Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Rajon Rondo loves the spotlight
Rajon Rondo dropped 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds on the Miami Heat in an utterly dominant performance, which surprises few in the Boston Celtics community. They know that when the spotlight is on Rondo in a nationally televised game, he responds. This triple double was the 18th of his career... 14 have come on national TV.
Rondo's vast array of passes came from all angles, to all players, in all spots on the floor. When Rondo is in this mode, he looks like a glitch in an NBA 2K game. Eight of Rondo's assists came in a decisive third quarter in which the Celtics turned a five-point halftime lead into a 24 point lead going into the fourth quarter. Miami had no answers in the 91-72 loss, especially LeBron James who, by contrast, went without an assist for just the second time in his career. In fact, the entire Heat team had just one more assist than Rondo did on the night.
The Celtics are now a game up on Philly in the Atlantic and just 1.5 games away from overtaking the Magic for the third seed.
2: OKC rolls, stakes claim for #1 overall, leaves Spurs fans frustrated
This was an ass-kicking from the jump. The Chicago Bulls, playing without Derrick Rose again, were thumped by the OKC Thunder yesterday... not that Rose would have mattered much. The Thunder (40-12) have now moved into a tie in the loss column with Chicago (42-12) as they notched their sixth straight win. They need those wins, too, because the San Antonio Spurs have been the best team in basketball recently, winning seven straight games.
The frustration in San Antonio must be palpable. This team is making yet another run, they've won seven games in a row, and all they've got to show for it is a measley half game improvement in the standings. They're still three games behind the Thunder and working very hard to get nowhere.
Speaking of the Spurs... at what point does Gregg Popovich start getting some Coach of the Year love? The Spurs are a half game behind Miami and they've done it with Pop managing old players' minutes and dealing with a Manu Ginobili injury-fest. Who's worked his roster better than Pop?
Russel Westbrook with a dunk of the year entry
Avery Bradley skies to block Dwyane Wade
Shane Battier catches Paul Pierce napping on the out of bounds play
4: Line of the night: Kobe Bryant - 40 points, 5 assits, 3 rebounds
One game after Kobe struggled to make a shot for more than three quarters, Kobe went off for yet another offensive explosion, notching his fifth 40 point game of the season in a 120-112 win over Golden State. Kobe shot 16-28 in the game, 11-16 from everywhere on the floor besides 16-23. feet. Kobe was 5-12 on the long J's, but had it working enough in the other areas, including 3-3 from three, to have a good night from the field. The win keeps the Lakers 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers, who have won 5 straight games.
5: You can quote me on that:
"It's always interesting to me to hear people talk after a game like that. The amount of idiots that live out here after 16 years baffle me. I guess people just get dumber over the years."
-Kobe Bryant, on the comments being made after his offensive struggles on Saturday
“I think my teammates put a spotlight on me more than the media or the televised games. Four or five guys came up to me today and told me to be aggressive and show what a great point guard is. So I just tried to go out there and just be great.”
-Rajon Rondo, on his performance in a nationally televised game
"I just have to be convinced. He's raring to go. It's more me. He thinks he's ready. But I just want to make sure we're smart."
-Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, on Derrick Rose's potential return
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