Good morning. Let's basketball.
SMOOTH JAZZ: Here come the Utah Jazz. The summer sweethearts are finally finding success expected of them as Rudy Gobert has returned from injury. The Jazz have won seven straight and stormed into the No. 7 seed in the West. On Tuesday, Gordon Hayward stuck the Mavericks right between the eyes on a brilliant game-winner. Now Utah is just one game behind Dallas for No. 6, and there's reason to believe No. 5 is within reach, as well (see below).
ON THE LAMB: Excellent Mirin Fader feature on Jeremy Lamb, who has finally found his place in the NBA and doesn't plan on relinquishing it any time soon.
BEHIND KRISTAPS: Kevin O'Connor talks to Audie Norris, the man who helped turn Kristaps Porzingis from a European prayer into a real NBA player.
SCORES GALORE ...
SAS 119, MIA 101
WAS 111, NYK 108
BOS 111, MIL 112
UTA 121, DAL 119 (OT)
HOU 110, GSW 123
LOL: Despite multiple credible reports that the Kings planned to fire George Karl this week, the team announced Tuesday that he'll remain the coach. What happened? Vlade Divac, who is empowered by ownership to make all basketball decisions, had not decided to fire Karl. He met with the coach Tuesday morning, where each aired out their concerns. He called Karl at lunch and told him he still had a job. Join us next time for As The KANGZ Turn.
NOOOOO! Marc Gasol suffers a broken foot and could miss the remainder of the season. Memphis (No. 5) has a 4.5-game lead on No. 9 Portland. And the trade market might have another seller.
IN MORE BAD NEWS: Jimmy Butler is out 3-4 weeks and will miss the All-Star Game. Pau Gasol has been named his replacement.
AND ANOTHER ONE GONE: Tyreke Evans is expected to have knee surgery and miss the rest of the season.
GOOD: The Clippers suspended Blake Griffin four games for punching out a trainer and fined him another game's pay. That's actually quite a strong message.
THAT'S SO DRAYMOND: Draymond Green badgers a ref into admitting he got a call wrong.
BREAK UP THE HAWKS? ESPN reports that the Hawks are considering moving Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and the big prize, Al Horford.
MORE ON THE EVERYTOWN AD: Kent Babb goes deep on the genesis of that powerful gun violence ad that the NBA participated in and debuted on Christmas Day. Really interesting comments from Adam Silver.
ALWAYS FUN: Zach Lowe's annual Luke Walton All-Stars, honoring the league's glue guys.
AWKWARD: Bill Oram on why it's so tough for Lakers TV and radio analysts to critique Byron Scott: he's their friend!
OFFICIAL VINCE CARTER RAPTORS MIXTAPE FROM THE NBA.
WHEN A SHAKEN HEAD SAYS IT ALL: Gregg Popovich reacts silently when told Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primaries.
HEAVY: Jackie MacMullan on whether NBA big men die young as a rule. Haunting.
JAMES HARDEN IS THE WORST: Kevin McHale guested on Inside The NBA on Tuesday and explained that, yes, he was very surprised he got fired so early and yes, James Harden came into camp overweight.
JAPANESE TV ALERT: Michael Jordan once shot free throws on nine different hoops on a Japanese game show.
SWAP MEET: Brian Windhorst on how that wild series of point guard trades went down at last year's trade deadline.
KOBE IS A WEIRD, PART 457: As a rookie, Tyronn Lue blocked Kobe's shot in practice. So, of course, Kobe wanted to fight Lue for a period of time. Kobe also played one-on-one against all new Laker acquisitions to assert his dominance. Weirdo.
TOP 50 EVER: Jack McCallum, a legend, participated in the NBA's panel that selected the 50 greatest players ever more than a decade ago. So, he decided to update his personal top 50. It's very interesting (and really different from what I'd have).
BUSY NIGHT: ESPN has Lakers-Cavs and Rockets-Blazers. Three League Pass games of intrigue: Hornets-Pacers, Clippers-Celtics and Hawks-Bulls. Enjoy.
Happy Wednesday. See you next time.