Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
At long last, Mike D'Antoni made his sideline debut for the Lakers, hoping to put to rest any thoughts that he was the wrong choice for the Lakers. Undoubtedly Los Angeles has a lot of weapons for the offensive-minded coach to play with. And so far, since D'Antoni took over, offense has been the key word for the Lakers.
Los Angeles defeated Brooklyn last night 95-90. It was actually one of the Lakers' worst offensive performances since D'Antoni officially took over. The Lakers are averaging 109.3 points per game in the three games since D'Antoni took over. The Lakers' average offensive rating in that stretch is 113.3.
Small sample size, but the Lakers offense is clearly sizzling. Kobe Bryant scored 25 points and added five assists. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Pau Gasol scored 17 points and seven assists.
With a little more help from the bench, this appears to be the formula the Lakers want to follow each night. Get typical games from Bryant, and work the ball around in pick and rolls to set up Howard or through Gasol to set up 3-point shooters. It makes the Lakers a very dangerous and potent team offensively.
Where the Lakers have shortcomings is on the defensive end. Brooklyn was able to control the pace of this game and helped to keep the score down. The Nets stayed in the game despite shooting 41 percent from the floor and just 7 for 23 from beyond the arc. Fourteen offensive rebounds and second-chance points will help do that. The Lakers really seemed to struggle corralling Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace on the offensive glass, the two combined for five of those offensive rebounds and Reggie Evans added four more.
The Lakers are very much a work in progress on the defensive end. And there is not likely to be a championship delivered without that piece of the puzzle. Howard is getting healthier and that should help there.
For now, Los Angeles is taking to D'Antoni's offense and finding a good rhythm and success in it.
2: Sixers spoil Lowry's return
The Raptors viewed Kyle Lowry as their missing piece to get back into Playoff contention. With Lowry and Jose Calderon, along with DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani, Toronto figured it had a Playoff-ready starting lineup. It has not quite worked out that way with Lowry on the shelf with a sprained ankle.
He finally made his return to the lineup, coming off the bench for his homecoming game in Philadelphia last night. Lowry scored 13 points, disshed out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds for the Raptors. But his team still came up short.
Philadelphia got some superb play from Nick Young and Jason Richardson hit two big 3-pointers down the stretch as Philadelphia erased a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter and ran away for a 106-98 win at Wells Fargo Center.
Still the Raptors have to like the point guard combo they have as Jose Calderon turned in another big game with 12 assists, bringing his season average to 8.5 assists per game. That number would appear to be climbing considering he has posted 77 assists in the last six games (12.8 per game).
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Carmelo Anthony fights for a loose ball
J-Rich gets his head checked
4: Line of the Night: Carmelo Anthony -- 29 points, 12/22 FGs, 28:04
Everyone wondered if Carmelo Anthony would carry over his strong play from the Olympics where he seemed to score a point per minute and tore up the competition from beyond the arc. He balked at playing power forward for his NBA squad. So far though, things are working great. Anthony posted an Olympic-like performance with 29 points in 28 minutes and he continues to score at will.
5: You can quote me on that
You can not flop and play for Brooklyn!! Brooklyn equals, red bricks, streets, the gutter, Marcy, Soul in the Hole, Gershwin Park, etc...
-Lakers forward Metta World Peace
It was one of those nights, it was good to get it going early,. Anytime you can start off on the road in the first quarter like that it give us a lot of confidence. I made a couple of shots and Ray [Felton] and Jason [Kidd] came up to me and said, ‘We’re coming to you, keep it going.’
-Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony