Don’t Call it a Comeback: The New Orleans Hornets had 67 points in the first half, shot 57 percent from the field and even had a comfortable 25 point lead at one point against the Los Angeles Lakers, but everything fell apart in the 4th quarter. Up 18 heading into the last period, the Hornets did not expect much of a fight from the Lakers. If only they knew how wrong they were. For next 12 minutes, the men in purple held their opponents to only 9 points, while they go off for 33. 18 of which belonged to none other than Kobe Bryant, who once again willed his team to victory with 42 points (14 of 21), 7 boards and 12 assists. The Hornets could not find a bucket at all, going scoreless for the last 6 minutes (0 of 12 from the field). Dwight Howard (20 points and 15 rebounds) came up with a huge block late that led to a Kobe breakaway dunk, to complete a 20 to nothing run by the Lakers to end the game.
The Lakers weren’t the only ones that fought back from a huge deficit last night. The Memphis Grizzlies, down 17 points in the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers came back to take the win without their All-Star, Zach Randolph (left ankle sprain). Marc Gasol led the charge with a game high 23 points (10 of 17) and 12 rebounds. Mike Conley added 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting and handed out 6 dimes. Blazers’ rookie, Damian Lillard scored a team-high 20 points (8 of 16) in the losing effort.
Green Machine: Kevin Garnett passed Wes Unseld for 10th all-time on the NBA rebounding list with his 10 boards and 18 points (7 of 10) in the victory over the Indiana Pacers. Indiana started off hot with Roy Hibbert going off for 12 points and 7 rebounds in the first quarter, but dude would go scoreless in the rest of the game, as he watches his team shoot a horrendous 36 percent from the field. Boston, who shot a little better at 41 percent, executed a brilliant play in the final seconds to end the game on a 11-0 run.
Intrastate Battle: The Miami Heat fought off a 20 point comeback from the Orlando Magic to extend their winning streak to 16 games. The Big 3 combined for a total of 67 of Heat’s 97 points. Dwyane Wade had 24 points (10 of 16) and 6 rebounds. While LeBron James went for 26 points (7 of 14), including the game winning drive to crush the souls of the Magic. In his second game against Miami in this season, Nikola Vucevic got his second 20 and 20 game, scoring 25 points on 11 of 16 shooting and grabbing 21 boards to test the size deficit theory.
A Few Notes: The Charlotte Bobcats have dropped 8 straight games with the loss to the Brooklyn Nets last night. The Cats had a 10 point lead in the first half, but would come out of the second, empty handed, as the Nets held them to only 9 points in the third. Outscoring them 56 to 25 in the second half. Deron Williams has looked great since the All-Star break. He finished with 20 points (7 of 12) and 9 rebounds.
Klay Thompson knocked down the go ahead three in the remaining 15 seconds to seal the game against the Sacramento Kings. Things weren’t exactly pretty, down at the Oracle Arena, as both teams shot under 40 percent from the field in the 87-83 Golden State win.
Dirk Nowitzki went for a perfect 3 of 3 from the field for 7 points in the 4th quarter to get the W for his Dallas Mavericks against the Houston Rockets in the Texas Showdown. The German sniper shot 9 of 16 for 22 points and snagged 5 rebounds in the process. Shawn Marion chipped in another 22 points. The Rockets had two chances to tie/win the game down the stretch, but James Harden failed to connect on both attempts. The Beard ended up with 28 points on 5 of 17 shooting and 9 assists. Chandler Parson helped him out with 23 points, going 5 of 8 from three.
The Cleveland Cavaliers outscored the Utah Jazz in the final quarter, 36 to 25 to defeat their opponents at home. Kyrie Irving put on an one man show late, going off for 11 of his total 20 points (7 of 20) to drag his team to another rare victory. The Jazz desperately needed this game to cushion off the Lakers from their 8th seed. But without Al Jefferson, and much help, Gordon Hayward’s 25 points (8 of 17) and 7 assists was not enough. The Jazz have won only one of their last 5 games since the trade deadline. Is this an omen?
Fantasy Shoutouts: These two Atlanta Hawks have been on roll as of late. Jeff Teague had 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting and 11 dimes in the win over the Philadelphia 76ers, while Al Horford added 21 points (10 of 17), 12 boards and 6 assists.
In the point trading convention between the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, Raymond Felton led all scorers with 26 points (10 of 15), 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Amare Stoudemire came off the bench for a season-high 22 points (8 of 12) and 9 boards. Jose Calderon of the Pistons, was in a sharing mood. Dishing out 16 assists to go with his 10 points in the loss to the Melo-less (knee) Knicks.
Blake Griffin went off for his third career triple double against Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. The high flying time traveler had 23 points (9 of 14), 11 rebounds and a career high 11 dimes in the win. Jamal Crawford threw more than just a between the legs pass, he got 25 points on 11 of 16 shooting in just 26 minutes of play. The Clippers also dunked a lot.