Baseline to Baseline recaps: Injuries or not, Dallas just keeps rolling along

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What you missed while contemplating that Elton John is now a father

The Bobcats winning their first game under Paul Silas is our game of the night.

Mavericks 103, Thunder 93: Dirk Nowitzki went down in the second quarter — the Mavs are saying it is not serious but he is going to have an MRI anyway — however that didn’t slow Dallas. Shawn Marion scored 20 on 10 of 15 shooting in Dirk’s spot, and Jason Terry hit some key shots late. Their zone defense gave the Thunder some fits late.

Magic 104, Nets 88: Hedo Turkoglu looked terrible in the first couple of games after the trade to bring him back to Orlando, but he now has shot better than 50 percent three straight games and had 20 in this one.

Grizzlies 96, Raptors 85: Memphis won this game at the free throw line — their 28 attempts were twice what Toronto had. They got to the line because the Griz were more aggressive getting to the rim (learn that lesson kids — good things happen when you are aggressive).

Hawks 95, Bucks 80: Another day, another Hawks win over a below .500 team. Atlanta shot 55 percent in the first quarter compared to the Bucks 37, putting Atlanta up big early and they never looked back.

Timberwolves 113, Hornets 98: Just one of those nights for the Hornets — Chris Paul and David West (45 points between them) did their thing but everyone else was ice cold. Marcus Thornton was 3-11 missing shots he can hit. Meanwhile the Wolves were hitting shots easy and hard. Wesley Johnson was 6 of 8 from three for 24 points. Just that kind of night.

Rockets 100, Wizards 93: I don’t know who won the fight these two had but Andray Blatch brought his fight to the court with 17 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. JaVale McGee on the other hand was 1-of-5 for 2 points. The Rockets won this one with 12-2 and 8-0 runs in the fourth quarter to come from behind.

Trail Blazers 96, Jazz 91: There was a time not so long ago where the Jazz were almost unbeatable at home. Those days are long gone, apparently. The Blazers did this without Marcus Camby who rolled his ankle and left the game, but tweeted afterwards that his ankle “should be good” and he “should be back soon.”

Clippers 100, Kings 99: Up three with 5 seconds left, the Clippers substituted in Ryan Gomes for defensive purposes — and with one second left he fouls Tyreke Evans who is in the process of shooting a three. So we have Evans with three free throws to send the game to overtime. Makes the first. Makes the second. Misses the third, DeMarcus Cousins had a shot at a tip in that missed, Evans grabbed that rebound and had a little 10-footer that missed. The Kings find another heartbreaking way to lose.

Warriors 110, Sixers 95: Monta Ellis can pass, too. He had 12 dimes on top of his 22 points.

Pelicans Trey Murphy III reportedly invited to participate in Dunk Contest

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We knew three participants invited to the All-Star Saturday night Dunk Contest: G-League fan favorite Mac McClung, the Portland Trail Blazers Shaedon Sharpe and the Houston Rockets’ KJ Martin.

The fourth slot in that event will go to the Pelicans’ Trey Murphy, reports Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

No doubt Murphy can throw it down with the best of them.

The Dunk Contest will headline All-Star Saturday night, Feb. 18, from the Vivint Arena (soon to be the Delta Center again). The event will be broadcast on TNT.

The Dunk Contest is the Saturday night headline event, but it has fallen flat in recent years. Adding a G-League dunker and young, bouncy athletes such as Murphy, Martin and Sharpe could make this one entertaining. However, what fans really want to see — what made the Dunk Contest must-watch back in the day when Jordan, Kobe, and Vince Carter were doing it — is the stars. There will be no Ja Morant, no Zion Williamson, and no Anthony Edwards in this contest.

LeBron James NBA all-time scoring record tracker

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has held the NBA all-time scoring record at 38,387 points since he retired in 1989. It is one of the most iconic records in sports and one thought by many that would never be broken, but LeBron James is on the verge of breaking that scoring record and doing it at age 38. How many more points does LeBron need to take over the scoring record? When is it projected to happen? Let’s break down the latest numbers (this will be updated after every Lakers game until the record is set).

