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The Lakers Ditch Their Coach, Then Golden State; LeBron Clinches In The Clutch

And so, curing the Lakers’ five-game start of discontent might come down to this: whose knee heals faster, Phil Jackson‘s or Mike D’Antoni‘s? In case you’ve been living under a rock you know the Lakers fired Mike Brown as head coach Friday morning, pulling him out of a coaches meeting to do so. And you know that GM Mitch Kupchak, in the hours since, has been open about contacting Jackson (who’s had lingering injuries fixed since retiring before the 2011 lockout), an event that has already happened, according to the Los Angeles Times. D’Antoni is the other supposed prime candidate, but his knee surgery won’t be fully healed until mid-December. Either way, the Princeton offense has already been ditched, even if it wasn’t the main problem. The best way to come out after that news for L.A. was to play Golden State, and the Lakers crushed, 101-77. Kobe played his best game of the season with 29 points, nine boards and seven dimes. … The entire NBA took part in an early Veterans Day celebration by wearing various American flag accessories, and for our money Vince Carter wore the stars-and-stripes headband best. DeShawn Stevenson was a close second with the “Born On The Fourth Of July” look, which kind of reminded us of Lieutenant Dan, too. … We were excited to watch Knicks-Mavs at the Garden, a statement we didn’t think we’d make about three weeks ago. Our diligence tuning in early on a 13-game schedule was rewarded when Rasheed Wallace (six points, six boards) got first-quarter burn — and when Brandan Wright leaped over ‘Sheed for a nasty facial. O.J. Mayo (23 points) was the brightest light on Broadway in the first half, but he couldn’t stop Carmelo’s 31 points in the Knicks’ 104-94 win. … The Nets absolutely bumrushed the Magic by 39 points, 107-68. Get this, Orlando — a team whose best options are Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo — just couldn’t score for chunks of the second half, first a four-minute run in the third quarter, then a three-minute drought to end the third. … Bad, bad loss for Cleveland, which despite 23 points from Dion Waiters, lost a 26-point lead to lose to Phoenix, 107-105. They were up 19 after the first quarter. Shannon Brown had 22 points, 12 in the fourth, to lead Phoenix’s well, rise. … A guard showcase between Jrue Holiday (21 points, 14 assists) and Rajon Rondo (14 points, 20 dimes) was the back-and-forth matchup of the night in Philly’s 106-100 win in Boston. Has there been a team expected to do well that’s been harder to figure out this season than Boston? … Rudy Gay‘s 21 points led Memphis over Houston, 93-85, the Grizzlies’ fourth straight win. … Tim Duncan played sensationally to get 23 and 12 over Sacramento in the Spurs’ 97-86 win. Still, one of THE highlights of the night was when Boogie Cousins (14 points) picked off Danny Green‘s pass and went the length of the court for the dunk, nearly breaking a rib of Green’s when the Spur tried to take a charge. We’ve seen snowmen fare better against snowplows than that. … Speaking of something getting knocked to the side, Detroit is still winless after a 105-94 loss to the Thunder. The Pistons managed to look worse than OKC’s alternate uni. Kevin Durant had 25 points and 13 boards. … Hit the jump to hear about LeBron’s timely fourth-quarter bucket. …

T.I. was the guest third commentator on the Hawks-Heat game in the first half, turning a surprisingly good game into a must-listen. The regular broadcast team wasn’t letting him talk hoops much, instead asking about rapping (“I have a ritual to get paid before every show and it’s working out pretty well”). T.I. loves hoops though, and you could tell he wanted to do some actual play-by-play. Had he stuck around ’till the final minute, he could have called LeBron James‘ (21 points, 11 boards, nine assists) sealing bucket in the 95-89 win. His first points in the fourth quarter came on a 17-foot pull-up when he saw he was guarded by DeShawn Stevenson (three points) to put Miami up four with 13 seconds left … Jeff Teague hit consecutive threes to get it close in the fourth. His night was the best of any Hawk (20 points, 11 assists). … The bad news for Minnesota: Brandon Roy left Friday’s game against Indiana because of a sore knee and didn’t return. That can’t be good, given his history. The good news: ‘Sota countered George Hill‘s (29 points, seven dimes, five boards in a quietly huge game) game-tying three with 3.8 seconds left by feeding a wide-open Chase Budinger (18 points) for the winning layup with 0.8 remaining to win 96-94. Budinger made a full-speed run at the hoop from midcourt when his man Gerald Green kept his head turned the other direction for a full three seconds, and no one was within four feet of Budinger. Nikola Pekovic went from hero to almost goat in about 10 seconds to set up all the drama. His jumper put the Wolves up four (he flexed so hard after it even Rick Adelman laughed), but then he missed a bunny from one inch to allow the mini-rally in the last 30 seconds by Indy. … Washington’s Trevor Booker (11 points) had a dunk that made us say “hello!” like that phone ad, but Monta Ellis led Milwaukee in a 101-91 win with 22 points. … Anthony Davis took one look at Byron Mullens and realized he didn’t need to get in a little shoving match to prove who the bigger man was. So he went out and scored 18 of his 23 points (he added 11 boards) after their dust-up in the Hornets 107-99 win over Charlotte. Ben Gordon hopped in the time machine to last decade to score 34 points for the Bobcats. … Andre Miller (six points, seven dimes) is older than Yoda and just as smart. He timed his leap perfectly to smash a block on Derrick Favors (10 points, 11 boards) in the Nugs’ 104-84 win. Corey Brewer had 20 off the bench. … It was a double dose of big hoops news in L.A.: The NCAA altered the college hoops landscape Friday when it announced UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad isn’t eligible because of violations surrounding unofficial visits. No penalty was announced for how long he’ll be out, but it’s a huge loss. Adding insult to suspension was that the news came out the same night UCLA opened its $136 million renovation of Pauley Pavilion. … Kentucky is clearly still figuring it out after its win against Maryland at the Barclays Center. Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley are a legit defensive combo on the paint altering/blocking shots, but UK needs a guard to step up and take control. Ryan Harrow had a nightmare game and was yanked quickly with zero points and zero assists. It took Jarrod Polson (he scored 10 points, three more than all of the last two seasons combined) to step up in a huge way. … We’re out like the Princeton offense in L.A.

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