Welcome to another edition of “What Happened Last Night?” Not much to focus on last night besides basketball – which makes sense, since there’s no NHL and the games-on-weird-days portion of the college football schedule is behind us. There’ll probably be a lot more of these days in the coming months. Doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty to discuss, though, so let’s tackle it all now.
The Lakers are… what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh – that’s right, it’s not a word at all. The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers, at this moment, are
That’s really all there is to it. They’re 9-13 now, following a 100-94 loss to the Cavs in Cleveland last night that dropped L.A. to 9-13… and improved the victors to a scintillating 5-17. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair not to note that Kyrie Irving – who’d missed the previous 11 games – not only returned last night but played brilliantly, finishing with 28 points and 11 assists. Without him, there’s a good chance the Lakers indeed would have won.
But is that what it’s come to for the team SportsGrid picked to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals? Sort of excusing a loss to a bad team by saying they might have beaten the bad team if the bad team were at less than full strength (and by the way, the Cavs lost the previous six games Irving did play in)?
Every time I’ve mentioned the Lakers here previously, while acknolwedging the team’s struggles are a legitimate cause for concern, I’ve made excuse after excuse: it’s early. No Steve Nash. New one over the last couple games: no Pau Gasol. Well, no longer. The Lakers suck right now. The season gets a little less younger with each ugly loss, and still the team is nowhere near curing what ails it. Kobe’s scoring in bunches, but the more he scores, the worse the team does. It’s time for the Lakers to make like their coach and get pissed off – at themselves, not T.J. Simers.
The Battle of New York evens out.
When the Knicks and Nets both got out to fast starts this season, it looked like the budding New York team rivalry could be a whole lot more interesting right off the bat than just about anyone would have expected. Well, given that the Knicks’ 100-97 win over the Nets last night marked Brooklyn’s fifth straight loss, some wind has removed some wind from the sails of the “Both teams are awesome!” part, but the teams still played a close, spirited came that came down to the last minute – indeed, the Nets had a chance to force overtime on the last shot.
But they didn’t, so last night’s hero was Jason Kidd, who put the Knicks up for good on a three with 24 seconds to go. Well, Kidd was the author of the late-game heroics, anyway – overall top honors last night have to go to Carmelo Anthony, who scored 45. The Knicks improve to 16-5, and their investment in old guys continues to pay dividends (Kidd hit six threes last night). Speaking of old guys – Kidd hit the winning shot over a making-a-great-face Jerry Stackhouse. Fans were awash in nostalgia.
Around the Association…
Again, the less-heralded L.A. team fared better, as the Clippers topped the Bulls 94-89. The Nuggets beat the Pistons, and the Wizards beat the Hornets 77-70 in a game I’m afraid to even learn too much about. [looks at box score, sees both teams shot 33 percent] AAAAAAHHHHHHH OH GOD NOOOOOO GET IT AWAY GET IT AWAY
Finally, in our college basketball upset watch:
No upsets, but No. 10 Illinois was only beating Norfolk State by three with two minutes to go. Had the Spartans pulled it out, it would have been… surprising, to say the least.
Photos [besides Picard] via Getty