As Andrew Bynum said in the postgame: “That’s vintage Kobe. He always puts on a show.” With a mask that had him looking like a Hollywood villain, Bryant dropped 31, seven and eight in the Lakers’ easy 104-85 win against Minnesota. The question before the game was all “how would Kobe respond to the concussion, and perhaps more importantly, how would he respond to rocking the Rip Hamilton?” Bryant hit his first shot and never stopped. Kenny Smith said it the other night on NBATV: when Kobe gets hurt, you might as well book him for 30. How prophetic was that? … Andrew Bynum also had a monster alley-oop finish. One of the best of his career … David Lee (22 points, 12 rebounds) scored twice in the closing minute – once on a J and another on his patented “fake the handoff, hit a runner off the glass” move – to push Golden State to a surprising win in Atlanta, 85-82. Trade rumors? Monta Ellis had 21 points and eight assists, but he also took 27 shots, so you can make your own assumptions on whether the rumors are hitting him hard. In recent days, there have been reports Orlando has reached out to Golden State about bringing Ellis into a Dwight Howard-to-New Jersey trade. They’re not sold on the Nets’ package of players, and getting Ellis could make the difference … Rajon Rondo responded in a big way to his own trade rumors, going for a triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) one night after getting his shine stolen by Kyrie Irving. Boston beat Milwaukee 102-96 to return again to .500 … You know things are clicking when the hometown crowd is chanting “We want Novak!” The Knicks got extra saucy last night, lighting up the scoreboard fuses with 120 points in their big win over the Cavs. Jeremy Lin had perhaps his most efficient game of the season (13 assists to one turnover, 19 points on 12 shots) and the entire team chipped in so much – including the cyborg sent from outer space to shoot threes, Steve Novak (17 points) – that everyone forgot Amar’e Stoudemire is still looking like Quincy McCall after knee surgery … Iman Shumpert had one of the better dunks of the night, so nasty even J.R. Smith had to hold himself back (and he had his own crazy lob from Baron Davis). That wasn’t it for the rook either. He caught a lob from almost midcourt … Too bad nobody saw Greg Monroe gobble up 20 rebounds and 19 points as the Pistons gave Charlotte a 109-94 beatdown … Toronto got 21 points from DeMar DeRozan in their 11-point win in New Orleans … Utah regained their footing with a blowout win over the Rockets behind 27 off the bench from C.J. Miles … And free League Pass until March 4 … We’re out like Clipper Darrell.
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