Starting 5: Sessions stepping up, Gordon ties a record from 3 & “stupidity” in Dallas

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Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Ok, New York… we see you

The Knicks have answered the challenge of the post D’Antoni era and have come out with five straight wins now after beating the 76’ers by three last night.  It moved the Knicks within three games of the division lead (and 4th seed in the East) and two games of the 7th seed Celtics (though, if Boston wins tonight and tomorrow, the Celtics and Sixers will flip spots in the East).

Amar’e Stoudemire broke free for 21 points and 9 rebounds and was the beneficiary of some spectacularly unselfish play.  Jeremy Lin turned it on in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 18 in the final frame, and the Knicks held off the Sixers, who have been scuffling as of late. 

Philly needs to watch out.  There’s still plenty of time to go all out in this collapse.  They could go from division leader to facing Chicago or Miami in a blink.  

2:  Sessions paying dividends in LA

Lakers fans I spoke to on deadline day were in a bit of shock that LA had the sack to get rid of a veteran leader like Derek Fisher.  I’m sure they’ll be singing a different tune the next time I see them as Ramon Sessions start to rack up solid games from the forum blue and gold.  He’s averaging 12 points off the bench in four games, culminating in last night’s 17 point (7-8 fg), 9 assist, 5 rebound night in a 109-93 win in Dallas.  

There were a few moments where Sessions seemed a little confused.  There were a couple of passes to where he thought a player would be, which is part of the growing process.  But all in all, Sessions is providing a key boost to two weaknesses for the Lakers: their bench and their point guard position.  If this keeps up, we may have to re-think just how dangerous the Lakers will be in the playoffs.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Kobe with the impossible reverse layup finish on the alley oop


       

Joe Johnson sends the game into OT… then wins it..

JaVale McGee with the game winning put-back dunk… off a free throw!

4:  Line of the night:  Ben Gordon: 45 points, 8 assists

That Javale McGee put-back ruined what could have been a special night for Ben Gordon.  Gordon tied an NBA record by going 9-9 from 3-point land, but his long jumper to tie the game was off, leaving the Pistons to wonder “what if?” after a 116-115 loss.  Gordon added 8 assists on the night, but the Pistons once again couldn’t close the deal on the road. 

5:  You can quote me on that

”We put ourselves in a position to win and we put ourselves in a position to lose. It’s one or two plays that can determine if you win the game or sweep the trip. We’re not quite ready for it yet. It’s going to take some painful experiences like this.”
     -Pistons Head Coach Lawrence Frank, on losing these close games 

“That’s just stupidity”
     -Kobe Bryant, on Dallas fans booing Lamar Odom

“I think that’s my job to get him some easier baskets.  They guarded him well on the block. I’ve just got to figure out how I can be better, get him the ball in easier spots.”
     -Chris Paul, on Blake Griffin’s career low 7-point night

No, it wasn’t that.  I got open looks. I missed shots. Games like that happen. … They’ve got a lot of offense and they played well tonight.”
     -Griffin, in response 

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