LeBron Unleashes the Beast on the Raptors; The Lakers Lose Dwight Howard

You know you have a good team when you can withstand five three-pointers from Jose Calderon, 36 combined points off the bench from a journeyman (Alan Anderson) and a rookie (Terrence Ross), and a turnover and missed shot from LeBron in the final minute. The Heat somehow did it, going to overtime with Toronto before scoring 11 straight points as LeBron James started hitting the boards with the wrath of God. James’ triple-double (31 points, 10 boards, 11 dimes) and Dwyane Wade‘s best scoring night of the season (35 points) saved the Heat. The Raptors had numerous opportunities to win this one, yet in the end, James and Wade were just a little too good … LeBron’s play in the extra session made up for what he did at the end of regulation. To recap that failure: first, he came off a pick-n-roll with the score tied in the last minute and threw it to the lady made of silicone in the front row. Then on the last possession, James dribbled around for 19 seconds before missing a weak pull-up jumper at the buzzer … Is there a way we can force Terrence Ross into the slam dunk contest? Ross had another highlight last night that scared some of the women and children on the baseline … Matching up Denver’s penchant for getting into the lane and scoring with the Rockets’ unfamiliarity with a thing known as “defense” and it wasn’t a surprise to see the Nuggets turn the third quarter into their own layup drill. They won the game, 105-95, and went on a 22-7 third quarter run to blow it open behind Ty Lawson (21 points) and, surprisingly, Wilson Chandler (20 points) …. For your nightly JaVale McGee highlight/lowlight: near the end of the third quarter, McGee pulled off an up-and-under in the lane, finishing with a lob to himself off the glass. It might’ve been the nastiest highlight of the season … Are the Wizards finally learning how to play real basketball? They lost last night in Utah, but they came all the way back from more than 20 points down in one of the toughest arenas to play in, and did it despite Nene shooting 3-for-14. Paul Millsap (16 points, 15 rebounds) was the best player on the floor all night. Fittingly, he made the baseline jumper that iced it in the last minute of Utah’s four-point win … In other scores from last night, Golden State came from behind to win another close game, 104-99, this time over Oklahoma City. Stephen Curry (31 points, seven dimes, the biggest steal of the game in the closing moments) and David Lee (22 points, 12 boards) got it done against Kevin Durant (33 points, nine assists), much of it having to do with Russell Westbrook (3-for-16 shooting) throwing up a terrible game; LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 to lead everyone during Portland’s surprising 20-point smackdown of the Pacers; and in Phoenix’s 106-96 win over the Kings, Luis Scola had 21 points and seven boards … Keep reading to hear about the fun point guard matchup that went down in San Antonio last night …

By the time Darrell Arthur (20 points, nine boards) started rumbling all over the Lakers front line while Jerryd Bayless was putting down vicious baseline tomahawks, Kobe Bryant looked like he was ready to go all Vlad the Impaler on the refs. His frustration is ready to boil over, and you could feel it (and see it) as Memphis dominated the Lakers, 106-93. If the Lakers don’t start playing better defense – the Grizz set up camp in the paint, and then brought in a few couches and a big screen TV, too – and rebounding more – the Grizz won that battle as well, 52-34 – you can put L.A.’s season in a coffin … In the second quarter, Dwight Howard re-aggravated his right shoulder, and didn’t return. No word yet on how long he’ll be out. But it does mean he’s averaging two points and two rebounds on the season since according to him, the season was beginning for real yesterday … How much you want to bet this scene went down on the Lakers plane last night: Pau Gasol orders dinner, and Kobe (29 points) walks by, knocks his plate over and tells him to go sit at the kiddie table, like that scene straight out of Four Brothers … Down in Texas, the Hornets’ color guy David Wesley said it best – “they just let go of the rope.” New Orleans was hanging on in San Antonio until the last five minutes. From that point on, the Spurs feasted off the young team’s mistakes, converting everything into easy layups at the other end. It went from a one-possession game to a 12-point lead faster than you can say “New Orleans Pelicans.” Yet for the most part in the Spurs’ four-point win, New Orleans played them even. Up until about two months ago, would anyone have guessed Tony Parker versus Greivis Vasquez would make for prime time TV? General Greivis hit a number of big shots to keep it close in the fourth quarter while finishing with 15 points and 11 assists. They also threw this stat out last night: Vasquez has five games this year with 20 points, 10 dimes and five boards. LeBron is the only other one in the league who’s done it as much … But Parker (24 points, 13 dimes) taught New Orleans’ point a few tricks in the fourth quarter, scoring six straight on Vasquez at one point, and having his hand in multiple fast-break leak-outs for San Antonio … It’s not all bad for the Hornets. Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that when the team becomes the Pelicans, they’ll take on blue, gold and red as their colors. Wait, did we say it wasn’t all bad? Never mind … In other major story lines from last night: Atlanta took out the Bobcats by 12 behind an unbelievable night from Josh Smith (30 points, 13 rebounds, eight dimes); while Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey both had great looks at tying triples in the final seconds in Chicago, but neither one of them fell. The Bulls survived, 85-82, behind “the Kobe Stopper” – Jimmy Butler (18 points, nine boards); and Brook Lopez‘s 22 points powered Brooklyn to another win, 91-83 over the T’Wolves … Meanwhile in college hoops, No. 1 Duke got absolutely destroyed by Miami, 90-63. They scored just 19 points in the first half, and gave up 25 to Durand Scott. It was the third-worst defeat ever for a top-ranked team … We’re out like Dwight Howard.

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