No Kobe Bryant meant mismatch at times last night in the Clippers’ 108-103 win, their second straight in as many games against their crosstown rivals. It was a barrage of turnovers and highlights that battered the Lakers to the ground in the third quarter. Then it was Blake Griffin that drove a stake into the Lakers’ hearts in the fourth quarter. The next time someone puts Troy Murphy on Blake (30 points, seven assists, six boards), call us. It’s must-see TV. Yet somehow, the Lakers still had a shot at the end, but first DeAndre Jordan had a huge block on Metta World Peace. Then Griffin flopped his way to a charge call on Matt Barnes, securing the win. The Lakers led by as many as 11 in the first half, and were shooting well over 50 percent. But then their little brothers hit them with a 30-8 run dating from the second and into the third, and the game turned into a dunk contest. Just before the half, the game turned on a sequence that started with a Griffin steal. He then led a fast break, pointed to his boy Jordan and threw a perfect lob to about 11 feet where Jordan caught it and smashed. Then on the next possession, Griffin was criminal. He caught the ball in the lane, gave a ball fake and then rose up and probably did damage to the rim with his finish. The third quarter killed the Lakers in both preseason games, and last night they were outscored 30-17 there. The real story behind that collapse were the turnovers. The Lakers finished the night with 21 while the Clips had only six. Andrew Bynum (11-for-15, 26 points, 11 rebounds) didn’t get the ball enough. Steve Blake (20 points on nine shots) didn’t shoot it enough. And then the third quarter turned into a Clipper YouTube highlight tape … Caron Butler has never been a great deep threat, but last year playing with Jason Kidd, he finished with his highest three-point percentage ever. And in the third quarter, he hit three or four corner jumpers from the same exact spot to help open up the game. Always more of a breakdown player than a shooter, if Butler can hit those weak side Js, and he’ll get a lot of them with CP, this offense becomes unstoppable … After an all-time worthy flop by Mo Williams at the end of the third quarter, the announcers made a great point: This Clipper team may have three times the number of flops as dunks. Chauncey, Mo and CP as a backcourt is going to get bad … So Kobe Bryant found out yesterday that he tore the lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist. Leave it up to Kobe to hurt something that no one had ever even heard of until yesterday (We could also make a joke about his divorce and subsequent broken wrist but we don’t even need to.). The ligament is a band of tissues that connects bones in the wrist. We’ve heard a recovery timetable of anywhere from day-to-day to three or four weeks. If Kobe doesn’t suit up at the beginning of the year, and with Bynum already serving his suspension, the Lakers have to be careful or they will fall four, five, maybe even six games under .500 … Miami destroyed Orlando in South Beach the other night, and after the Magic missed their first 12 shots and then fell behind by 20 in the second quarter, we figured the rout was on again. But even with Dwight Howard (15 points, nine rebounds) on the bench to end the game, Orlando’s bench made a bunch of crazy shots and pulled off a 104-100 win. Big Baby went wild with 13 of his 18 in the third and Jameer Nelson was solid throughout (14 points, 10 assists) and threw a lob from nearly midcourt to Jason Richardson. What was up though with LeBron (27 points) and Quentin Richardson? Those two were getting testy all night, and at one point we thought Q-Rich was ready to throwdown … As Kris Humphries nearly got booed off the floor – unreal what a reality TV show can do to someone – the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony (21 points) beat New Jersey 88-82. Anthony provided the offense, Tyson Chandler was all over the backboards (12 rebounds) and Renaldo Balkman chipped in the highlights with a one-handed facial in the first half … Minnesota isn’t quite ready for primetime, but they did take another step in their 85-84 win in Milwaukee. Without J.J. Barea and Ricky Rubio, the T’Wolves still snuck out of there with a win after Michael Beasley (12 points) made two free throws with 9.1 seconds left. Minnesota trailed for much of the night – at one point in the second half, they were down double digits, but Kevin Love (22 points, 16 rebounds) and co. seem like a different team this year … Keep reading to see why Isiah Thomas is backing LeBron and his decision to go to Miami …
Who caught Terrence Williams‘ insane windmill over Danny Green? This wasn’t one of those fake windmills that people try to tag regular dunks with. This was a legit windmill he put down right around Green while getting the foul as well. On the other side, Gregg Popovich doesn’t want to give his new players any credit. In fact, Pop admits he doesn’t really like anyone. But he better start enjoying Kawhi Leonard because last night the rookie won him a game. Leonard hit a long two in the closing seconds to secure a 97-95 win for the Spurs over Houston. Tim Duncan dropped 19 in the win … Behind 17 and nine off the bench from C.J. Miles, the Jazz escaped against Portland 92-89 … Boston and Rajon Rondo (17 points) beat Toronto by eight … And the Hornets aren’t writing their season off yet. They beat Memphis 95-80, dominating the final three quarters behind two of the new guys: Eric Gordon (17 points) and Chris Kaman (18 points). It wasn’t all bad for the Grizz. They played without Marc Gasol, but Rudy Gay (20 points) appears to be all the way back again … Isiah Thomas says there’s nothing wrong with the super team, and that he might’ve done the same thing LeBron did if given the chance. He probably wouldn’t have teamed up with Magic – we’re assuming because they both play the same spot – but probably would’ve with Larry Bird or Michael Jordan. He doesn’t necessarily want credit for sticking it out with Detroit because he had no reason to leave playing with people like Dumars, Laimbeer and Rodman. Thomas says every great player has tried to move to another team to win a championship at some point in his career … Kenyon Martin is coming home. Martin and the Xinjiang Flying Tigers have reportedly severed ties, allowing K-Mart to return to the States. But they will hold up his commitment (his FIBA letter of clearance) to the team until after the season ends, so Martin probably won’t be able to get back into the NBA until March. As part of the deal, it would’ve been appropriate for the team to make it mandatory that Martin get one more terrible Chinese tattoo before he leaves … Marcin Gortat should break his thumb more often. Apparently, Gortat broke it against Denver and then said it actually makes him a better shooter. His 8-for-10 from the line that night we guess proves he’s right … And what is going on with Monta Ellis in Golden State? A former Golden State Warriors employee has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, which alleges that Ellis sent her unwanted photos of his genitals … We’re out like Drake vs. Common.
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