DimeMag

Lakers get mauled by Grizzlies; Rajon Rondo returns for Celtics

The last time the Grizzlies played the Lakers at the Staples Center, Rudy Gay quietly tortured Ron Artest while the rest of his team was dominated in every phase of the game. Last night, Rudy dropped buckets on Ron-Ron again, but his teammates backed him up while handing L.A. an embarrassing 19-point blowout loss where the home team got booed … After missing his last game with a stomach flu, Gay (27 pts, 3 stls) was making the Lakers sick on Sunday. He gave ’em the full repertoire of inside, mid-range and outside shots, then punctuated it in the fourth quarter with transition dunks that hurt the rim. Artest had his hands so full defensively that he only managed to take two shots and was non-existent in L.A.’s offense … The box score says Kobe Bryant (28 pts) shot the ball 22 times and no one else on the Lakers had more than 9 attempts. But that didn’t speak as loudly as Phil Jackson, whose post-game press conference was full of subtle and blatant criticisms of his superstar: (1) “Trying to do too much with the basketball is basically what we’re trying to do. Teams are double-teaming, coming to help, we have to move the ball.” (2) “The game got to a point where we didn’t use our strength, which is our inside players.” (3) “Tonight Kobe screwed up the game by giving his energy to going one-on-one.” Do with it what you will … Rajon Rondo returned to the Celtics lineup against Toronto. Five minutes in, he pulled off his signature behind-the-back fake to freeze Jose Calderon and drop in a layup, and all day Rondo (4 pts, 8 asts) showed the difference between simply passing the ball and actually making plays happen … It also didn’t hurt Boston that Paul Pierce was making everything he threw up. Pierce (30 pts) knocked down three treys and some circus shots, and delivered a double facial on Amir Johnson and Joey Dorsey. Pierce’s only misstep came in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, when he went up for a dagger breakaway dunk and came down limping on his ankle …

Some of the Dime crew was at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks’ win over the Pacers. Walking into the Indiana locker room, it was strange to see Jim O’Brien sitting in the middle of the room breaking down film. Ninety percent of the time when you go to an NBA locker room for pre-game media interviews, the vets and the head coach are either hiding in the trainer’s room or nowhere to be found. Yet there was O’Brien sitting front and center, rarely moving during the 45 minutes the media was allowed inside … Ray Felton‘s warm-up iPod mix: Birdman‘s “Fire Flame,” Lil Wayne‘s “6 Foot 7 Foot” and Wiz Khalifa‘s “Black And Yellow” … If NBA teams had a beer pong tournament, the Pacers would have to be the favorite: Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts, Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough? They should start their own fraternity … The most points ever scored by a Pacer on the Knicks is 47 by Chuck Person. And you know Reggie Miller rained terror on NY for years. Danny Granger isn’t on that level yet, but he does kind of own the Knicks. In three matchups last season he averaged 29.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists. On Sunday, Danny Buckets had 25 points and 17 boards, but his team fell short … The difference between the old Knicks and the new Knicks is that they have a closer in Amar’e Stoudemire, a guy who they know they can go to for the last shot. That said, multiple times in the second half Amar’e (26 pts, 8 rebs) didn’t run back on D or run up on O. Anyone else does that in the League, they get benched. Amar’e gets “MVP” chants … Here’s something to think about: Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Jamal Crawford have accomplished more in their short time together than the original “Three J’s” — Jimmy Jackson, Jason Kidd and Jamal Mashburn in Dallas — did in their tenure. The Hawks trio have won 63 percent of their games since forming last season and made the conference semis, while the Mavs won 34 percent of their games and never sniffed the postseason during the two-and-a-half seasons their Three J’s spent together. So should we officially sign the papers to transfer ownership of the nickname? … The Atlanta J’s picked up another W yesterday, dominating the fourth quarter against the Clippers. Joe scored 29, Jamal went for 24 off the bench, and Josh added 22 points, 10 boards and 3 steals along with two huge threes down the stretch … Your contractually obligated Blake Griffin highlight: In the first quarter, Baron Davis came across the lane going left to right and threw a blind alley-oop over his shoulder to a trailing Blake for a one-hand hammer … Other stat lines from Sunday: LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Portland past Houston; Antawn Jamison put up 35 points and 10 boards, but the Cavs lost to the Mavs; and DeMarcus Cousins posted 28 points, 8 boards and 6 assists in Sacramento’s upset of Phoenix … Considering we just had New Year’s Eve in New York City — where the next morning’s subway tunnels are like an art gallery of vomit and other bodily waste, it’s no small statement to say the ugliest thing we saw all weekend was the box score from the Notre Dame vs. SE Missouri State women’s game. The Redhawks got blown out by SEVENTY-SIX points (97-21), shooting 12 percent from the field (7-for-56) and 18 percent from three (6-for-32), committing 25 turnovers versus 7 assists, and getting outrebounded 62-14 by the Irish. Gross … We’re out like NBA beer pong …

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