The Heat Stop What No One Else Could; The Lakers Have A Problem

By: 02.24.12
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Rob Hammer)

In Oklahoma City, there was no reason to roll over at home just because there’s a weekend of activities ahead. Kobe was going at it, talking smack all night to James Harden and his teammates, but it was much ado about nothing as the Thunder ripped off their 12th straight at home. We can talk about Kevin Durant‘s continued excellence again (33 points) but Harden’s 16 points hides the way he was dealing all night. In 32 minutes he found three assists but teammates bungled several others, and would have been even more efficient offensively if not for checking Kobe (24 points) into a 7-of-24 night from the floor … It’s not often you see Kobe rattled, but after Russell Westbrook nailed a three with 0.8 seconds left in the first half (he finished with an uneven 19 points), Bryant threw the ball right to Durant along the baseline. Given a last shot, he chucked it at the rim and, as with all things he puts in the air recently, it went swish. A two-point deficit at halftime became a three-point lead … The game was a confirmation of things we already knew, sure, like the Lakers are atrocious on the road while the Thunder are damn near unbeatable at home, but when Chris Webber said it was an end of an era at the end, the comment rang more true than ridiculous, really … Not often you’ll hear this, but Willie Green (14 points) broke Orlando’s back as the Magic get ready to host the All-Star Weekend. The Magic fought back from 11 points down to tie the game on a J.J. Redick (13 points) three in the fourth, but the Hawks put the brakes on the Magic’s plan to coast into a return home. Dwight Howard (12 points, 12 boards, 5 blocks) had a shoulder-shrug night in his hometown where you’re not sure if he wants to be there or can’t wait to get out … You didn’t think the Spurs were going to go out like that after losing by nearly 50 to the Blazers, right? The league’s hottest team after winning 11 straight, San Antonio washed a nasty rout out of its mouth against Denver. DeJuan Blair (28 points, 12 rebounds) led six players in double figures, including Timmy D (18 points) and Tony Parker (16 points), who both sat against Portland. … Knowing Gregg Popovich‘s temperment, even with the ASW coming up and knowing they lost because of all the guys who sat, you know he was pissed about the way they went down on Tuesday. … After being up as much as 25, it’s not a bad way to close the annual rodeo road trip, either, after nine games. … Peep a Kenneth Faried alley-oop from Andre Miller dunk when you get the chance. Remember Faried was in the Ohio Valley Conference just a year ago? Holy mismatch, Batman … We’ve got boots on the ground in Orlando, and we’re getting ready to bring you everything you need for All-Star Weekend. First up, the Rising Stars Challenge … We’re out like the Lakers on the road.

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