Andrew Bynum Grows Up; Dwight Howard Blows Up

You can always tell when one of your boys got some the night before. He comes strolling into the apartment kitchen doing his best to conceal a smile, pours himself a big ol’ glass of water, leans back in a chair with everyone else staring and just starts chuckling. But damn, the way Andrew Bynum was cheesing last night after his hook shot in the lane helped knockout the Celtics, you would’ve thought he smashed Lauren London. He was hyped. And he should’ve been. Kobe Bryant, who scored 26 and hit a go-ahead pull-up in the final minute to help quiet the growing mass attached to the “Kobe ain’t clutch” bandwagon, overturned another play to tell everyone they should go inside to the Big Knee Injury. Bynum (20 points, 14 rebounds) came through with that hook, the Lakers won 97-94 and then the All-Star center started handing out hugs like he was Lots-O-Huggin Bear from Toy Story 3. The Lakers dominated in the paint in the second half, and would’ve won by more if Rajon Rondo (24 points, 10 assists) hadn’t been killing it … There was also Metta World Peace, who played and brawled like the old Ron Artest. He scored 14, hit three triples and even caught a dunk on the break … Damn, Linsanity died a harsh death didn’t it? It’s not just that Jeremy Lin isn’t playing at the same level anymore – he was 5-for-18 in Philly’s 106-94 win in the Garden. The Knicks are a depressed bunch, losers of five in a row, and actually heard boos yesterday. Carmelo Anthony (22 points) didn’t even make a shot in the second half while Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala (19 points, seven rebounds, eight assists) were out there getting noisy at the rim. At the end of the third quarter, Lou Williams went beserk, scoring 12 of his 28 in about a three minute span … After lighting up Manhattan with 24 points and 15 rebounds in yet another great performance since finding the starting lineup, is Evan Turner finally on his way to becoming the nerdiest good player ever? … 16 points in the game’s final four minutes? Let’s crown the new king of Cleveland already, Kyrie Irving. The rook’s 21 helped push the Cavs over Houston, 118-107 … Keep reading to hear about the new star now wearing a face mask …

Thank Dwight Howard for holding up every trade and every GM at this year’s trade deadline. But he was so good in Orlando’s 107-94 win over Indiana (three missed shots, 30 points, 13 rebounds) that you can see why every team in the league wants to take a shot at acquiring him before doing anything else. Howard was a complete monster on the high screen-n-roll, so good that he even turned J.J. Redick into a playmaker (he had nine helpers), and so forceful that we thought he might turn Roy Hibbert into a panini (the other “All-Star” center had 10 points and two rebounds) … There’s no doubt in our mind that Ersan Ilyasova is going to swing a fantasy league or two this year. He blew up again for 31 and 12 in Milwaukee’s 105-99 W against the Raptors. Never in a million years did we predict Ilyasova (who we still can’t spell his name right without looking it up) would be rocking stat sheets while Stephen Jackson would be contributing about as much as a lawn chair … O.J. Mayo‘s (22 points, eight dimes) triple with about a minute left was wet in Memphis’ 94-91 win in Denver, and it seemed like it was a game-ender. But because no one on Memphis could get a free throw rebound, the Nuggets stayed close and eventually had a possession to try to tie it. Then Andre Miller just completely lost the ball. Did we mention this is one of the weirder subplots of the season? Why does he keep getting the ball during crunch time for Denver? … Josh Smith continued his ridiculous run with 28 points in the Hawks’ seven-point win over Sacramento … And it was Golden State surprising the Clippers, 97-93 as Monta Ellis had 21 and 11 … Remember how Allen Iverson first made the arm sleeve popular, and then eventually (like now) dudes wear them with all kinds of stupid designs on them. What are the chances the clear facemasks Kobe and CP3 (23 points… wearing the mask because of a nasal fracture) are rocking become fashion statements? Rip Hamilton is already down. You could sell them as protective gear that doubles as something that makes you appear like a legit tough guy. No you say? Okay never mind … The NCAA brackets were unveiled last night with the four top seeds going to Syracuse, Kentucky, Michigan St. and North Carolina. No surprises there. But there were a few teams that didn’t get in that have to be tripping out today. U-Dub screwed themselves over by not being able to make a free throw, but what about Drexel and Mississippi State? We understand the Bulldogs slowed as the season went on, but you can’t tell us they aren’t one of the nation’s best 68 teams … No matter what, all roads must go through Kentucky. They’re by far the best team in America – even if they fell asleep drooling on themselves in their conference championship loss to Vandy. One team to keep an eye on: Memphis. They might play competition fit for a JV team, but you could argue they’re playing as well as anyone is right now. All week we’ll be giving you the 411 on everything you need to know for March Madness so stay tuned … And as for the actual college ball yesterday, Michigan State secured their No. 1 seed by beating Ohio State and UNC fell to another tournament dark horse, Florida State … We’re out like Knick defense.

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