Lakers and Suns Stage an Epic 3OT Shootout; Derrick Rose Unleashes Hell on the Hawks

Breathe. Put the pacemakers back in place and relax. Chris Webber wanted to thank the Basketball Gods for blessing us with that epic Lakers/Suns game that went deep into Tuesday night. You should too … Where do we start in the Lakers triple OT 139-137 win? How about clutch free throws and buckets. Crazy passes in pressure situations. Ron Artest. There’s no way that wasn’t one of the top five games of the year. In the end, it came down to a couple of Kobe Bryant (42 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) and Artest (18 points) shots that extended the Lakers just beyond Steve Nash (19 points, 20 assists) and the Suns. Kobe hit a three, then Artest stuffed a dunk before hitting a wild floater to put L.A. up five in the third overtime … The first half of the game was typical for this rivalry: big Suns’ runs because of lazy L.A. defense, followed by the Lakers getting enough easy layups to stay close. But the third quarter turned into a personal showcase for the best team in the league (they’re the champs until someone officially takes them out). Offensively, the Lakers were rolling. Defensively, they turned Phoenix into Wofford and L.A. was up as much as 20 points in the period … Honestly, without Steve Nash, we aren’t sure if the Suns would’ve scored the entire quarter. He hit threes. He fed the big men. He ignited a comeback that no one saw coming, bringing the Suns all the way back to within one point in the fourth quarter. And this guy was supposed to be injured? Still, it ended up in Vince Carter’s (7-23 FGA) hands for the last shot and he missed to end regulation. Then down three in the first overtime, Channing Frye (32 points, 14 rebounds) made three straight free throws to tie it before Lamar Odom’s (29 points, 16 rebounds) jumper missed, sending it to a second overtime. There, two Pau Gasol (24 points, 13 rebounds) free throws with 2.5 seconds left finally brought it to the final five-minute period … That’s now a 13-1 record since the All-Star break for the Lakers … Derrick Rose can hear you. He hears everything you say, everything you type. And he’s not happy. At all. And he took it out on the Hawks last night … Maybe one day, Atlanta will become that snarling, selfless, beast of a team that their talent level indicates they could be. But take their embarrassment against the Bulls last night and you could say this is by far the most disappointing team in the league. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe Chicago is just that good. Rose led the destruction of Atlanta 114-81 with a stat line of 30 points, 10 assists, and a career-high six threes. He took seven shots in the game’s first eight minutes, obviously feeling disrespected by the sight of Kirk Hinrich checking him. Hinrich isn’t a bad defender, but should probably check his Rec Specs because Rose was whipping by him. At the start of the second quarter, it got beyond ugly. Kyle Korver was lighting up threes, C.J. Watson was reversing and even Omer Asik was bringing the thunder, putting Chicago up 22. In the final minute of the first half, Rose was up top bobbing and weaving, going back and forth through the legs like he was Syk Wit It, then spun off his man and found Luol Deng (27 points) for a layup. To end the half, Rose came down, sized Hinrich up and wetted a three right in his face … So in the last two nights, the Bulls have won twice by a combined 73 points … As bad as Atlanta played in the first half, the hometown crowd didn’t seem to care. There were less boos for the Hawks than there were cheers for Chicago … Brent Barry talked about it at halftime: if you jump on the Hawks’ necks, they will fold. They did it in the playoffs last season against Orlando and they’ve done it multiple times at home this year. Is there anyone surprised by the way their season is ending? They are like the worst game of Jenga … Portland might’ve blown out the Wizards by 35 behind Gerald Wallace (28 points), but JaVale McGee had a block on Wesley Matthews’ dunk attempt during the second quarter where Matthews went up with his right hand on the baseline and McGee met him at the top, literally taking the ball away with one arm. It could’ve been the block of the year … We’re out like pelvic instability.