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Kobe Bryant Passes 30,000 Career NBA Points; J.R. Smith Hits A Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater

They said they were going to stop the game in New Orleans once Kobe Bryant hit 30,000 career points. He did that just before the end of the first half, going off the dribble and hitting a running floater over Robin Lopez. But the game never ceased, and Bryant – fittingly, as always – didn’t stop either. He hit three more free throws in the final minute of the half to add to his total. The 30,000-point club also includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. How would you rate that five? We’d go MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Kobe and then Malone. Not a bad five … Overall, Kobe scored 29 points on only 17 shots in the Lakers’ easy 100-87 thumping of The Team That’ll Eventually Be The Pelicans. Ryan Anderson was on fire, scoring 31, but New Orleans went nearly six minutes to start the second half without scoring a point, and then didn’t hack Dwight Howard (18 points) quite enough to come back …When Chris Duhon (ten assists) is an upgrade at the starting point guard slot, then you know you have a problem. Naming the ten worst Lakers point guards of the past decade is easier than pointing out the ten worst hip-hop singles to come out of Atlanta … Speaking of the ATL, the Hawks are somehow now 10-5 on the year after holding off Denver, 108-104. Al Horford blew up inside, scoring 25 and cleaning the glass a dozen times. Ty Lawson (32 points, seven assists) was phenomenal all night until the last minute. Down two in the closing seconds, Lawson lost the dribble attempting to go one-on-one, and Josh Smith (16 points, 13 rebounds) took it the other way for an and-one dunk. Then Lawson later sealed Denver’s fate after losing the rock off a dribble drive. Despite that, isn’t it a little strange that Lawson and Jeff Teague have literally the same exact numbers across the board this year? No one saw that coming, and last night, the UNC product had the Wake Forest product looking like a D-III product. It was a complete mismatch. Is Lawson underachieving this season or Teague overachieving? … Andre Iguodala shot like Andre Iguodala (2-for-10, five points), but he also dunked like him too. Get out of the way next time, Smoove … It’s getting to be panic time in Dallas as their slide to mediocrity continued in a 22-point blowout loss against the Clippers … After watching Lamar Odom stink up the joint for a few minutes in the second quarter, the Clippers went back to Jamal Crawford (20 points) and he delivered a move that went something like this: behind-the-back, fake no-look, then lob over his head to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk … Did anyone else think it was weird that Derek Fisher (15 points) received a standing ovation when he was introduced last night? Even though it was L.A., he’s never played for the Clippers, he was playing for the opponents, and back in the day was normally a big part of one of the Clippers’ most hated rivals. Not everyone can be as juiced to see him play this year as Magic Johnson is, who lost his mind for a second in the pregame show and said, “This next game is going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing Chris Paul against… Derek Fisher.” … There was a Marco Belinelli sighting in Chicago last night during the Bulls’ 95-85 win over Cleveland. Belinelli balled out like it was the 2007 NBA Summer League all over again, scoring 23 points, and Luol Deng added 22 to pace Chicago to another ugly win … And the Spurs took Milwaukee’s best shot in the first half, and then Tony Parker (22 points, ten dimes), Gary Neal (22 points) and co. skinned them alive in the final 24 minutes, running away with a 110-99 W … Get this: before last night, Larry Sanders had blocked 22 shots in his last three games. Not surprisingly, the Spurs got him into early foul trouble, and he played just 17 minutes, finishing with only one denial … Keep reading to hear about the crazy finish in Charlotte …

Basketball fans everywhere have been waiting years for J.R. Smith to finally put all that talent together. At this point, it’s probably never going to happen. That doesn’t mean he’s not an exciting player. Far from it. Last night’s 100-98 New York win in Charlotte was a perfect reminder of that. With the score tied in the final seconds, Smith (13 points) and Raymond Felton (17 points, nine dimes) created a turnover and got out on the break. Smith, who obviously didn’t know the score, went out to the three-point line and acted like he wanted to run the clock out. Jason Kidd had to start Krumping to save his ass, getting the officials’ attention for a timeout. Smith responded by coming out and drilling a game-winning fadeaway at the buzzer, then mean-mugging like he planned to do that all along. Outside of Smith’s brain fart, New York’s offense down the stretch was phenomenal. Whether it was Tyson Chandler (18 points, 17 rebounds) dunks, Felton floaters or Steve Novak triples, the Knicks got whatever they wanted. Ironically, the only person who couldn’t score was Carmelo Anthony (1-for-11 in the second half, 23 points for the game), and he’d ultimately leave with a lacerated hand after diving into his own bench for a loose ball … Kemba Walker might’ve turned into a superhero on this night, finishing with 25 points, 11 dimes, and two or three unexplainable buckets at the rim, but even he couldn’t stop the Bobcats from morphing into idiots during crunch time. Charlotte had three or four straight screw-ups: Walker tried to split a double and nearly lost the ball, Ben Gordon (17 points) had three stupid turnovers… getting a five-second violation, traveling and also throwing the ball away, and everyone else in white and ugly blue couldn’t make a shot, anyway. If Gordon was as good in real life as he is in video games, the Bobcats would be a dangerous playoff team …. In other story lines from last night: Damian Lillard won the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month award, and then went out and dropped 23 points and six assists, and yet still lost by seven to the Pacers because Paul George (22 points, eight boards) had another spectacular night; Kevin Garnett‘s 18 points and ten rebounds powered Boston to a 10-point win at home against the T’Wolves; Golden State is now 11-7 after Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee combined for 69 points in a 104-97 win over the surprisingly hot Pistons; Utah rode 31 points and 15 boards from Al Jefferson to a 87-81 victory over the Magic; and both DeMarcus Cousins (25 points, 13 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (34 points, 11 assists) battled in Sacramento’s 107-100 win over the Raptors … We’re out like any Lawson/Teague comparisons.

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