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.

Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

AP
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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

Associated Press
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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.