Artest shoots balanced L.A. past Phoenix; LeBron returns to dunk all over Philly

03.13.10 8 years ago 34 Comments

Ron-Ron was money Friday night

Going outside the norm was the theme of last night’s Lakers/Suns game. In a close fourth quarter against a not-so-lockdown defense, Kobe didn’t go nutso shooting the ball, scoring “only” eight of his 21 points in the quarter and just two during L.A.’s decisive run. Ron Artest, meanwhile, was a regular Mitch Richmond out there; the normally streaky shooter showed a smooth stroke (15 pts, 3 threes) and knocked down some daggers in crunch time to secure the win … Normally when the Suns need a late run, that’s when Steve Nash stops dropping yo-yo dimes and starts banging threes. Last night Nash (and Amar’e) was on the bench while the Suns made their fourth-quarter push sparked by the unlikely trio of Lou Amundson, Goran Dragic and Jarron Collins. Yeah, that Jarron Collins. Dragic hit a three and Amundson got three dunks — one of them coming off an alley-oop from Collins that was like a bizarro replay of those Boris Diaw-to-Shawn Marion ‘oops from Phoenix’s heyday — to give them the lead. That was brief, however, as Kobe (21 pts, 10 rebs, 8 asts) hit Shannon Brown with an ‘oop that put L.A. back on top, the beginning of a 12-1 run that killed whatever momentum Phoenix had … Alvin Gentry didn’t help. He waited a little too long to put Nash back in, then he got double-techs and was ejected with five minutes left after Pau Gasol smacked Amundson across the face on a drive. For a play that looked pretty harmless and accidental, Gentry was going to rip somebody’s nose off if his assistants hadn’t held him back … On a related note, the reader comment of the day from Friday goes to That’s What’s Up, answering the question of what liquor would best match certain NBA teams: “Phoenix Suns would be non-alcoholic beer. Everything seems good, but in the end nothing ever happens.” So cold, but true … LeBron was back in the Cavs’ lineup after missing a couple of games, and if his ankle wasn’t 100 percent, you couldn’t tell. ‘Bron and Andre Iguodala put on a dunk contest, with Iguodala (30 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts) punching one-handers hard enough to cause blisters on his fingers and LeBron (23 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks) unleashing the entire repertoire from reverse jackknives to alley-oops that he caught with one hand and finished with two hands. The King did get crowned one time by Lou Williams, though … The Sixers hung around, trailing by three with 1:30 to go before some killer turnovers did them in. Iguodala committed the first one, and then on their best chance to force overtime, Jrue Holiday passed up a good look at a three to drive baseline and kick it out to another shooter — only he threw it right to Delonte West, who iced it with free throws … Jazz/Bucks also came down to a bad decision (in hindsight) to pass instead of shoot. Utah was down four with 20 seconds left when Deron Williams crossed up his man and instead of taking it himself, dumped it off to Carlos Boozer. He got blocked by Andrew Bogut, and fouled Ersan Ilyasova on the rebound. But then because Boozer (26 pts, 14 rebs) thought he’d gotten fouled on the shot, he flipped out and got two techs, basically handing Milwaukee the game at the free-throw line … Hours before tip-off, one of our writers predicted the Celtics would “make an example” of the Pacers, and he was right. Indiana caught Boston at the wrong time — coach Jim O’Brien compared them to a “wounded tiger” — coming off Wednesday’s embarrassing loss to Memphis and after the C’s held a closed-door team meeting to air out their issues. They were clearly a different team last night and won in a rout … Rajon Rondo‘s sickest play of the game didn’t even make the highlight reels. Rondo (16 pts, 11 asts) had the ball up top, and looking to the right sideline, brought it up with one huge hand like he was gonna throw a simple pass there. Instead, he whipped a no-look to Big Baby Gooch under the rim that had some kind of ill backspin to where it looked like Rondo literally had the ball on a string. Davis got blocked, but it was called a goaltend … Other stat lines from Friday: Carmelo hung 32 points and 12 rebounds on the Hornets in a win; Brandon Roy scored 28 to lead Portland past Sacramento; Will Bynum handed out 20 assists to go with 5 points as the Pistons knocked off Washington; Kevin Durant slapped 32 points and 12 boards in OKC’s win over the Nets; Richard Jefferson remembered how to play basketball and put up 19 points and 9 boards in San Antonio’s win at Minnesota; Stephen Jackson scored 24 to lead Charlotte past the Clippers; In a high school reunion, O.J. Mayo dropped 22 as Memphis beat the Knicks, while his buddy Bill Walker scored 21 in the loss; and somebody turned it back to ’05 in Miami, as Jermaine O’Neal had 25 points and Q-Rich had 23 on 7 threes as the Heat beat the injury-racked Bulls … We’ve been talking a lot about nicknames here lately: Gilbert Arenas might want a new one since he’s (presumably) ditching “Agent Zero,” the debate continues over whether Glen Davis deserves to lose the “Big Baby” moniker, and some future stars like Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay, Kevin Durant and Deron Williams are still out here without a quality handle. What do you think of “Swedish Eagle” for Jonas Jerebko? We saw some Pistons fans with that written on a sign last night. Works for us … We’re out like Agent Zero …

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