Every night in the NBA is its own minimovie, played out in any number of acts. Wednesday there were 14, and we could have called it, The Closers, for the way Kobe and Kyrie won after ridiculous comebacks in the fourth quarter. Friday would be The Takeover. This was one of the most entertaining, star-driven nights of the entire season and if you missed it, we are so apologetic. It lasted literally the entire night, too, from Deron Williams early to Damian Lillard to Kobe Bryant in the late game. … We have to start with Williams, who hit an NBA-record nine three-pointers in the first half against Washington in a 95-78 win at Barclays that ended up with him going for 42, with 11 threes (one off the record by Kobe and our boy Donyell Marshall), and had 33 in the first half. He was cooking. His points equaled the Wizards’ total as a team in the first two quarters, the first player in a decade to pull off that feat. Even over our TV feed of Barclays we could hear the buzz of the arena when he didn’t have the ball, like it was a concert during the opening act when no one really cares and only pays attention when the headliner takes over. Wizards fans spent the first half holding their breath when Williams shot the ball, then started all over just three minutes into the third for something else. Reggie Evans (11 points and 24 boards) found Gerald Wallace backdoor for a cut, but when John Wall tried to jump and block it, he flipped over Wallace (who stayed down on a pumpfake). Wall (16 points) did a handstand into a flip/tumble, was OK, but basically scared the bejeezus out of his team. The Wiz never recovered from D-Will’s performance that actually looked, for once, like he’s worth $100 million. … We caught our breath and sat down for the next wave of games, which included Portland at San Antonio, a place the Trail Blazers are terrible at. Well, pretty soon we just stuck on this game instead of flipping around because the presumed ROY was staging the second clinic of the night, shooting 60 percent for 35 points, nine assists and zero turnovers. No rook has ever done that, according to Elias, since turnovers started counting in the late 70s. Portland dropped San Antonio on its head, 136-106, also with big thanks due to monster games from LaMarcus Aldridge‘ 26 points, 23 from J.J. Hickson and 20 from Eric Maynor. Rook center Meyers Leonard did go down with a foot injury, though, which gave everyone PTSD in Portlandia with its history of injured centers, though. … Hit the jump to read about Kobe Bryant’s capper. …
The way Kobe is playing this season â€” and how fellow German-rehab patients Brandon Roy and Andrew Bynum plain aren’t playing â€” makes us think Bean got the only good batch of the rehab. Bryant’s final five minutes against Toronto was the stuff of legend in the OT 118-116 win, where he went for 41, 12 dimes and six rebounds to get his second 40-12 night of his career in the same week. He held a pretty legendary media session after the game to describe the three huge three-pointers (including ones stuck without a dribble, and in the corner on a turnaround) he hit to bring the Lakers back from 11 down in the last quarter, and here’s the Cliff notes: The only thing I fear is bees and No one is as determined as I am. The Lakers are above .500 for the first time since November. … Did you see this insane video from the Philippines today? Renaldo Balkman put his hands around the neck of his teammate in a game. He later apologized: “I would never intentionally inflict harm on another human being, especially a teammate who I respect deeply.” … Ah yes, the Heat won their 17th game in a row by beating Philly 102-93, tying the best this season. LeBron: A team-high 25 points, 10 boards and five assists. We especially liked when Damien Wilkins nearly clotheslined him trying to fight through a pick, and how LBJ ended the third quarter one play later by drilling a three in his eye. You’ve gotta foul LBJ harder than that to send him out. … Watch out for Chandler Parsons, as he dropped 26 to beat Golden State 94-88 on the road. James Harden did his best impression of Kobe from a few weeks ago by dropping 11 assists and feeding those around him. If someone’s giving up their spot to make room for the Lakers, it won’t be Houston. … It might be the Warriors, but it’ll probably be the Jazz. They lost to Chicago, 89-88 thanks to Marco Belinelli‘s three with 5.9 seconds left. Don’t look now, but Utah’s just a half-game ahead of L.A. for eighth after their third loss in a row. … Isaiah Thomas had 27 as the Kings beat Phoenix, 121-112. … Charlotte spotted Oklahoma City a 19-0 run to start the second quarter and the game ended right then and there in OKC’s 116-94 win on the road … Orlando became a speedbump for Indiana en route to Sunday’s showdown with Miami, in the Pacers’ 115-86 win. The Magic have lost five home games by at least 25 this season. Season tickets next year better be heavily discounted at Amway Center. … Boston bent but didn’t break to beat Atlanta, 107-102, in OT. The C’s 12-point lead in the fourth disappeared like Patrick Swayze in Ghost before Paul Pierce found room baseline, found himself surrounded by the entire Hawks roster, and hit Jason Terry for the win-sealing triple. Terry might still have a few big shots left in him yet. … Dallas beat Detroit, 102-99 and Memphis beat Cleveland 103-92 in other action. … We’re out like Utah’s grip on a playoff spot.
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