Steve Blake offensive rebounds. Pau-to-Dwight lobs. Kobe Bryant M-V-P chants reverberating through the arena. With the way the Lakers’ 113-106 win in Portland ended, you would’ve thought all was right for L.A. They had finally held off the hot-shooting Blazers, going on a 17-2 run to start the second half and then an 8-0 run in the middle of the fourth before putting the clamps on Portland for the final five minutes. Bryant had been masterful, finishing with 47 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, and three or four shots that probably saved the Lakers’ season. And the Lakers now sit at 42-37 with three games left, a full game ahead of the Jazz (Utah owns the tiebreaker). Yet it was more difficult than it should’ve been. … Kobe had 28 points by the half, but was getting eaten alive by Damian Lillard (38 points, nine assists, one “that boy is serious” quote from Bryant) on the other end, who nearly matched him with 25. We couldn’t have been the only ones saying the Lakers just don’t deserve to make the playoffs if they can’t stop a terrible Blazers team that’s fallen off the map over the past month. L.A. gave up 41 in the first quarter and 69 in the first half. Perfect example of their ineptitude: with around two seconds left on the clock before the break, Portland had the ball on a side out-of-bounds. Pau Gasol (23 points, nine assists) gave up an easy lob to LaMarcus Aldridge (17 points, 16 rebounds) like this was the fourth game in five days of a road trip in December. Then, Jodie Meeks gets the inbounds pass and doesn’t shoot it to protect his shooting percentage. Did he realize this was do or die? … Doesn’t look like Denver will miss Gallinari all that much. In a 10-point win over San Antonio, Wilson Chandler started and dropped 29 points and eight boards, while Corey Brewer added 28 off the pine. Even Andre Iguodala racked up a triple-double (12 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists). But the best part of the night? JaVale McGee blocked three shots in the first quarter, and on every one of them, we were scared they’d ricochete somewhere and knock someone out. It felt like he was taking batting practice. … Andre Iguodala is also pretty pissed Diddy is dating Kate Upton. (Diddy denies that they’re together) … Andre Drummond gave Cleveland a taste of what happens when he gets starter minutes. The rook dropped 29 points, 11 boards and had one baseline hammer that nearly took off Tristan Thompson‘s (19 points, eight rebounds) head. Detroit took the W in this one by seven after the Cavs’ last chance ended when Kyrie Irving (27 points, nine assists) took a page out of Tony Romo‘s book and fumbled the ball away. … Joining Cody Zeller (and many others) in the NBA Draft this summer will be Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams. He’s a projected lottery pick. It’ll be interesting to see how his game translates to the next level. He’s not a great athlete, doesn’t do anything spectacularly. He’s just a solid, all-around player. The biggest question mark? Defense. Because of that 2-3 zone, we have no idea if he can check the best lead guards in the NBA or if he’ll be turned into skid marks. … Keep reading to hear the reason why John Wall has been so good over the past month…
With the Big Three out, Ray Allen came to Miami’s aid last night, rescuing them in the fourth quarter of a close game in Washington. The Wizards actually came into this one having won nine in a row at home, and had the lead until a 12-0 Heat run in the final frame restored order. Jesus scored 11 of his 23 in the last 12 minutes, pushing Miami to its 62nd win of the season. That’s a franchise record. … We found out what magic superstar potion John Wall‘s (17 points, nine boards, 11 dimes) been sipping on over the past month. After a February loss in Detroit, Wall and Emeka Okafor snapped at each other, with the big man basically telling him he had to step his s— up. Wall admitted to The Wall Street Journal that it hurt at first, but he took it to heart. Now he’s playing like an All-Star. The Wizards should trade for Beasley, then give him the locker right next to Okafor. …. Orlando took out the Bucks in overtime last night, 113-103, in a game that had one of the craziest ends to regulation that we’ve seen in a while. Milwaukee had the game in hand before Monta Ellis (21 points, seven boards, 11 assists) left the door open by missing two of four freebies. So down three with 9.8 seconds left, Tobias Harris caught it, crossed Marquis Daniels out of his dreadlocks, and as Daniels was fouling him (way too late), Harris was canning a triple with 1.9 seconds left. Over, right? Well Harris, going up against the team that gave up on him this year, had T-Rex arms on the second free throw, leaving it short and setting up overtime. Despite putting up 30 points and 19 rebounds, the game didn’t end on a high note for Harris. Up eight in overtime, the two teams played volleyball on the backboards before Harris finally wrestled away the board. Everyone stopped — there was less than 10 seconds left and the game was obviously over — but Harris took off in a full-on sprint as if he was Yohan Blake. He finished it off with a dunk, then pumped his chest, flexed his muscles and somewhere Ricky Davis was probably hitting the DVR button and clapping from his couch. Mike Dunleavy came in and gave him a nice little pop on the shoulder, earning a few moments of the dreaded “everyone hold each other back because we might just fight” confrontation. … Nikola Vucevic finished with 30 points, and gobbled up 20 boards (second-straight game with 20/30/5… first time that’s happened since Tim Duncan did it a decade ago). He’s like a Hungry Hungry Hippo. But John Henson might’ve matched him: 25 boards and seven blocks. … Josh Smith unleashed a 28-point, 12-rebound dinner plate, and the Hawks roughed up Philly, 124-101. At this point, everyone knows Philly sucks, and some people involved with the Sixers are getting bored. Philly media and bloggers have been crucifying their Twitter account for a few weeks now because it is so bad, and posts a lot of stuff that is just… wrong. Last night, Thaddeus Young had 28 points and eight boards, and unleashed one jam that the Twitter account called “an extra mean monkey dunk!” Apparently, that’s what Thad Young calls it, but they got ripped for it and then eventually deleted the tweet. … In other scores from last night: Deron Williams continued his post-All-Star explosion, destroying Boston for 29 points and 12 assists in Brooklyn’s eight-point win; Phoenix probably put Dallas’ season to bed with a 102-91 win in Texas, getting 21 points and 13 assists from Goran Dragic; Sacramento beat New Orleans by 11 as John Salmons led the way with 22 points; and the Clippers took care of Minnesota by 16 as seven players scored in double-figures. … We’re out like Dunleavy the enforcer.
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