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Smack / Dec 27, 2012 / 2:50 am

The Lakers Get Pushed To A Breaking Point; The Hawks Almost Get Embarrassed

Kenneth Faried

A great recipe for disaster – at least if you’re the Lakers – is playing in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back. Old legs. The high altitude. The penchant of the Nuggets to play fast and frenetic. It almost never works out for L.A., and last night, not even 40 from Kobe Bryant was enough. Denver got it done, exploding for 126 points. Kenneth Faried was all over the rim and backboards, going for 21 and 15, and Corey Brewer made six threes off the bench, dropping 27 points. Faried physically dominated L.A.’s frontline, and even got it going with Metta World Peace during the third quarter, frustrating MWP enough that the small forward started going out of his way to hit people. A few minutes later, Dwight Howard (12 points, seven boards) was ejected after Faried came down the lane and Superman basically tried to mash his face. Was it frustration? Probably. And it’s funny because we were going to write this in Smack after Christmas, but how soon is it until Howard flips out over not getting the ball and either goes into a funk or starts bicep curling his teammates? He was THE defense for the Lakers against the Knicks, and he’s being asked to do it all defensively around the hoop while getting a front row seat to Kobe’s own personal highlight video on the other end. That must be eating away at him … Houston and Minnesota are both fighting for lower playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but when the Rockets beat the Wolves by three last night, we saw the difference between the two: James Harden. The Beard (30 points) shredded Minnesota for 17 points in the fourth quarter. In the final minute, he twice scored on nearly identical plays: catching beyond the arc, and taking one or two dribbles before transitioning into the Euro step and spinning in running layups. On the other end, the ‘Wolves lost it because they went to J.J. Barea (18 points), who turned it over, and Alexey Shved (16 points), who thought the hoop was 14 feet high. Where was Kevin Love? He was busy pulling misses (3-for-14) from out of his beard. He really needs to trim that facial hair by the way. Looking like a cross between Gandalf and Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Even Harden has to be like C’mon bro… … Does any player in the league bust out with more coast-to-coast forays than James Harden? Three times in the opening segment of the first quarter, Harden scooped rebounds, floated down court, and then transitioned into his Euro step, sometimes as far as 17 feet from the rim. Whether there were two defenders or three defenders back, it didn’t really matter – he was drawing a foul … We might’ve been the only people in the entire country who watched Orlando lose to the Hornets, 97-94, but it was actually a pretty fun game. Jameer Nelson (28 points, 10 dimes) from 2009 mistakenly showed up from out of a time machine, and Robin Lopez, aka the untalented brother, was such a beast (29 points on 10 shots) that the Orlando announcers started comparing him to George Mikan (outside of the hair, it was apt). In the end, Nikola Vucevic (19 points, nine boards) was long on a wide open three that would’ve tied it after Greivis Vasquez (27 points, eight helpers) had scored New Orleans’ final four points. At this point, he might as well switch his name to Greivis He Hate Me because no one is showing him any love whatsoever. Even his own fans don’t know who he is … We all know Josh McRoberts is one of the honorary “white boys with hops” but he took it a little too far during the first half. On one possession, McBob pulled off a behind-the-back, between-the-legs dribble move, and then went in for this incredible skying reverse layup that’s only been pulled off by Stretch from NBA Street. Predictably, it never touched the rim … Keep reading to hear about J.R. Smith’s buzzer-beater …

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  • andy wyllie

    Wow that JR Smith foul was dirty. That would have started one of those 1-on-5 fights where your teammates are so disgusted that they don’t help you, at least at any gym I play at. The league needs to look at this. You don’t mess with a guy when he’s in air like that.

  • Stevie Franchise

    Even Alvin Gentry said it wasn’t intentional. Cmon now…J.R isn’t a dirty player, just a lil crazy. Wonder if J.R could benefit from taking the Harden route…..going to a lesser team and being the focal point. He would have multiple 50-point games but with poor shot selection probz….Would be fun to watch at the very least….

  • diablofreak

    and Bruce Bowen was any better during his days? JR had no hands up and it really seemed accidental.

  • andy wyllie

    Dude is talented as hell but you can’t say it wasn’t intentional. He made no effort to stopping or changing his course.