Should we really be praising Dwight Howard for the way he played last night? For the way he actually set decent screens? Hey, look at the way the big man is setting screens. He’s really giving that extra effort! Whether he’s been holding out on L.A. or not, Howard did play like the real Superman last night against Boston, summoning up 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers took the head off the Celtics, 113-99. The Lakers placed seven players in double-figures, and once Paul Pierce‘s magic wore off in the third quarter (23 of his 26 points came in the first half), it was over … With the death of Jerry Buss, there was a pregame slideshow and video tribute set to Green Day‘s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Then Kobe spoke to the crowd, and was on the verge of tears before pointing up to Buss’ old seat, now empty. Finally, the crowd erupted into “Jer-ry!” chants. We couldn’t have been the only ones thinking of Springer … Steve Nash passed Magic Johnson for fourth all time in assists last night, and says he’s coming after Mark Jackson next. Then there’s Bryant, who had seven dimes last night but missed all four triples he took. Unbelievably, he’s now made just one three-pointer since January 20 … LeBron James (24 points, 11 assists) lit up the highlight reels during the first half against Atlanta – catching a lob off the glass from D-Wade, and making a crazy, floating, high-arcing shot at the halftime buzzer. But Miami didn’t pick it up until the final period. Once there, they annihilated the Hawks 40-17 en route to a 103-90 victory. With Josh Smith having one foot out the door in Atlanta already, Al Horford (27 points) was the only thing keeping Atlanta from getting run off their own floor … Meanwhile, Chris Bosh‘s greatest contribution didn’t come on the court. It came in the locker room with a supposedly awesome speech to the University of Miami squad that’s currently smoking everyone in the ACC … That’s two straight nights we’ve seen Brandon Jennings (31 points, 11 assists) cut up Deron Williams and the Nets. The problem? It’s also been two straight nights that Brooklyn escaped with a W. After Joe Johnson stole their hearts on Tuesday night, the Nets did it again in a three-point win last night … Brandon Knight (21 points) and Detroit beat the Bobcats by six, but the play of the night came from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who caught the ball in the lane, took one power dribble and mashed all over Greg Monroe‘s head. It’s probably going to land in a lot of top 10 plays at season’s end, but the call from the announcers is even better, alternating between Lil Jon (“What!”) to Trinidad Jame$ (“Wooooo”) … In other storylines from last night: Memphis barely got by suddenly red-hot Toronto, winning by six mainly because Zach Randolph (17 points, 18 boards) feasted in the paint; Nikola Pekovic (27 points, 18 rebounds) ate Philly alive as Minnesota got it done, 94-87; Klay Thompson erupted for 28 points in Golden State’s 108-98 win over Phoenix; and Paul George continued right where he left off in the second half of Sunday night’s All-Star Game, dropping 27 points and eight rebounds as Indiana rang up 74 points in the first half of a 34-point destruction of the Knicks … We’re out like Kobe from distance.
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