As much as we want to give credit to Kobe Bryant for icing the Lakers win in Brooklyn last night, L.A. should throw the Nets a bone. Brooklyn did everything they could outside of express mailing the W to Hollywood. Down the stretch, the Nets endured a couple of bad shots from Brook Lopez – one was an ugly airball – on poorly executed plays. Then, Gerald Wallace threw away an inbounds pass. Finally, the nail in the coffin was letting the Lakers come down and burn nearly all of the shot clock before Brooklyn fouled with less than three ticks left to shoot. One of the dumbest team plays we’ve seen all season. L.A. closed out the nine-point win with a 10-0 run. Bryant only had 21 points on 24 shots, but had two consecutive hoops in the closing minutes, including a finish in the lane where he dunked on the entire borough. … The Brook Lopez and Pau Gasol matchup was incredibly fun to watch in the first half. Lopez (30 points, 11 rebounds) was dominating the Nets’ offense, partly because their bench was so bad. Andray Blatche, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries were pathetic. Blatche seemed lost, and Brooks came out trying to go at Bean, only to take two terrible shots to start his first half stint. One of them would’ve knocked out a fan or two if the backboard hadn’t gotten in the way. Lopez, for how slow he is, actually goes quicker to the rim than Gasol, and had a baseline reverse where he transformed into a curly-haired Shawn Kemp. Too bad the big man matchup died in the second half. Lopez continued to man up and was getting grown man buckets all the way until the final minute while Gasol put on his swan suit, finishing the night 6-for-16 from the floor with four boards. He eventually had to leave with a right foot injury. We’ve never been huge fans of Lopez’s game, but he proved something to us last night while playing fantastic pick-n-roll defense down the stretch … An observation from some of the guys at Dime: Robert Sacre looks like Imhotep in The Mummy … In one of the ugliest fourth quarters we’ve seen in a long time, Phoenix dealt Memphis another setback, 96-90. The Suns built a lead in the final frame thanks to a trio of conventional three-point plays from Goran Dragic, who had 15 of his 17 points in the last 12 minutes. They also got a few three-pointers that Kendall Marshall pulled out of his ass (he made as many triples last night as he had on the entire year), and even got a mini six-point run from Jermaine O’Neal (14 points), the latest old man to get inducted into the Phoenix Reclamation Project Hall of Fame … Did the Grizzlies inadvertently stumble into Jerryd Bayless? He’s playing more minutes now with Rudy Gay gone, and has scored in double-figures in seven straight games. Last night, he went off for 29, including a couple of bombs from about 26 feet, and was one of the few players Memphis had who wasn’t sleep-walking. Yeah, he still had some stupid point guard plays, and was involved in quite a few turnovers down the stretch, but the dude can really score. That offense is so bad he might HAVE to play more … In college hoops, unranked Arkansas knocked No. 2 Florida the hell out, 80-69, jumping all over them at the start and never letting up. The coolest part of the game though was how afterwards, the crowd didn’t really storm the court. Instead, the players stormed the stands … And No. 3 Michigan barely survived by two in overtime against rival No. 10 Ohio State after Aaron Craft dribbled the length of the court, and couldn’t get off a good look from underneath the basket. Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped 23 points … Keep reading to hear what chants Paul George was receiving in Indiana …
We’re not sure what was more incredible in the first half of Houston’s 140-109 destruction of Golden State. Was it the fact that the Warriors shot 58 percent from the field and were still trailing by 15? Or was it Houston making 14 three-pointers? Both teams were so unconscious (the Rockets had 77 points at the break) that when Steph Curry banked in a shot from midcourt at the buzzer, it was almost expected. It’s hard to say the Rockets ever cooled considering they scored 140, but at least in the second half, they finally started missing (they still finished with 23 made triples, tying a NBA record). Jeremy Lin went to work against Golden State’s backcourt, cutting them up and finishing with 28 points and nine dimes, his best game in nearly two months. James Harden added 18 points … Paul George might be going through basketball puberty this season, and we might be as big of fans of him as anyone, but even we had to laugh at Indiana’s crowd in the fourth quarter of their 114-103 win over the Hawks. In the final frame, George (29 points) started getting MVP chants from Area 55, Roy Hibbert‘s ticket section. You can’t blame the fans. Hibbert hasn’t given them anything to cheer about all year; they were probably just bored. Meanwhile, George was by far the best player on the court. The only other player close was Jeff Teague, who had 24 points and eight dimes in his return home … And you thought the Super Bowl lights fiasco was bad. Last night in the third quarter, the Indiana-Atlanta game was delayed for what seemed like 20 minutes on the replay of a single call. D.J. Augustin drove to the rim and got decked by Al Horford, and the referees seemed like were deliberating from defensive foul to flagrant foul to offensive foul to technical. After a while, the animosity in the crowd was rising to Spring-1995-Source-Music-Awards levels … Midway through the third quarter, Ian Mahinmi airmailed a free throw, and Pacers’ announcer Quinn Buckner started breaking out bedroom noises: “Heeeeeemmmmmm, that one touched everything but nuthiiiiiing, nuthiiiiing.” … Atlanta’s ’90s retro uniforms still look like a Photoshop mashup. They are super dope though, although it would’ve been better had Steve Smith, Mookie Blaylock and Chris Crawford showed up … And Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari (each with 22 points) and the Nuggets came from behind to beat Milwaukee, 112-104, spoiling Sam Dalembert‘s career night (35 points, 12 rebounds) … We’re out like Golden State’s defense.
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