How many points does LeBron James need to set the scoring record?
117

Abdul-Jabbar career points: 38,387
LeBron career points: 38,271

Lakers’ upcoming schedule:

Jan. 30 at Nets
Jan. 31 at Knicks
Feb. 2 at Pacers
Feb. 4 at Pelicans
Feb. 7 vs. Thunder
Feb. 9 vs. Bucks

When is LeBron projected to set the all-time scoring record:

LeBron is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, at that pace he would set the record on Feb. 4 at the New Orleans Pelicans.

However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the record fall when LeBron returns to Los Angeles on Feb. 7 or Feb. 9.

News and notes on LeBron’s quest for the record:

• LeBron scored 41 points — and felt he should have had a couple more — in the Lakers’ overtime loss to the Celtics Saturday on national television.

• Sixers Doc Rivers on what impresses him in LeBron’s run to this record: “LeBron has done it so differently to me [thank Kareem]. Because LeBron is not a natural scorer. LeBron is a playmaker. He got criticized early in his career for making the right decisions. And the fact that he’s now about to break the scoring record, it really points out his greatness.”

• LeBron scored 20 points in the Lakers’ win over the Spurs, a game in which Anthony Davis returned from injury and Rui Hachimura made his debut as a Laker after being traded from the Wizards.

• What has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said about LeBron passing his record? There has been a bit of frostiness between the two men, but Abdul-Jabbar was gracious in comments to Marc Stein back in 2021 about the possibility of his record falling: “I’m excited to see it happen. I don’t see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that’s never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It’s a source of hope and inspiration. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile back in 1954. Since then, not only have 1,400 runners beaten that time, but the new record is 17 seconds less. We all win when a record is broken and if LeBron breaks mine, I will be right there to cheer him on.”

Watch Harden run onto court from bench mid-play to defend

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It takes a second to notice, but the 76ers had just four players on the court trying to defend the Nuggets on a late third-quarter possession.

But when James Harden — sitting on the bench — notices it, he stands up and runs into play, drawing a technical.

The technical foul was for having four men on the court, not on Harden specifically.

While that may have been a rare instance of Harden rushing to play defense, the 76ers as a team cranked up their defense in the second half against the Nuggets and went on to get the home win behind 47 points from Joel Embiid.

LeBron livid over no foul call at end of regulation, Lakers fall to Celtics in OT

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“The best player on earth can’t get a call. It’s amazing.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham made that comment out of frustration after another game where the Lakers felt robbed at the end. He wasn’t the only Laker.

LeBron James was once again brilliant — 41 points, nine rebounds and eight assists — but with the game tied against the Celtics and 4.1 seconds on the clock, he drove the lane and didn’t get the foul call when it clearly looked like Jayson Tatum hit him on the arm as he shot.

After the game, referee crew chief Eric Lewis admitted the officials missed the call:

There was contact. At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”

Patrick Beverley picked up a technical foul for bringing a photographer’s camera over to the referee to show evidence of the foul.

These losses are a punch to the gut for a Laker team with little margin for error and trying to make up ground in the West (at 23-27 they sit 13th in the conference). But LeBron sees a pattern — he is scoring 30.2 points per game (sixth in the league) but is getting to the line just 4.9 times per game, fewer than anyone else in the top nine in the league in scoring.

“I don’t get it. I’m attacking the paint, just as much as any of the guys in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night, and I don’t get it. I don’t understand it,” James said postgame in Boston.

The other Lakers were a little more direct.

Boston pulled away in overtime to get the 125-121 win, snapping their own three-game losing streak.

LeBron finished with 41, Anthony Davis 16 (on 6-of-15 shooting off the bench) and Beverley had 15 including a key putback dunk. Jaylen Brown scored 37 for Boston, Tatum 30 and Malcolm Brogdon had 26 off the bench.

There are no moral victories for these Lakers more than halfway into the season, playing the team with the best record in the NBA close and almost winning does not count. Time is running out on LeBron and his team, they need to string together some wins. They felt they should have gotten the chance to win this one.