Kobe’s late surge falls short in Orlando; Celtics avoid disaster

By: 03.08.10  •  52 Comments

Vince Carter, Dime #21

Down 10 going into the fourth quarter against the reigning Eastern Conference champs, it seemed Kobe was just waiting for the perfect set-up to steal another team’s heart. Scoring a modest 16 points through three quarters, Kobe hit back-to-back jumpers to open the fourth, then later went on a personal 7-0 run to cut Orlando’s lead to two with about 4:30 remaining. With 30 seconds to go, L.A. was still down five when Kobe (34 pts, 7 rebs, 7 asts, 3 stls) hit a ridiculous corner three with his defender all over him, then after a Jameer Nelson free throw, Mamba iced another J (about a toenail shy of being a three-pointer) to make it a one-point game with 12 seconds left. Vince Carter split a pair of free throws, so with one chance to tie or win the game, Kobe got where he wanted for a pull-up jumper, but he missed. Kobe immediately stormed off the floor (without shaking anybody’s hand) as the Lakers dropped three games in a row for the first time since picking up Pau Gasol in ’08 … Vince had 25 points (13-14 FT) and Dwight Howard posted 15 points and 16 boards, but Matt Barnes deserves some credit for the win, too. He went back-and-forth with Kobe all night, and hit some timely shots in the second half. One time Barnes crushed Derek Fisher on a screen, and Fisher got up trying to start a fight. And somewhere, Luis Scola smiled an evil smile and felt all was now right with the world … Ron Artest took one step closer to fulfilling his destiny as the next Dennis Rodman. Or maybe Ron-Ron saw what Brandon Jennings did the other night and had to one-up the kid. Either way, Artest’s blond dye job with the purple letters is just weird. PLEASE let’s not start this trend again. We already had one Sisqo; we don’t need another … Doesn’t it seem like forever since Tayshaun Prince was winning Olympic gold with Team USA and technically considered one of the 12 best players in America? Last night Tay had his first (and maybe last) great game of the season, dropping 29 points and 10 boards on the Rockets in an overtime win. Detroit was down eight with three minutes to go before Tayshaun caught two breakaway dunks — one of them a “Welcome Home” cram on Shane Battier‘s dome — then with 45 seconds left, Prince got another dunk in transition to tie the game up … Detroit got the ball back with 20 seconds left, and John Kuester literally took like 5 minutes during a timeout drawing up a play. NBA teams extend the time limit during a timeout all the time, but this breach was so blatant that Rick Adelman flipped out on the refs. When the Pistons finally came out of the huddle, they got the ball to Rip Hamilton, but he missed a jumper at the buzzer … In overtime, Rip’s offense (22 pts, 8 asts) and the Pistons defense was enough to secure the win. On some of the most crucial possessions of the game, Aaron Brooks (25 pts) and Kevin Martin (27 pts) just couldn’t penetrate the D, and Houston to settle for jumpers … Wizards/Celtics was all set to be one of those rock-bottom moments for Boston. Fourth quarter, the Wizards were up 13 and had the C’s looking old, slow and disinterested. One defining first-half sequence: KG went up for a dunk and got it sent back in his face by JaVale McGee, setting Al Thornton (24 pts, 11 rebs, 3 stls) up for a fast-break layup. Next trip, Paul Pierce tried to dunk on McGee and got rejected, leading to another Thornton bucket … But down the stretch, the Wizards (mainly Randy Foye) predictably fell apart, and Boston’s vets (mainly Ray Allen) came through when it mattered. Ray (25 pts) dropped a go-ahead three with about a minute left, then another trey with 17 on the clock. Washington had a shot to tie at the end, but couldn’t convert … If Glen Davis wants to drop the “Big Baby” handle, he needs to give us a reason to stop calling him a baby. After James Singleton beat Davis for a rebound then banged on him, Davis decided to start screaming the closest ref. The Celtics took a timeout, and instead of going to the bench, Davis followed that same ref and kept screaming at him. Eventually you could see Doc Rivers yell, “Baby! Baby! Get your ass back here!” … Other stat lines from Sunday: Thaddeus Young scored 32 in Philly’s win at Toronto, while Chris Bosh had 12 points and 12 boards in his return to the lineup; Kevin Durant put up 27 points in OKC’s win at Sacramento; and Carmelo dropped 30 on the Blazers in a win … BTW, Rodney Stuckey didn’t play in the Pistons/Rockets game, but he was released from the hospital in Cleveland over the weekend and is said to be OK. He’s undergoing tests to figure out the problem … We’re out like Sisqo …

Around The Web