The Lakers Run Into A Buzz Saw; Paul Pierce Is A Hoops Technician

You want to know why that Lakers win in Dallas was so big? Any sensible L.A. fan knows whenever they go to Denver, they get spit back out like spoiled food. With time running out and Houston not looking like they’re going to fall apart anytime soon, the Lakers can’t afford anymore mishaps. Their 119-108 loss to the Nuggets doesn’t count as as screwup – Denver just had it rolling. Ty Lawson predictably cut the Lakers up for 22 points and eight dimes while Wilson Chandler reintroduced himself to the basketball world with one of his best games of the season (23 points) … On the other side, Dwight Howard might’ve had 15 points and 14 rebounds, but wasn’t engaged at times (and also missed 11 of 14 free throws). Kobe went for 29 points and nine dimes (and hit 31,000 career points), but Howard wasn’t dominating Denver’s weak frontline like he should’ve, like he would’ve when he was back in Orlando. There was a point in the third quarter with Howard posting up JaVale McGee. JaVale tipped the entry pass and Howard sat there and watched Corey Brewer run it down and save it. It was the type of play that would get you benched at any other level (A few minutes later, it was Kobe watching Andre Iguodala (14 points, 12 assists) run right by him and catch a pass from Brewer for a dunk). The signature play of Howard’s night came with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Rolling across the lane for his typical jump hook against McGee, Howard pump-faked, and when JaVale didn’t bite, he tried to go straight over him. Not a good idea. McGee nearly cuffed the ball, blocking it back to the foul line. In the past, that never happened to Howard … What do you get when you send Atlanta to Detroit to play the Pistons? A nearly deserted arena, and thankfully, action during the first half that was actually pretty good. For a while, we mistakenly thought Jeff Teague (14 points and five dimes before the half, 20 points, 12 dimes for the game) and Rodney Stuckey (14 points in the first half, 22 for the game) were future All-Stars. In the second half, Al Horford (23 points, 22 rebounds) feasted on Greg Monroe and the rest of Detroit’s frontline, and the Hawks pulled away for an 11-point win … Having such an empty arena does have its advantages for us though. You hear everything, like when Dahntay Jones goes hard to the rack and yells “too small!” at Stuckey, or when Kyle Korver catches a pass and wheels into a midrange jumper and his teammates are all “bang bang!” Imagine how great it would be if Rasheed Wallace still played here? … Worst haircut in the league: not surprisingly, it’s DeShawn Stevenson. He looks like he has a high-top fade that’s cut into a mohawk. It looks like a carpet of fake moss that you buy for your fish tank. Not a good look at all … Keep reading to hear about the tragic death of a streetball legend…

Al Jefferson has never beaten the Celtics, his old team. Thanks to the Truth, he still hasn’t. Paul Pierce (26 points, eight assists) turned an ugly fourth quarter into his own personal showcase, dissecting the Jazz down the stretch and then making up for missing the potential game-winner but scoring seven consecutive points in overtime. After Randy Foye airballed a desperation heave in the extra frame, Boston walked out with a huge W, 110-107 … Utah controlled most of the first half, but in the third quarter, Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley (18 points) led a big run that turned a seven-point Utah lead into a three-point Jazz deficit. That led into a couple of bombs from Jason Terry. Suddenly, after making eight triples in the quarter, the Celts had an eight-point lead heading into the fourth … Washington’s 90-84 victory over Toronto featured two of the league’s hottest up-and-coming teams. Of course, you could’ve watched the first half and thought you were right back in a regular Toronto/Washington matchup. No one could make a shot – the two teams combined for 33 points in the first quarter – and even when Washington finally got it going with a mini seven-point run in the second quarter, it wasn’t exactly pretty. Outside of Bradley Beal (20 points), the team has no shooters. John Wall still can’t make a shot outside of the paint. Sometimes it feels like Trevor Ariza is praying to the basketball gods even as he shoots. And A.J. Price and Martell Webster are less consistent than Kristen Stewart’s face. Then on the other side, by the half, the Raptors had only 32 points … Early in the first quarter, Washington ran a pick-n-roll that would’ve resulted in a layup, but Rudy Gay stuck out his foot to break up the play. He connected squarely on the ball, and sent that thing so far into the stands that hopefully people in the upper deck were paying attention or they might’ve ended up with a beer shower. It got us thinking: growing up, how many of these NBA cats do you think dominated at kickball? We’re not sure, but we bet Tracy McGrady was better than solid … One of the more interesting subplots of Washington’s season has been watching the development of Bradley Beal. He wasn’t a natural, but with some extra help, some tutoring, he’s coming along in Rookie Training 101. Case in point the Wizards recent game against Houston. At one point, Beal went right to the rim, trying to go right through Omer Asik. The Mountain That Moves punched his shot back in his grill. So a few minutes later, Beal went at him again, except this time he dropped a ridiculous up-and-under reverse layup. The class continued last night for the rook against Toronto as he had to work doubly hard trying to find open shots against a defense pressuring his strengths … Longtime Dime readers will remember our old friend Christian Grant-Fields. CGF was one of the first on Twitter last night to break the rumors that Alimoe of AND1 Mixtape fame had suffered a seizure and passed away. His good friend and former teammate AO has confirmed the rumors and it does appear like “The Black Widow” has retired for good. It’s a sad, sad day for all basketball fans. The dude was one of the stars of the streetball television show, and was a genuinely great guy. Most don’t know that he was supposed to head to Fresno State (along with Rafer Alston) back in the mid to late ’90s, but was too caught up in the fame that came from streetball. Back in the day, nary a summer day passed without those old mixtapes getting play in the office. In fact, that legendary Skip vs. Alimoe battle tape might be our favorite playground footage of all time … We’re out like DeShawn’s barber.

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