Clippers & Miami Play A Thriller; Kobe Bryant Goes For 40 Again

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

You talkin’ about playoffs? The atmosphere in the Clippers overtime win over Miami felt like an NBA Finals game. Down the stretch, we can’t remember the last time we’d seen so many bodies hitting the deck. Miami really should’ve won it during regulation. But LeBron (23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) fouled Chauncey Billups on a three, as well as going half n’ half at the line two times in a row at the end of the game (Damn he looked uncomfortable at the end of the game). It stayed close all the way through the overtime until Mario Chalmers (18 points) missed a three. With the Heat down three, they couldn’t get a foul, DeAndre Jordan (six huge blocks) got a wide-open jam, Erik Spoelstra flipped out and got tossed and the Clippers had a 95-89 win … In the second half, Chris Paul (27 points, 11 assists and about 32 flops) turned the game into his own personal showcase. We know it’s not PC, but THAT looked like the real CP3, and he hasn’t been around a whole lot this year. Still, the Clippers nearly shot themselves by going too often to Caron Butler (20 points) on isolations against LeBron, and allowing Chauncey Billups to put up every 25 footer he had a chance at … We don’t want to put a damper on a great game, but there was some shady officiating down the stretch. Were they trying to set a record for the most late calls in one quarter? It was one makeup call after another … After 47 minutes of making Dirk Nowitzki look completely human, KG got beat. Bad. In the final 25 seconds, with Garnett bodying up close enough on Dirk that they could’ve been at a middle school dance, Dirk (16 points) beat him off the dribble, and finished an and-1 layup to put the Mavs ahead for good. The Cs got one last chance, but Rajon Rondo turned it over on the other end (Great idea, Rondo: when Jesus gets open late, throw the ball at his feet) and, with Dime in the house, Dallas (5-1 in their last six) prevailed, 90-85 … Aside from his game-ending turnover, Rondo was money, single-handedly keeping the Celtics alive in the first half. “This is his team right now,” Doc Rivers said of Rondo, who finished with 24 points and seven assists, both game highs. Still until Paul Pierce gets back to his old self (literally), the Cs are going to continue to struggle. According to Doc, the first step for Pierce is getting back in shape. Before Dallas and Boston squared off, Pierce spent an hour on the treadmill, which could help explain his seven points. He did tie it up with a three with 25 seconds left, just as the Notorious J.V.G. was saying the Celtics passed up a shot to tie it. Amazingly, it was the first time the Truth had spoken since the first quarter … Damn, Atlanta is flip-flopping more than The Game this year. One night they have it together and beat Miami. The next, they’re getting blown out in Indiana as Jeff Foster of all people is stroking threes. Danny Granger broke out of his season-long timeout chair to drop 24 points on 16 shots as Indiana ran all over the Hawks, 96-84. In the third quarter alone, it was 27-9 Indiana … There was a Lance Stephenson sighting last night. Right as we switched on the game, the former Dime cover boy was in the middle of launching two shots on one possession. You gotta show him a little love though. Young fella scored seven in a row for the Pacers and had 12 for the game … Portland loves messing with us, don’t they? The “best team in the West” came out like butterflies last night, and even a miraculous late run wasn’t enough to avoid a home loss to Orlando, 107-104. Jameer Nelson (15 points) had two stupid turnovers in the final seconds: A travel 40 feet from the hoop, and then let Wes Matthews rip it right out of his hands for a dunk to cut it to three. But when they needed it, the Blazers went to Matthews, who missed a trey, instead of Jamal Crawford (24 points, and his NBA record 34th career four-point play), who was cooking everyone … Keep reading to hear about another one of Kobe’s big nights …

Page 2
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

It’s hard to say someone saved your ass when you drop 40, but seriously, Andrew Bynum saved Kobe’s ass last night. As Bryant (14-for-31 from the field) was busy playing keep-away from every other person in the arena during overtime of the Lakers 90-87 win in Utah, Bynum won it for him by snuffing Al Jefferson right at the rim in the closing seconds. Kobe said he’d be ready for Raja Bell and he was. Almost too ready. After Josh Howard (18 points) and Paul Millsap (29 points, nine boards) made game-tying shots late, Bryant shot an air ball (something he’s been doing late in Utah since his rookie year) at the end of regulation and despite his unreal performance for most of the night, it seemed like the only time Kobe passed it late came when he sent it to the corner in overtime, and Pau Gasol banged a trey … Philly finally lost a game, 85-79, to a team in New York that desperately needed a W. Down four in the final minutes, Philly got themselves a nice open J for Thaddeus Young who short-armed it. Sixers color man Malik Rose sounded like he had an orgasm when the shot fell short. Then when Jrue Holiday shot a brick to end it, Rose threw out a really awkward groan. Oh so close, Malik … The Sixers screwed themselves right from the start, going seven minutes in the first half without a score before finally, Landry Fields decided to show everyone he can play point, and got ripped and then committed an offensive foul against Holiday on back-to-back trips upcourt … Amar’e Stoudemire (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Carmelo Anthony (27 points, nine rebounds) and … Josh Harrellson (13 points) did work for the Knicks … Iman Shumpert was eating small pieces of watermelon before the game for the cramps hes been dealing with since high school … We like how someone in Chicago brainwashed John Lucas into believing he was Derrick Rose for a night. With the MVP sidelined, Lucas (11-for-28, 25 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) threw up shots all night and yet totally outplayed John Wall (11 points, eight assists) in Chicago’s 14-point win. It must’ve been a point guard thing because Mike James – fresh outta the D-League – got a shot up within 10 seconds of entering the game. He was also wearing a No. 14 jersey with no name on it … About the only positive thing Wall had going for him were two big lefty dunks, one where his knee almost re-aligned Lucas’ face …Danilo Gallinari (22 points) paced six Nuggets in double figures as Denver blasted New Jersey with 123 points in their eight-point win … OKC and Kevin Durant (29 points, 10 rebounds) won their fifth game in six days by 10 in New Orleans. Carl Landry (17 points) had his Bugaloo going last night. He shot three air balls. You almost have to try to do that … In what might’ve been his best game since he was stealing teammates’ wives back in Phoenix (We’ve got jokes. Obviously the rumors weren’t true, and when we asked Nash about his favorite teammates of all time last week, Barbosa was actually the first name he mentioned… followed by Raja Bell and Grant Hill), Leandro Barbosa had 24 points off the bench, but the Raptors had no one to counter DeMarcus Cousins and his near 20/20 game (21 and 19) as the Kings won by seven … Tony Parker (28 points, eight assists) and the Spurs had eight straight points late, culminating in a shot clock-beating, 17-foot leaner that Parker just threw up, to send the Spurs and Rockets to overtime. Once there, the Spurs survived some sniper shots from Kyle Lowry (22 points), and Houston finally succumbed when Chandler Parsons and then Lowry missed back-to-back gimmes in the closing seconds … And the Grizzlies went to Benihana to celebrate Tony Allen‘s birthday. Everyone was there, even Zach Randolph who was rolling with his crutches. This seems like just the sort of thing that could turn Memphis’ season around: a night out at Benihana’s. All kinds of foolishness probably ensued. We love how Hamed Haddadi‘s head looks twice as big as anyone else’s … We’re out like Lucas’ conscience.

For breaking news, rumors, exclusive content, and contests sent right to your inbox, sign up here for the Dime Email Newsletter.

Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook

Around The Web