He might’ve made just four of his last 25 “clutch” shots and he might’ve shot the Lakers out of two or three games this season – most recently in Philly last week – and he might’ve missed six of his previous seven shots on this afternoon, but it wasn’t a surprise that Kobe was gonna take the one shot that counted in L.A.’s 94-92 win in Canada. Add another one to the highlight reel, this one a one-dribble pull-up on the baseline. Bryant (27 points) was a man down the stretch, hitting a ball-busting three and then getting a steal and an assist to put L.A. up one. If it wasn’t for 24’s heroics, we could’ve blasted the Raptors, who somehow did the unthinkable and had a five-second violation (with Dwane Casey freaking out that he called a timeout) with a chance at the lead in the closing seconds, screwing up a 30-piece from Jose Calderon … Metta World Peace is having himself a tough year, but he’s never had a more embarrassing string of possessions than in the second quarter yesterday. First Kobe got him a wide-open three. Metta blatantly hesitated, and then finally shot it two seconds too late. Miss. Then on the other end, he got smashed on by Linas Kleiza. Coming back offensively, Metta had to go back at him right? So he got into his comfort zone in the post, backed him down and did some weird double-spin move that ended up with him falling on his ass and the Raptors on the break … Meanwhile, the Raptors might not be very good, but their sneaker game is on point. DeMar DeRozan was rocking the new Chicago Xs, and James Johnson had the Concords on, which probably helped him at the end of the first half when he went coast-to-coast, put an in-and-out on Bynum that froze the big snowman and then dunked from Montreal … The Raptors’ color man, Jack Armstrong, is one of those can’t miss voices, and not in a good way. Yesterday he had another classic. The broadcast was advertising an upcoming performance, and upon hearing about it, Armstrong screamed out “NAUGHTY BY NATUAAAAA! HIP-HOP LEGEND!” It was like woah, calm down dude … When we have kids, we’ll use a tape of the Wizards and Pistons game (Washington won by 21) from last night as a punishment. We felt like we were watching an ugly intramural game with awful, first-time student refs. The Wizards seem to purposely have no space on offense and don’t know the difference between a decent shot and one you’d shoot in H-O-R-S-E. Detroit just sucks. Actually, Washington’s go-to move wasn’t even a set play. It was just “John Wall find JaVale McGee.” And it actually worked all game. McGee had eight dunks alone (he finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds) and Wall (15 assists), who hooked his big man up on five or six of those plays, quit messing around with Brandon Knight in the third quarter, completely dominating a five-minute stretch with nine points and three assists on a 22-2 Wiz run … Rashard Lewis also became only the third player in NBA history with at least 15,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1,500 three-pointers in his career … Keep reading to hear about the unbelievable thing Rajon Rondo did …
Rajon Rondo must’ve felt like a caged animal unleashed with his Kryptonite, Derrick Rose, sitting on the bench with a sore back. Rondo (32 points, 10 rebounds, 15 dimes) went harder than Adele at the Grammys as Boston recovered from a bad loss to the Raptors to win, 95-91. In the fourth quarter, his giving just got to be too much. On two straight possessions, he made Chris Wilcox young again and then made JaJuan Johnson matter for a second, throwing back-to-back alley-oops that had the Garden crowd flipping out like someone had just started playing “Sweet Caroline.” The dude had six dimes (and four rebounds) in the final frame alone … What’s up with backup Chicago guards playing like everyone came to watch them? First John Lucas. Now C.J. Watson. He took 23 shots yesterday (for 22 points) … And people wonder why it’s hard to take the Hawks seriously? They lay an egg every few weeks, and yesterday they did it again in an embarrassing 107-87 loss to Miami that wasn’t even that close. The game was over by halftime with Wade and LeBron combining for 35 in the first half and Bosh putting up a double-double in the first two quarters alone. The Hawks have now lost four of five at home, and in each one of those losses, they’ve been down by at least 20 … The worst part for Atlanta is there’s a good chance they could play Miami in the second round, and a win just ain’t happening, not when their best players are all swingmen and finesse forwards, and the Heat have three of the best in the game … At one point in Utah’s 10-point win over Memphis, as The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Brian T. Smith wrote on Twitter, the entire Jazz bench got up in a huddle, everyone believing, and Al Jefferson said with a laugh, “You look like you’re god damn surprised.” Big Al (21 points, 15 rebounds), hunted the Grizzlies, shot them down and then sold their fur as coats, dominating inside all night while Gordon Hayward (23 points) went off from the perimeter … Who caught Memphis coming out for warmups in those weird hipster sweaters? What was this? Dress like LeBron day? First time we’ve ever seen v-neck joints that looked like sweaters being rocked in warm-ups. Our guy Rudy Gay (22 points) admitted he picked the throwbacks out. His fashion sense has been all over the place lately. He would’ve fit right in at the Grammys … And Golden State finally slowed down the Rockets, stealing their cookies, 106-97 behind Monta Ellis‘ 33 points … We’re out like Nicki Minaj‘s Red Riding Hood getup.
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