Last night was a great night for basketball in that there were a lot of games. Last night was a bad night for basketball in that almost none of them were close. Here’s what you missed of the good ones.
Miami wins 20th straight game over Philadelphia.
It’s mere formality now, Miami beating up on lesser opponents, and last night was no exception. Though this one was a bit closer – 98-94 – a third quarter comeback by the Sixers making it entertaining. LeBron James finished up with his usual (note: amazing) 27-7-8 line, Dwyane Wade dropped in another 21 and the Heat controlled this one when it counted. They’ve got road games coming up against Boston and later down the line against Chicago, but it doesn’t seem like anyone will be able to beat the Heat in the interim. And even those teams aren’t particularly strong, and are only skating by on reputation at this point. The real test comes when they face San Antonio, but they’ll be without Tony Parker and we wouldn’t put it past Pop to mail that one in as to not reveal its long-term strategy should they face the Heat in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers lost, and Kobe is out indefinitely.
Welp. A lot of people are already saying that the Lakers’ season is over because of Dahntay Jones’ foot, on which Kobe landed and twisted his ankle in the game’s waning moments. Both players have been yelling a lot about the incident ever since, Kobe saying there’s no place for that kind of behavior in the game (read: acting like Bruce Bowen), and Jones saying it was just a case of bad luck. Regardless, the Lakers don’t have Kobe now for the foreseeable future. But, should Los Angeles still sneak into the playoffs – which is a possibility considering Utah’s recent free fall – this might actually bode well in the long-term. Of all the things sacrificed during this Lakers’ season, Steve Nash has been the biggest. He hasn’t been the ball dominator that he’s used to being, instead having to pick his spots and wade water around Kobe. But now the ball will be in his hands, true D’Antoni style, running pick and rolls with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol once he comes back. This should be a deadly combination, and we’ll see if it actually works, but it might finally allow Kobe to see that there are other ways to play offensive basketball with this team. Non-Kobe ways, that is.