And-1 links: Adam Morrison is looking better than ever

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After a one day hiatus, we return our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• That’s Adam Morrison to the right, going with the Samson look. He played in Europe last year and was at a multi-player workout hosted by the Nets this week.  (Thanks @AdamZagoria for posting the pic.)

• Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor facing off on the playgrounds.

• How the Knicks and Nets can still land Dwight Howard in a trade. By the way, the Phil Jackson and Dwight Howard as a package to the Nets rumors have less basis in reality than a Kardashian television show.

• Mike Miller talks about the Heat’s physical series with the Pacers.

• Kobe Bryant is more convinced than most Lakers fans the team can get right back on top.

• Metta World Peace isn’t sure the Lakers ever stopped being the best team in the NBA: “We underachieved. We’re the best team in the NBA and lost in five. We should still be playing, up 3-2.” Why do I imagine that from MWP’s perspective the world looks like the candy park in Willy Wonka?

• What would help the Lakers is landing someone like SoCal native James Harden in free agency, and Harden would not rule out a return when he is a restricted free agent next summer. Nice thought, but no way the Thunder let him walk. No way.

• Another ridiculous bit of trade speculation: Chris Bosh for Pau Gasol. Not happening, if the Lakers move Gasol they are looking to reduce future payroll not take on more.

• Ramon Sessions wants to return to the Lakers. A lot of Lakers fans just rolled their eyes, but he is a good guard who fits the traditional sets Mike Brown wants to run pretty well. He got wide-eyed during the playoffs, but that was his first playoff experience, you should expect some of that. (Lakers fans are not exactly notorious for patience and understanding.)

• Golden State is working out six players in a closed session Wednesday: My man Casper Ware out of Long Beach State; Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin;  Drew Gordon, New Mexico; Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State; Quincy Acy, Baylor; Mitchell Watt, Buffalo.

Are we seeing the end of professional sports in Oakland?

• Sasha Kaun, a player the Cavaliers retain the draft rights too, has signed with CSKA Moscow.

• Apparently things don’t change a lot in rural Indiana. Via The Big Lead, a look at the locations used in Hoosiers as they are now. Great video.

James Harden, Rockets again leave Jazz in the dust

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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After turning the ball over late in the fourth quarter, James Harden meandered near halfcourt as the Jazz pushed for a fastbreak layup. But that put him in perfect position to receive a long inbound pass after Utah scored. Harden caught the ball and whipped it ahead Kenneth Faried, who dunked to give Harden a triple-double-clinching assist.

You’ll have to forgive Harden for not hustling back on defense. He did most of his heavy lifting far earlier.

By late in the first quarter, Harden created 28 points (17 scored, 11 assisted) to the Jazz’s 13 total points. The Rockets never looked back.

Houston crushed Utah 118-98 in Game 2 Wednesday to take a 2-0 series lead. It seems the Jazz – who lost Game 1 by 32 points and a 4-1 second-round series in this matchup last year – have no answer for the Rockets, particularly Harden.

Harden finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He was a game-high +24.

Here are the best-of-seven series with the most-lopsided first two games. The 2-0-leading teams that won the series are in red. The 2-0-leading teams that lost the series are in blue. This Houston-Utah series is in silver. This Bucks-Pistons series is in cream.

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Teams that outscored their opponents by at least 50 in the first two games have never lost a best-of-season series. The Rockets, +52, might have built an insurmountable advantage.

Especially the way the Jazz guard Harden. They’re trying to overplay him but wind up just giving him lanes into the paint. The talented guard is picking them apart.

Until Utah solves that, secondary matchups won’t matter. Houston is content winning through its superstar.

Bucks wallop Pistons. Again.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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The Pistons fought harder. Luke Kennard moved into the starting lineup and provided a spark. Detroit defended more actively.

But the result was largely the same: A Bucks blowout.

Milwaukee routed Detroit 120-99 in Game 2 Wednesday. Following a 35-point Game 1 victory, the Bucks have outscored the Pistons by 56 points in the series. Every team to outscore its opponent by at least 50 in the first two games of a best-of-seven series has won it.

Here are the best-of-seven series with the most-lopsided first two games. The 2-0-leading teams that won the series are in green. The 2-0-leading teams that lost the series are in red. This Milwaukee-Detroit series is in cream.

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The Pistons can’t stop Giannis Antetokounmpo (26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists). With Kennard (Detroit-high 19 points) starting for defensive specialist Bruce Brown, the Pistons also couldn’t contain Eric Bledsoe (27 points). Khris Middleton (24 points) provided his usual steady production.

Meanwhile, without Blake Griffin, Detroit lacks a difference-making star. Andre Drummond (18 points and 16 rebounds) had nice individual moments but was -32 (another terrible plus-minus for him).

The Pistons are just overwhelmed by the superior Bucks, and it’s hard to see that changing.

Kyrie Irving torches Pacers for 37 points in Celtics win

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In what had been a tight game, the Pacers built a four-point lead over the Celtics with four minutes left in the third quarter. From there:

Irving scored 37 points and dished seven assists, leading Boston to a 99-91 Game 2 win Wednesday. The Celtics now lead the first-round series 2-0. Teams that have won the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home have won the series 93% of the time.

The Pacers just can’t muster enough offense – not against this sound Boston defense. Indiana went nearly nine scoreless minutes in the fourth quarter. Even after ending that drought, the Pacers’ final five possessions: miss, miss, miss, turnover, turnover.

This is why the Celtics got Irving. His ability to create shots sets them apart in these slogging playoff games.

Jayson Tatum added 26 points. But Al Horford struggled while playing through illness. Marcus Morris shot 0-for-8. Jaylen Brown didn’t really get going.

This wasn’t the prettiest game for Boston, but because of Irving, it was a win.

LeBron James named one of TIME’s 100 most-influential people

AP Photo/Mark Duncan
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LeBron James couldn’t even influence the Lakers into the playoffs.

But as a businessman and philanthropist, his reach is only growing.

LeBron remains the NBA’s biggest star. He’s still an elite player (when healthy), and his name resonates with casual fans and even non-fans. Add his off-court interests – more accessible to him in Los Angeles – and his importance can’t be denied.

That’s why LeBron made TIME’s 2019 list of 100 most-influential

Warren Buffett wrote about LeBron:

I’ve been impressed with his leadership skills, his sharp mind and his ability to stay grounded. People in LeBron’s position get tugged in different directions and have a lot of chances to make bad decisions. He’s kept his head, and that’s not easy.

There is so much on LeBron’s plate – production, acting, his school, even basketball. His ability to handle it all is incredible.

Having such varied interests might not lend itself to LeBron dominating on the court. But it makes him even more deserving of this list.