On a night when all of the talk seemed to center around Kobe Bryant and his fourth straight 40-point game, it was Chris Paul who was the real king. The best point guard in the world destroyed the Lakers on pick-n-rolls and isolations, making every big play in the Clippers 102-94 win. Paul had 33 points and six assists, but was so routine in picking apart the Lakers at will that even a second-half onslaught from the best scorer in the world never put the Big Brother in control. The NBA’s version of Chucky put the Lakers away in the fourth quarter by repeatedly getting the Lakers’ bigs stuck in isolation situations … In the first half, the Clips’ announcers seemed somewhat disturbed by how much Kobe (42 points, 14-for-28 from the field) was shooting, saying at one point “Kobe looks like he’s on a mission. What that mission is, I don’t know.” Have they been locked up in a closest for the past week? Bryant started slow, but exploded at the end of the third quarter, bringing the Lakers completely back from a big double-digit deficit with 21 points in 12 minutes. He hit a three at the end of the third quarter with Randy Foye right in his face that was just stupid… He was so hot that on the following trip (after giving us that weird jaw jut move), Bryant took a 35-footer and you figured it was going in. The problem? Once again, he went for it too hard. At one point in the fourth quarter, it was Andrew Bynum (12 points, 16 rebounds) standing out at the arc, feeding Bryant in the post. Something’s wrong with that picture … Blake Griffin (22 points, 14 rebounds) had one three-point play in the third where he had Matt Barnes ducking for cover. It’s not every day you catch a look at an NBA bench, and they’re all staring at the replay of a layup … The Lakers strike us as a decent team that can beat up on good and average teams, but their lack of talent outside of their big three always kills them against the elite … Imagine if the T’Wolves could close out some of these close games? They lost another one to a playoff contender, this time by two to Atlanta. Joe Johnson looked like the JJ of old, going 8-for-20 for 25 points, and Jeff Teague had perhaps the best game of his career (20 points, 10 dimes). But the real hero was our man Ivan Johnson, playing that garbage man defense on Kevin Love while also going for a double-double. Love still had 30 and 13, but had to work for everything on Ivan the Terrible … Ricky Rubio started and put in work (18 points, 12 assists, five steals) … But why was Derrick Williams tweeting articles comparing Kobe and LeBron in crunch time? A little weird … Keep reading to hear about the most underrated player in the NBA …
Smack / Jan 15, 2012 / 1:54 am
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