LeBron Runs Through L.A.; Paul Pierce Won’t Let Boston Lose

LeBron James is becoming his own hyperbole, his game better than anything performed at the Grammys on Sunday night. The real show has become what King James is doing every game, so fine tuned is his game right now with his fifth 30-point and 60-percent shooting game in a row. The Lakers held tough and made the game interesting, and Kobe kept up his end of the deal with 28 points, six boards and nine dimes in Miami’s 107-97 win. Dwyane Wade was indispensable in this one, too, with 30 points and an up-and-under fast-break dunk over Dwight Howard that looked more like “old Dwyane” than almost anything he’s done this year after offseason knee surgery. He deserved all the attention from Kobe guarding him nearly the entire time, leaving Metta World Peace to stay on the island no person wants to visit: guarding LeBron (32 points, seven boards, four assists). In a couple notable stretches, James took MWP’s odd open stance and ran to the rim for an and-one with five seconds left on the shot clock, then did the same the next time down as the third quarter ended. When he missed a free throw, the ball got popped out to LBJ for a cold-blooded three. You knew it then this game was over… or maybe it was Norris Cole‘s impossibly high, over-the-shoulder oop to James in the open court — he jumped from about 12 feet out — that did it. It’s all starting to blend together. … Someone has emerged in every win since Rajon Rondo went down for Boston, and Sunday it was Paul Pierce‘s time. The Truth had an amazing night with 27 points, 14 boards, 14 dimes, a three to send the game into 3OT and a 118-114 triple OT win that broke Denver’s nine-game win streak. This is the team that will not die right now. Jason Terry, after one of his worst starts to a season, stroked with 26 points, and KG had 20 and 18 boards. Will the All-Star break help or hurt this team’s momentum? … Andre Miller is usually the Nugs’ closer but he let Terry steal the ball from him in the final minute, then went for the game-winning three (CLANK) with about 13 seconds left. That couldn’t have been the play drawn up. … The sure sign of how good of a Sunday it was is knowing Carmelo Anthony‘s 42-point night is the third game mentioned. He lost to the Clippers 102-88 after Chris Paul (25 points) shook the rust off and Blake Griffin (17 and 17) treated Madison Square Garden like a SlamBall arena with a couple of seismic dunks. The Tribe Called Bench is slowing reforming into its old self, as evidence by Jamal Crawford getting 27 points, and five reserves having a plus/minus of at least plus-10 (no LAC starter was better than plus-five). … Hit the jump to read about the best point guard of the night …

Is Tony Parker playing the best basketball by a point guard right now? We’re tempted to say yes. Kyrie is still the most exciting point guard to watch but TP has eliminated any discernible gap between his best, worst and average performances. He’s played lights out when Tim Duncan isn’t in the lineup as it was Sunday in San Antonio’s 111-86 rout job of the Nets. Parker responded with 29 points and 11 dimes. He carved up Brooklyn after the Nets were up six at half and had their guards playing just as well as TP in the first half. Then, Parker simply went off, leading the Spurs on a 10-0 start to the second half, playing with a vengeance like it was Drake and Chris Brown in the opposing backcourt, not Deron Williams and Joe Johnson (19 points). … Portland pulled off the ignominious feat of allowing two teams to end 12-game losing streaks against it this season, first by Washington, now by Orlando, 110-104. The Magic knew Portland’s rotations better than the Trail Blazers and zipped into the lane with little obstacle. The Blazers also shot themselves in the foot, as judged by Damian Lillard’s 1-of-16 shooting (on the bright side, he did have 12 dimes). LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and six boards but was outdueled by, uh, Gustavo Ayon‘s 16 points, 11 boards and six dimes. … Facing a team like Phoenix meant Oklahoma City could test its players not named Kevin Durant (18 points) and Russell Westbrook, who put up 24 points but played barely more than a half in OKC’s 97-69 win. So Thabo Sefolosha hit five threes and had 20 points. Phoenix also used the predictable beatdown to use Kendall Marshall (7 points) as a starter in the second half alongside Goran Dragic (6 points), which was an interesting look, if not effective. We would have switched roles and put Marshall at point, and Dragic at two — the UNC rook isn’t the creating type off the dribble and his playmaking was clearly forced. Markieff Morris had 12 points to lead the Suns and managed to not be dunked on … Toronto’s first unit was much better than New Orleans’ and then the Raptors’ bench blew it all away by the half like an overconfident rook at the blackjack table. Seeing as how the Raptors either give leads back late or get screwed by refs this season, you can be sure Dwane Casey came unhinged. Funny thing was, bench point John Lucas won it all back in the fourth, getting 10 of his 19 points as Toronto won, 102-89. Rudy Gay got 20 as well. … In other games, Sacramento rallied from 10 down to beat Houston, 117-111, thanks to 23 each from Isaiah Thomas and John Salmons; and Minnesota coach Rick Adelman arrived at his team’s game at Memphis halfway through the fourth quarter when his flight was delayed (he was home with his ailing wife an extra day). Though both teams are in disarray owing to finances or injuries, the Griz won 105-88. … We’re out like LeBron’s missed shots.

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