Baseline to Baseline recaps: The night of the living blowouts

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What you missed while planning to be one of the Joker’s henchmen

The Cavaliers historically bad performance against the Lakers is our Anti-Game of he Night.

The Hawks hosting the Bucks was postponed due to snow and will be played on March 15.

Wizards 136, Kings 133 (OT): This was more roller coaster than basketball — the Wizards were up 19 after on quarter (14 points for Nick Young in 10 minutes) and it looked like it was over. The second quarter was the Bizzaro first quarter with the Kings suddenly hot, they stormed back and were up by two at the break. Then the third quarter it was the Wizards turn again, with Young dropping 18 in the quarter (he had 43 for the game).

This time it really should have been over — the Wizards were up six with 14 seconds left. But then a Jermaine Taylor dunk, followed by a terrible inbound pass by Rashard Lewis that was stolen by Francisco Garcia, who converted it to an and-one, and suddenly it was a game again, and we soon were headed to overtime.

Kirk Hinrich had six in OT. Nobody played particularly well in this game, but it was entertaining.

Pacers 111, Sixers 103: Andre Iguodala was back, which is the good news for Philly. He shot 0-7 from the field, which is the bad news. This was another roller coaster game where the Pacers were up 16 in the third; the Sixers battled back to lead in the fourth.

The Pacers went on a 10-2 run late to seal it with Danny Granger and Darren Collison providing the spark. Which is what we expected to happen all season for the Pacers, but it’s been spotty.

Spurs 107, Timberwolves 96: The Spurs alternated between brilliant and sloppy all night, but that was enough to beat the Wolves. Crazy sequence of five quick technicals all on Minnesota at one point in the game, including two on Rambis sending him to the showers… or bar, or wherever coaches go. Some nights the quick-trigger refs are back.

Nuggets 132, Suns 98: There were boos for Carmelo Anthony, although maybe not as many as the last game. Really, the Pepsi Center was fairly quiet in the first half when the Suns opened up a double digit lead. The Nuggets may have had all five of the preseason planned starters for ready to go but it was the bench that sparked the run, and that became contagious. By the end of the night Denver had an offensive rating of 133 (points per 100 possessions), and they took over in the second half with ‘Melo dropping 12 in the third quarter and Arron Afflalo dropping 31.

Knicks 100, Trail Blazers 86: Ronny Turiaf played maybe his best game as a Knick defending the rim. Portland was a little flat as a team, they weren’t shooing well (looking at you, Wes Mathews) so they tried to get into the lane, and Turiaf was there to play one of his better games. You can get the idea in a stat — the Knicks shot 50 percent and he Suns just 34.9 percent.

T.J. Warren targets Dec. 2 for return to court for Brooklyn Nets

2022-2023 Brooklyn Nets Media Day
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T.J. Warren was a breakout star in the bubble, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers.

Warren has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

The Nets signed him this season hoping he could get healthy and provide some depth off the bench at the four. We’re about to find out if that can happen on Dec. 2, with Warren targeting his return then Toronto, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Nets have not confirmed this timeline. However, coach Jacque Vaughn has recently talked up Warren’s workouts and hinted that a return is getting close.

A healthy Warren could be a big boost for a Nets team looking for more of a spark off the bench.

 

LeBron becomes oldest player with 39 points, 11 boards, seven 3-pointers (he’s also the youngest)

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The first question after LeBron James put up 21 and 8 to help the Lakers beat the Spurs Friday night was whether he would play in the back-to-back Saturday. He had just missed five games with a groin strain, after all.

Not only did LeBron play Saturday, he had a historic night.

LeBron had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and shot 7-of-12 from 3 — making him the oldest player in the history of the NBA with a 35+, 10+ with seven 3-pointer game.

The youngest player ever to put up that stat line? Also one LeBron James.

The 39 points were also the second most points ever scored by a player in his 20th NBA season, trailing only Kobe Bryant gunning his way to 60 in his final game.

The Lakers got the second straight win over the Spurs on Saturday behind LeBron, 143-138, a game more likely to be remembered for Zach Collins getting ejected for a foul that left Russell Westbrook bloody. The Lakers have won three straight and 5-of-6 but have done it against a very soft part of the schedule (three of the wins were over the tanking Spurs). Los Angeles beat the teams in front of it and started to show signs of life this season, but now they have to carry that over into a stretch against better teams, beginning Monday against the Pacers.

Watch Deandre Ayton put up 29 points, 21 rebounds, lead Suns past Jazz 113-112

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PHOENIX — There was much debate during the NBA offseason about whether Deandre Ayton was worth a max contract.

On nights like Saturday, the answer is a resounding yes.

Ayton notched season highs with 29 points and 21 rebounds, Devin Booker added 27 points and the Phoenix Suns held on for a hard-fought 113-112 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz led 81-78 after three quarters, but the Suns pushed ahead 99-93 by midway through the fourth. The game remained tight through the final minutes, but Phoenix never lost the lead. On top of Ayton’s scoring and rebounding, he also had a crucial steal in the final minutes that helped thwart a final Jazz rally.

“I don’t know what he ate for Thanksgiving,” Booker said. “I should have been over there.”

Ayton grabbed his 21st rebound of the game on the final possession, securing Booker’s miss off a 3-pointer to keep the Jazz from a final possession. Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million deal during the offseason after the Suns matched an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers.

“That young man has been coming to the gym at crazy hours, lifting with (coaches), so that he can be prepared for moments like this,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s just good to see the work pay off. It’s good to see him have monster games against really good teams on a back-to-back. That’s pretty impressive.”

Ayton was the first player to have at least 28 points and 20 rebounds in a game for the Suns since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2007. He shot 11 of 19 from the field and added three assists and two blocks.

“I want to do more, I feel like I can do more,” Ayton said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to contribute to my team.”

Curiously, the Jazz didn’t foul the Suns on their final possession, essentially allowing them to run out the clock. Utah coach Will Hardy said the last play simply didn’t unfold like the team expected and there was some miscommunication.

“We wanted to get the ball out of Booker’s hands, and then foul,” Hardy said.

Ayton scored a season high for the second straight night. He poured in 28 points against the Pistons in a 108-102 win on Friday. Booker had a tough night shooting, making just 8 of 27 shots.

Utah was one of the NBA’s surprise teams in the first few weeks of the season, starting with a 10-3 record. The Jazz are just 3-7 since that point.

“One game, one stretch of the season doesn’t define your season,” Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk said. “You’ve got to go through ups-and-downs. Adversity – learn from it and come out the other side better for it.”

The Suns have an 11-1 record at home this season and have won four straight games.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton added 20 while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz had a 54-51 lead at halftime. Clarkson led the Jazz with 12 points while Ayton had 11 points and seven rebounds.

Watch Spurs Collins bloody Russell Westbrook with a foul, get ejected

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
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Jakob Poeltl was dominating the paint, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in 10 minutes, and giving the Lakers serious trouble. Then he had to leave the game with a sore quad, meaning Zach Collins would get more run.

Collins was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Russell Westbrook that left the Lakers guard bloodied. Westbrook bounced back up and LeBron James had to hold him back from going after Collins.

Collins plans to appeal the ejection he said after the game.

Collins will face a fine or suspension from the league, although he doesn’t have a history of this kind of foul, something the league takes into consideration. Westbrook also got a technical for going after Collins.

The Lakers went on to beat the Spurs 143-138, behind 39 points from LeBron James. It’s the second time the Lakers have defeated the Spurs in three days, the kind of wins over tanking teams the Lakers need if they are going to turn their season around.