LeBron Proves He Is The King; Dallas Snatches A Win In Utah

By: 01.20.12  •  92 Comments
LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

Oklahoma City didn’t play Thursday, but try telling Thunder fans it wasn’t a victory. Guard Russell Westbrook went all Boomer Sooner by signing a five-year, $80-million extension. The deal brought praise for GM Sam Presti and hailed Westbrook, slammed for being a “shoots-lots” guard, for his unselfishness: “Instead, Westbrook delivered to his teammates, his organization and this city a blessed gift. Expansion of the Thunder’s window of opportunity to turn Oklahoma City into Titletown. … No promises beyond 2016, but until then, barring catastrophic injury, an oil-and-gas bust or general manager Sam Presti losing his senses, the Thunder is set for five years of excellent basketball,” the Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel wrote. The deal leaves room to re-sign James Harden and Serge Ibaka, allowing the Thunder to keep their homegrown core intact for a while. Will the debate on Durant/Westbrook shooting continue that long? Now that Westbrook’s no longer in a contract year, it should be interesting to see if his 17.3 shots per game decrease … There was basketball, we promise. Miami/Lakers missed Dwyane Wade, but LeBron James (31 points, eight boards, eight assists) was enough for Miami, who donned blackout uniforms to match the black-hat villain role. Last night though, the much-maligned Heat were just better at home in every phase, even with a resurgent Pau Gasol (26 points, eight rebounds) taking the lead for the Lakers … Kobe Bryant (24 points) overcame a horrid first three quarters to get his, starting 0-of-5 and unable to buy a bucket from deep, where all eight of the KobeSystem’s misses came until late in the second half. He credited Shane Battier (11 points, six rebounds with three threes) with good defense and called him one of the three defenders he likes to face after Raja Bell and Tony Allen. We think Shane secretly enjoys going up against Kobe. Did you see how often he was shooting? Probably still tells people about the playoff night a few years back when he outscored him too. How weird of a first half was it? Kobe had has many field goals (one) as Eddy Curry … Yes, that Eddy Curry (six points, three rebounds in six minutes). We felt like we had seen a ghost; it was his first game in 762 days (that’s not the longest streak, either — Portland’s Greg Oden is at 775) when he checked in in the first quarter and started eating up a standing ovation from the Miami crowd (you think he probably got a different reaction from grudge-holding fans watching in Chicago and New York?). Activated before the game by Erik Spoelstra, Curry didn’t play coy to reporters beforehand about his conditioning, saying the adrenaline would tire him out. The former Baby Bull is everyone’s favorite punching bag, but seriously, the fact he was playing was no, er, small feat. So how much do you weigh, Eddy? “It’s a great number but it’s not where I want to be yet,” Curry said. “When it’s where I want it to be, I’ll probably put a sticker on.” … The Lakers have three players who could pass for mercenaries/hit men: Kobe, McBob and definitely Steve Blake. Actually, throw Troy Murphy in there too. He reminds us of Gaear from FargoKeep reading to hear about Sam Dalembert’s amazing night …

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