Coming into a meaningful matchup with OKC, the Lakers were 1-9 against the top four seeds in the West, and 1-10 on the road against the top eight in the West. Maybe they saw a performance like last night coming? They looked rattled and nervous, like a bunch of freshmen making their first start in a JV game. The Lakers fell behind 10-1 before Kendrick Perkins even had a chance to scowl. Serge Ibaka was playing volleyball at the rim on defense, and L.A. was busy overworking the front of the rim. Kobe Bryant (30 points) left quickly after suffering an ulnar nerve contusion in the first quarter, but came back just in time to watch Russell Westbrook (37 points, 10 rebounds) chew up and spit out L.A.’s batch of overmatched point guards. Westbrook had an animalistic rage going on in the first half, and it was so overpowering that it somehow affected Steve Nash‘s game. We know it’s not P.C. to criticize Nash, but he couldn’t make a shot nor was he offering any resistance on the other end. After a five-point spurt from Kevin Durant (26 points, nine boards) to go into the break, OKC had put up their highest-scoring first quarter and highest-scoring first half of the season … While Nash (20 points) eventually discovered his legs somewhere in the locker room, and led a third quarter charge that shrunk an 18-point deficit to just 97-89 to start the fourth, what the hell was up with Dwight Howard? He finished with 16 rebounds but most of them were ones that fell into his lap. He also made one shot all night. One. Look for him to make a celebrity appearance on the next missing person episode of Law & Order. In the end, OKC tied a NBA record with only two turnovers, and the Lakers couldn’t make any shots during the final five minutes, losing 122-105 … Westbrook put a flurry of moves on Kobe during one third quarter possession that would’ve turned a regular person’s leg ligaments into Play-doh. Isolated at the top of the key, he drove right, pulled it back through his legs and then hit Bryant with a hesitation. In the blink of an eye he was drawing a foul at the rim, and Kobe was flat-footed 15 feet from the hoop … Derek Fisher scored 10 against his old pals, his first points with the Thunder … Despite 32 off the pine from Marcus Thornton, Denver finished off the Kings, 120-113. Ty Lawson led the way with 24, and Kenneth Faried mashed up Sacramento’s frontline for 19 and 12. That’s six wins in a row for the Nuggets … And apparently, even before Carmelo Anthony left New York’s game in Cleveland on Monday night, he had asked Mike Woodson to take him out. The dude has a sore knee that the coach called “alarming,” and it’s shaping up to be terrible timing. New York goes to Denver next Wednesday. Anthony better be ready to play. Outside of Pacquiao/Mayweather, there’s nothing we’d rather see … Keep reading to hear what Paul Pierce compared his new injury to…
We can argue for days about whether or not Boston is better without Rajon Rondo, but there’s no doubt his injury pushed Avery Bradley into more responsibility. He’s responding too. In Boston’s 109-101 W in Philly last night, while Jrue Holiday was wearing Bradley like a sweater on one end, the Celtics guard was stroking it like Mark Price on the other end. Bradley made nine of his first 10 shots from the field, and finished the night with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Yeah, most of them were the worst shot you can possibly take (long two-pointers), but progress is progress … The Sixers had one nice stretch of offense the entire night – an 8-0 run to end the third – but other than that it was ugly. Their offense is the worst thing we’ve seen since BrÃ¼no. During the second quarter, they had shots that weren’t even close, Dorell Wright was throwing it to the wrong team, and then Lavoy Allen was missing layups. That helped fuel Boston’s 13-0 spurt, which was also spearheaded by Paul Pierce. The Truth has been dealing with a neck stinger that he described as a fly buzzing around your head when you’re trying to eat cereal in the morning. We’ve never heard that one before, but it seemed someone killed that fly last night: Pierce had 18, and was taking target practice all night (4-for-4 from deep) … Charles Barkley said at halftime last night that he’d give money this summer to Greg Oden rather than Andrew Bynum, mostly because Oden will be much less expensive but also because he has a little more to prove. Chuck also said Serge Ibaka should’ve been suspended for three games for his punch at Blake Griffin‘s man region because he hit “three parts” so maybe he was just in the mood to crack weird/dirty jokes … In college hoops, No. 14 Ohio State came up with their signature win of the season, 67-58 in the house of No. 2 Indiana. The Hoosiers were never able to get Ohio State uncomfortable, were never able to push the tempo. Deshaun Thomas dropped 18 points, and Aaron Craft (15 points) controlled the pace … We kept waiting on Victor Oladipo (seven points, six rebounds) to turn it up. He had been averaging over 20 against Indiana’s top opponents, and he always rises to the challenge. It didn’t happen against the Buckeyes, but it’s the main reason why we think he’ll be a factor in the NBA. After watching him a few times live in high school, he looked like an average D1 player. Now, he’s one of the best in the nation. The dude is a warrior. It doesn’t hurt that he jumps through the roof either … And did you see what went down during the Notre Dame/St. John’s game? … We’re out like ‘Melo.
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook