Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Heat have Philly's number
Dwyane Wade didn't play last night, but it didn't really matter as the Miami Heat, once again, beat the Philadelphia 76'ers. That's 11 straight times now for Miami against Philly. The game was close, and Miami was helped by the loss of Andre Iquodala, who was inadvertently raked across the eye in the third quarter and left the game. But nothing was stopping LeBron James and his season-high 41 points.
Right now, this is the 2-7 playoff matchup. That can't make Philly feel good. The loss dropped them to a game and a half behind Boston in the Atlantic Division, and the division winner gets that coveted "not facing Chicago or Miami" 3rd or 4th seed. Boston starts an 11 game in 15 day stretch tonight that features four back-to-backs and the Celtics' 3-in-a-row stretch, so Philly has some hope that the schedule might bring Boston back to earth. Philly will need it, too. They DON'T want to see this Miami team anymore.
With the win last night, Miami has officially clinched a playoff berth. Phew! Glad we got the "will Miami make it to the playoffs" question answerd.
2: Bynum's act wearing thin
Andrew Bynum could be great. He's got the talent and the physical gifts, minus some knee issues, to be a sublime center. The problem, as usual, lies between his ears. He's been benched for taking a three, decking JJ Barea with a dirty foul, or even blatantly parking in a handicapped spot... Bynum has shown amazing lapses in judgement. And now it's costing him with the Lakers.
Bynum recently was fined an undisclosed amount for "numerous infractions," multiple sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com. One of the stunts that warranted the fine from the team was Bynum blowing off a meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
It's becoming clear that Bynum is starting to get a little out of control. He's becoming too much for the Lakers organization to handle, and they're trying to keep him in check. The benching... the fine... it's an escalating set of punishments for a player who is escalating his bratty behavior.
The Lakers need to figure out something with this kid soon, or he's going to become too much of a problem. There are constant indicators that he's pulling a "rebellious teen" act. When asked about something said in the huddle, he said
"I don't take part in the huddles," Bynum said. "I'm resting ... getting my Zen on."
Hey Andrew, why did the Lakers blow a 21 point lead to Washington last month?
''I was out there kind of loafing around and having a good time. They played up, got the home crowd into it, and they were able to hit shots.''
Bynum's act is starting to wear thin. We'll see what this Jim Buss/Mike Brown-led Lakers team is all about real quick. Bynum is a Jim Buss favorite. Now let's see if he plays favorite with a guy who's attitude is spiraling out of control.
Seriously, Kobe Bryant?? That hit the rim six times before going in.
Josh McRoberts with the most amazing accidental move to beat the buzzer I've ever seen
4: Line of the night: DeMarcus Cousins - 41 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Boogie Cousins' night was over shadowed by a loss to the Phoenix Suns, but he is staking his claim as one of the league's potentially dominant young bigs. His problem tends to be the same as Andrew Byunum's: an attitude that gets him into trouble more often than it should. Still, Cousins' night was amazing: He only needed 25 shots to get to 41 points thanks to a 9-14 night at the line. He was 11-13 at the rim, 2-4 from 3-9 feet, and 3-8 from 16-23 feet... displaying the necessary versatility to put together a massive scoring night like this.
5: You can quote me on that:
"We still didn't get the win, so it didn't even matter. We've still got a lot of work to do."
-DeMarcus Cousins, on his big scoring night
“I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career...
“I’ll be 28 when I sign this next deal. I have to look for the best situation for me.”
-Deron Williams, on whether he'd return to the Nets
“I guess it was from one shooter to another, my tribute to Reggie Miller."
-Danny Granger, on scoring 14 4th quarter points to lead a Pacers comeback against the Knicks
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