Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Kevin Love seems to be fitting in just fine suddenly

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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while getting Waffle House food delivered to your door

1) Kevin Love looks like he fits just fine; Cleveland routs another team from the West. Tell me again how Kevin Love isn’t going to fit in with the Cavaliers. He fit like a perfect puzzle piece on Wednesday night — 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, plus grabbing 10 rebounds. Oh, and he did a quality job defensively on Marc Gasol, which was key to Cleveland picking up maybe their most impressive win of the season, easily handling the Memphis Grizzlies 111-89. You don’t want to read too much into one regular season game, but the Cavaliers looked like contenders and Love looked like a guy finding his spots in the offense. Love’s versatility was on full display as he scored inside, hit threes from the left side of the court and caused trouble wherever he was on the court.

2) George Hill hits game winner against questionable Wizards defense. Indiana was down 10 points midway through the fourth quarter against the Wizards and came back to force overtime. In OT, the Pacers had the ball and the chance to win, they isolated George Hill and…

Wow, that was easy. Too easy. Remember the Warriors Mo Speights said they knew the Wizards would quit if they got punched in the mouth, this seems video evidence of that. It was a complete breakdown defensively — after the game coach Randy Whittman said the Wizards were supposed to trap the ball right when Hill first caught it. They didn’t. Nene got burned off that pseudo pick. But Whittman didn’t have Marcin Gortat in the game for that final play to protect the rim. Why? It’s all just very Wizards.

3) DeAndre Jordan was dunking all over the Knicks. The Clippers big man didn’t get to compete in the Dunk Contest when the All-Star Game came to New York this February. So Wednesday night he decided to put on a dunking exhibition all of the Knicks to show fans what they missed. (Yes, I know the Dunk Contest took place at the Barclays Center, work with me here.)

4) Dwight Howard is back, that didn’t slow James Harden one bit. Dwight Howard was back on the court for the Rockets Wednesday, something they will need come the playoffs. But he was being eased back in, playing four-minute spurts at the start of each quarter, finishing with four points and grabbing seven boards. He was not changing the game. That was left to James Harden, who had another impressive game of 25 points and 10 boards as the Rockets hung on for a 95-93 win over the Pelicans. (New Orleans closed the game on a 12-3 and made it interesting, Anthony Davis finished with 24 and 14). Houston just keeps on winning.

5) Lionel Messi, rest of Argentinian national soccer team, show up to support Luis Scola. The most famous athlete in the world — sorry LeBron, that’s Lionel Messi — was in attendance in Washington to watch the Pacers take on the Wizards. Why? Luis Scola, why else? Either way he got to see an entertaining finish.

Report: Knicks not looking to make early-season coaching change with David Fizdale

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It didn’t take a Kremlinologist to read into what Knicks president Steve Mills said at his forced by the owner impromptu press conference 10 games into the NBA season:

Coach David Fizdale was in trouble. Big trouble.

It may not just be immediate, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.

Mills wanted to see “consistent effort” and he’s gotten it. Indications are the coach’s hot seat is cooler halfway through this 10-game trial. Their record is 2-3 since the James Dolan-inspired conference, but could easily be 4-1 (they blew big leads to Charlotte, losing on a last-second 3-pointer, and, of course, had Philly dead in the water)…

The Knicks had to really sink south for a coaching change to be made by Game 20. Indications are it was far-fetched for a change to be made this early anyway. Was owner James Dolan, who has given Fizdale private reassurances, really going to let president Mills hire a new coach from the outside on a long-term deal with Fizdale still having at least one season fully guaranteed on his pact for 2020-21? Sources indicated the major deterrent to making a change at Thanksgiving was the sketchy alternative of promoting one of the assistants – Jud Buechler, Keith Smart or Kaleb Canales.

Good luck finding anyone who thinks Fizdale is safe long term in New York (and for the record, Smart has been an NBA head coach before, there are worse choices).

However, making a mid-season coaching change should really only happen for a couple of reasons. One is that the situation is so bad, so toxic, that it could poison the team into future seasons. The other is that there is a coach available on the sidelines that the team sees as “the man” going forward and they want to snap him up before someone else does (the Kings hiring George Karl comes to mind, although he turned out not to be “the man” they needed).

Not sure either of those situations applies to the Knicks and Fizdale. A move is more likely in the offseason.

However, predict James Dolan’s moods at your own risk.

Cavaliers’ new jerseys feature a big ol’ feather

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The Cavaliers rank near the top of the NBA by taking 19% of their total shots outside the restricted area while still in the paint. But Cleveland has converted just a middling 41% of attempts in that floater/runner range.

Maybe these uniforms will help the Cavs find a more feathery touch.

Though not in so many words, the Cavaliers actually stuck a feather on their jerseys and called it macaroni.

Jarrett Allen denies Kyrie Irving rumors, “He acts like a normal teammate”

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It hasn’t taken long for the “Kyrie Irving isn’t a good leader in Brooklyn” rumor mill to start up. The Nets 6-8 start combined with a desire in some corners of the NBA (and NBA Twitter) to pile on Irving has started the talk. Whether those rumors are just smoke or there’s some fire there depends on who you ask.

It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who brought the topic to the forefront again on First Take.

Just as a refresher, anything Smith says should be taken with a full box of Morton’s Kosher salt. His job is to stir things up. That doesn’t mean he has no connections.

Nets center Jarrett Allen did an AMA on Bleacher Report and shot down the idea Irving is a bad influence in the locker room.

He acts like a normal teammate. People say that he has mood swings, but that’s a complete lie. He wants to see us succeed and do well if anything.

Allen added this when asked to compare playing with Irving vs. D'Angelo Russell.

They’re kind of different. Kyrie can score from anywhere, even without me setting up the pick-and-roll. DLo…we worked well; if he didn’t score, he’d kick it to me to score.

The Nets are a franchise inhabiting a strange space this season. First, this ultimately is Kevin Durant‘s team, but he doesn’t really get the keys until he can play, which almost certainly means next season. That makes Irving an interim Alpha on that team, but that’s an unusual dynamic.

Second, this is a Nets team that has rebounded from as low as it can get in the NBA to being a place Irving and KD wanted to play by establishing a culture, an identity. This is a lunch pail group of players who were selfless and bought into the team’s ideas and concepts. Nobody was a superstar, it was team first. Except, in come two superstars who bring their own ways of doing things — and the Nets can’t mess with that. There are compromises that need to go on for both sides, with Irving/KD bending to the Nets some, but the Nets giving them superstar treatment.

All of that creates friction that is going to rub some people the wrong way. Plus, Irving is a unique personality who is going to do things his way, and that will bother others. Some of those people will talk to the media, but that doesn’t mean everyone — or even a majority — feel the same way. It’s usually people who feel aggrieved who want to vent.

How all this plays out in Brooklyn is going to be something to watch. But the ultimate test is next season, not this one.

Matt Barnes: ‘We Believe’ Warriors celebrated by smoking weed with Woody Allen at Don Nelson’s place

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The No. 8-seeded Warriors upset the 67-win Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs. That Golden State team had some characters, including coach Don Nelson and forward Matt Barnes.

Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times:

Woody Allen! Jessica Alba! Kate Hudson! Owen Wilson! Snoop Dogg!

(Just a hunch, that was Woody Harrelson, not Allen. But it’s Barnes’ story.)

This story is incredible!