The NHL is still on strike, MLB is in the offseason, all NFL and NCAA football action is relegated to the weekend, and no one really cares about NCAA basketball until March. This is my favorite time of the year, when the NBA reigns supreme and I don’t have to leave my house. Here’s what you (but not I) missed last night.
Oklahoma City sinks the Lakers to 9-11 behind huge games from Durant and Westbrook
Kevin Durant had 36 points and 9 rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 33 points and 8 assists to lead the Thunder to a 114-108 victory over the visiting Lakers. LA was led by Kobe Bryant with 35 points and 7 assists and Dwight Howard with 23 points and 18 rebounds.
For once, it wasn’t the Lakers’ free throw shooting that did them in (they went 25-31 from the line), but their defense as they allowed the Thunder to shoot 48.8% from the floor, including 9-17 from three-point land. LA managed to keep the Thunder in check for most of the game, but it was a 41-point second quarter that ultimately gave OKC the boost they needed for the win.
As LA drops to 9-11, you have to wonder that maybe Mike Brown wasn’t the problem after all. Maybe it’s more that other than Bryant and Howard, the rest of the team would struggle to make a D-League team? What other NBA team would employ the likes of Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks, Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, and the rest of the Lakers’ scrubs? It might actually be time to trade Pau Gasol after all; not because he’s bad/struggling, but because he’s the only expendable piece of any quality that can help them shore up the bench and be a legit contender.
Sixers win sloppy battle over Boston in overtime
Philadelphia overcame a triple-double from Rajon Rondo and solid games from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to edge out the Celtics 95-94 in overtime thanks to a jumper by Evan Turner with three seconds left. Rondo slipped and missed a jumpshot at the buzzer to give the Sixers the victory.
In a game that featured 18 turnovers by the Celtics and 37.4% shooting by the Sixers, it was fitting that a reversal of fortunes proved to be the difference. At the end of regulation, it was a Sixer (Turner) who turned the ball over on a wild pass. Then, it was a Celtic (Rondo) missing a jumper off the dribble to send the game to OT. And finally, in overtime, it was Turner (then shooting 9 for 25) who hit the game-winner on a night when the Sixers couldn’t buy a bucket, setting the stage for Rondo’s slip-and-airball at the buzzer.
All statistics via ESPN