It was a busy Monday night despite only seven games on the docket, so let’s get to the recapping. I can’t think of anything better than Kobe Bryant breaking the Lakers’ team scoring record during a loss, so we’ll lead with that. Kobe poured in 44 in a 95-93 defeat at the hands of Memphis, passing Jerry West on the all-time team scoring list. I’m snickering. I’ll let Kevin Ding’s story in the Orange County Register tell the rest of the tale:
[Pau] Gasol has on several occasions offered passive-aggressive comments about not getting the ball enough after Lakers losses in the past. This time, the comments leaned a little harder toward aggressive, particularly when it came to Bryant.
Gasol was asked about Bryant’s new record and offered politically correct – and believably authentic – commentary (“I’m proud of him; I congratulate him”) before adding the kicker: “Now we can focus on winning games again.”
But that’s not all…
Bear in mind that Phil Jackson was a little miffed at Bryant on his historic night, too. Jackson told the team at halftime, when Bryant had 23 of the Lakers’ 50 points, that Bryant was “forcing the action.” Jackson also said in the halftime locker room, alluding to the 29 points Bryant needed in the game to pass Jerry West: “Let’s get him over the hump, so we can play team ball again.”
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning we'll have six more weeks of mindless pundits calling Kobe the best player on the planet.
I’ll be snickering all day. The buffoons who call this guy the “best player on the planet” should be ashamed of themselves. Or maybe I’m just bitter about Kobe’s game-winner vs. the Celtics on Sunday. Imagine if Kobe had actually played with some great big men in his career!
Enough about this guy. In this post and in general. Enough.
Let’s talk about the injuries that have thrust some backups into prominent roles. Chris Paul will probably have surgery on his left knee and could miss well over a month. Darren Collison wasted no time rewarding owners who rushed to pick him up, finishing with 16 points and 14 assists in a 109-100 loss to Phoenix. Get used to the young backcourt of Collison and Marcus Thornton (25 points), as they are gonna get a ton of PT in the near future.
In Utah, Carlos Boozer has a calf injury and Paul Millsap answered the bell in classic Millsap fashion with 25 points, nine boards and four blocks. Speaking of blocks, Boozer has to be on one as his free agency year approaches. The Jazz have Millsap and a desire to not let Boozer walk with nothing coming back. Watch this situation closely.
Fans attending the Sacramento-Denver game probably wanted their money back when they got in their seats and found out neither Tyreke Evans or Carmelo Anthony were playing. Despite the main attractions unavailable, the carnival went on without them and the curmudgeons in the crowd were treated to a 112-109 overtime Nuggets win. Both Evans and Anthony could return in the next game, so don’t get too excited about Beno Udrih or Arron Afflalo. I’m not saying you were, I’m just putting the warning out there.
Boston broke a 67-game losing streak with a 99-88 win at the Wizards, but again I’m not bitter. Ray Allen‘s name and expiring $20 million contract have been floating around the rumor mill, and it makes sense for Boston to see what’s out there. Kevin Garnett is still a shell of his former self, but he was solid last night, shooting 8-9 from the field for 19 points and helping force Antawn Jamison into a 2-for-17 atrocity. Paul Pierce sat out the fourth quarter with what’s believed to be a foot sprain, and if he misses any amount of time Tony Allen, who has been a spark lately, should benefit the most from a fantasy perspective.
Portland knocked off Charlotte rather handily, and have now won two in a row without Brandon Roy. Andre Miller had 52 points in a 114-112 win over Dallas on Saturday, then turned around and contributed eight points and 10 assists vs. the Bobcats. It’s called doing what it takes to win, Kobe. Paying attention?