Just when we were set to believe in Atlanta, they collapsed, fell apart, couldn’t make a free throw and now everyone in Chicago is probably sending Jeff Teague thank you cards. Derrick Rose reached out and ripped out the Hawks’ heart before Luol Deng put the winning touches on top in the Bulls huge come-from-behind win (the Hawks led by 19) at home against Atlanta, 76-74. How did the final few possessions go? It was a lot of Rose vs. Teague. First, with about a minute left, the MVP blew by Teague and nearly elevated to Mars at the rim. After the Hawks’ point forced Rose (30 points, seven assists) into an ugly miss on Chicago’s next possession, Teague came down and with tap water in his veins, missed both freebies. So just to rub it in, Rose came down and sped past Teague again to score at the rim. After Al Horford made just one of two free throws to tie it (Why couldn’t the ATL make a damn free throw?), Deng (21 points, eight rebounds) scored on a fabulous out-of-bounds playcall before Joe Johnson (3-for-17 for 10 points) shot an air ball at the buzzer to end it. Did we mention the Bulls’ color guy is former player Stacey King, and on every Rose bucket he was screaming “TOO BIG, TOO STRONG, TOO FAST, TOO GOOD!!!” Unbelievable ending to a great game… except King had to screw it up a second time with this: “DRIVE HOME SAFELY!! BEEP BEEP!!” … Once late in the fourth, Josh Smith hit a moonshot from out near the arc. A few possessions later, he tried again and missed. That got Ernie Johnson to say in the studio, “The problem with Josh Smith, when he hits a couple of shots he thinks he can hit MORE.” At least Smith (15 points, 14 rebounds) responded to that call with a big lob at the rim in the final minute … Kobe Bryant must’ve heard all of us complaining. After another dismal first half that had everyone complaining for Bean to pass the ball to Andrew Bynum – who was mashing people inside the paint – Bryant exploded in the second half with rainbow fallaways and muscling in post-up shots in the Lakers’ 108-99 win over Houston. After another slow start, Bryant finished up 14-for-29 from the field for 37 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He had Chase Budinger wishing he chose volleyball and Kyle Lowry in the chamber taking bullets from every one of Bryant’s moves. While the second half was an offensive clinic, the first half had Andrew Bynum ready to throwdown. At the break, Bynum (who had 12 points and 14 rebounds by the half before finishing the night with the first 20/20 game of his career, 21 points, 22 rebounds) rushed off the court, ripping his jersey out of his waist like someone just stole his spot in the kickball line at gym class. He was HEATED. At one point in the first half, Houston went on a 17-6 run where for the majority of it, Luis Scola (20 points) was their biggest player. Do the Lakers get enjoyment out of playing keepaway from Bynum? Chandler Parsons & briefly, Kyle Lowry, tried to check him and yet he rarely touched the ball. We’re sorry Kobe fans, but you know you’re shooting too much and struggling when the Laker play-by-play guys begin calling your shots “inventions.” In the end on this night, Bryant and Bynum were both just too good … By the way, Lowry had 22, 10 and nine, and no one cared… AGAIN. He can’t catch a break … Keep reading to hear what the new best team in the West did last night…
LaMarcus Aldridge better make the All-Star Game this year. He was the best player on the court with 30 points and eight rebounds in Portland’s convincing 103-93 win in OKC. Aldridge dunked, hit jumpers and spearheaded an all-around attack that’s becoming a staple in Portland. Nic Batum was an assassin in the final frame, hitting two threes from almost the exact same spot on the wing to push the lead up to 10. He also had a couple of nice defensive plays, once blocking Russell Westbrook (22 points, eight dimes) right at the rim … Kevin Durant had a dope LeBron-like chasedown block. That was about the only thing he did well in his second straight weak game (8-for-26, 19 points) … Looking at the West, do you think the 4-1 Blazers are the best team right now? … Without Zach Randolph, Memphis played their best game of the season, destroying Sacramento by 17 in a game that was never really in doubt. The Grizzlies are piling up bodies this year like the Persians in 300, but Mike Conley (14 points, seven assists, four steals) returned in this one to key a bench that somehow dropped 54 points. Rudy Gay dropped 23 of his own for Memphis. Meanwhile, the Kings need to stop messing around and give our man Isaiah Thomas (15 points, five rebounds in 16 minutes) more run … In our rookie report of the top 10 rookies in the league so far, Cleveland had two guys make the list and they both showed out again last night. Tristan Thompson went for 16 points and nine rebounds whereas our newest cover boy, Kyrie Irving, dropped 20 points and six dimes, missing only two shots all night in Cleveland’s 115-101 win over Charlotte. In case you’re into trying to say Irving isn’t even the best point guard in his class (Not sure where this junk came from), Kemba Walker played 12 minutes and made one shot. Cleveland is now surprisingly 3-2, the first time they’ve been over .500 since the very beginning of last season … And don’t look now, but Brandon Jennings was the leading fourth quarter scorer in the league, Jennings was shooting 46 percent from the field, Jennings was s… oh wait, never mind. Last night in Utah’s 85-73 win over the Bucks, Jennings shot 4-for-19 from the field – many of them completely off-balance and forced, finishing with eight points. Al Jefferson‘s 26 and 10 helped the Jazz offset Drew Gooden (24 and 12) turning into a player … We’re out like Chris Webber‘s hipster glasses.
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