We were going to write about how seldom games truly live up to the hype but then we had a thought – has there been a Clippers-Lakers game since Chris Paul‘s vetoed trade that hasn’t been satisfying? There have only been five between these two since Paul became a Clipper but each has come with its own story lines, plot twists and huge performances, and Friday night’s game, a Clippers 107-102 win, was no different (shh, but we think it may have been the best, actually). When all seemed lost for the Lakers and they were down 19 points, Kobe Bryant got them within two as part of his 38 points. Kobe has reversed the aging process all season by playing historically well, but his 16 points in the fourth quarter – and before that, his Victor Dukes treatment of CP3 on a breakaway pasting) put us in a time capsule back to 2004-05 when Bean was never giving up the ball. When Kobe’s on a roll like that it’s hard to draw comparisons but Chris Paul (30 points, 13 dimes) did him eight better. As in, he hit the Clips’ final eight points and did it in cold-blooded style by going one-on-one with Kobe and drilling a mid-range jumper not long after Kobe had his own big J. KB walked Matt Barnes just under the three-point arc and stuffed a J in his face to get it within two – you knew Kobe loved doing that to him. Paul’s wasn’t the first time he hit a jumper to end a half after he ended the first 24 minutes with a seriously filthy shake-’n-stepback hoop on Kobe. Maybe most impressive for us was how LAC won without Jamal Crawford, their hired gun off the bench all season. Missing him meant keeping CP3 in for 41 minutes, eight more than he averages. … Blake Griffin took down a couple classic Lob City alley-oops and even hit a three-pointer to go with his 24 points. But how about the stones he had to go barreling over the scorer’s table and through a couple of elementary school kids for a loose ball? … This was a big day for Kobe. He joined Twitter and got nearly 400,000 followers in 24 hours. … One of the hardest 2OT games to ever watch ended with Iso Joe Johnson‘s (18 points) game-winning pull-up J to mercifully end a 115-113 game at the Verizon Center. Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Bradley Beal is still hot with 24 points and six boards, but Brook Lopez was the Nets’ engine all game with 27 points and 13 boards. His seven turnovers are a little misleading because he was being given the ball so often, and often in compromising spots where he had to work extra. His tip dunk put the Nets ahead two with three seconds left in regulation but Nene’s baby hook sent it to OT. … Impressive night from Boogie Cousins with 31 and 20 in Sac-town’s 105-96 win over Toronto. … The Trail Blazers beat Memphis on the road with a very impressive 86-84 win. Do you realize Portland is playing with essentially five players (just nine bench points), the year after having two lottery picks, and is two games above .500? Wes Matthews had 21 for Portland. … Hit the jump to hear about Kyrie Irving’s hero ball in Charlotte. …
Smack / Jan 5, 2013 / 3:56 am
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