in Chicago.

And he’s out for the next two-to-three months.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune first reported that Carter might have ligament damage in his left thumb requiring surgery, and that coach Jim Boylen said Carter was seeing a specialist. Shams Charania of The Athletic took it to the next step.

That’s a blow to his development but doesn’t really change the trajectory of a Bulls team that will pick high in next June’s draft.

This does not change the Bulls’ plans heading into the trade deadline — big man Robin Lopez is still available (but likely will end up a buyout candidate) reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Bobby Portis will get more run with Carter out.

The young Bulls have been hit hard by injuries this season.  Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Portis have all missed time, and Denzel Valentine has yet to play a game for Chicago this season.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: ‘We will never, ever tank’

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Before the season, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis stated his goals: 50 wins and the conference finals.

Washington is 19-26 and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Time to shift priorities?

NBC Sports Washington:

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington:

The Wizards are too talented to tank right now. Led by Bradley Beal, they have a roster of capable veterans. They just traded for Trevor Ariza, making that even more true.

As bad as they’ve been, the Wizards are just 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position. They will likely miss the postseason, but there’s no alternative better than trying to get there. They’re too far down the road toward winning now to simply pivot into a rebuilding.

But what about if the Wizards get eliminated from playoff contention with games left in the season? They won’t tank down the stretch to improve their draft position? What’s the point of that?

And what about future seasons? Washington will have a tough time building a satisfactory winner after signing John Wall to a super-max extension that kicks in next season. That difficult-to-move contract almost mandates the Wizards prioritize the present. A healthy Wall is good enough to ensure Washington can’t bottom out – for now.

Wall be 32 in the final year of that deal. The Wizards could be in ruins by then. Taking the option to tank off the table would be a mistake.

To be fair, I’m not totally sure Leonsis is doing that. Owners almost never admit to tanking. Most deny it.

But this goes a level beyond. This is far more forceful than Leonsis had to be, which makes me believe it’s actually his plan.

That’s fine right now. Eventually, it could make a futile situation far worse.