With Mike D’Antoni literally sitting in Phil Jackson‘s old seat (and even walking like him) along the Staples Center sideline, the new Lakers era didn’t exactly start according to plan. They couldn’t make free throws (19-for-37). They couldn’t make shots. They couldn’t even stop Brook Lopez. But down the stretch, their defense was suffocating, and Kobe Bryant (25 points) hit enough free throws to hold off Brooklyn, 95-90. The Nets actually controlled this one most of the way, especially after the Lakers jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Lopez was destroying the Lakers’ frontline. The big man (23 points, a dozen in the first quarter) might have the perfect game to set to Juvenile‘s “Slow Motion” but for most of the night it was working. Set shots. Dunks in the lane. Moves off the dribble. If Bryant didn’t come out and make his first five shots, Brooklyn could’ve been up big … The most entertaining part of the night, outside of Dwight Howard (23 points, 15 rebounds, 7-for-19 free throws) shooting his own “how to nearly blow a game at the free throw line” instructional video, was when Darius Morris decided he was going to pressure Deron Williams full court in the second quarter. He was getting yo-yo’ed all over the floor, and looked like he was about to topple over two or three different times. Williams had 16 in the first half, but slowed in the second half to finish with 22 points and 10 dimes … According to @DuranSports, Dwight Howard told the media before the game that if bodies go flying anywhere near D’Antoni and his wobbly knee, that the big man would be Kevin Costner protecting Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard … A couple of quick injury notes: after we wrote about how his injury woes play into the Heat’s championship defense, Dwyane Wade plans to return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks after making it through two consecutive practices without any issues in his left foot … Dirk Nowitzki is also closing in on a return date, telling ESPNDallas.com he hopes to start basketball activities in two weeks while hopefully returning to the lineup in mid-December … And Andrew Bogut expects to miss at least the next three games rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle. Golden State, miraculously, is doing fine without him … In college action, Shabazz Muhammad came through on his second night with 21 points while shooting more free throws than the entire Georgia team in a four-point win for No. 11 UCLA … Indiana survived Georgetown in overtime, 82-72, behind 17 a piece from Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls, while UNC got abused by Butler, especially in a 35-18 first half … And apparently, some cat in Division III named Jack Taylor scored 138 points in a game last night. Yep, it’s true. Taylor is a sophomore guard at Grinnell, and his Pioneers beat Faith Baptist Bible 179-104 as he nearly lost feeling in his arm by shooting 52-for-108 from the floor (including 71 triple attempts). This is the same run-n-gun, Don Nelson fantasy land school that had a player score 89 in a game last year (Imagine if J.R. Smith had gone to Grinnell College?). There’s some straight NBA 2K stats padding going on there … Keep reading to hear who came back from injury to nearly lead Toronto to a big win …
Smack / Nov 21, 2012 / 1:33 am
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