Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: A mournful embrace
The best moment of Friday's nights basketball games had nothing to do with a sport. Nothing to do with a dunk, a shot, a block, a defensive play, an assist. It was the simple act of humanity.
One that resonated deeply on a dark day for the nation.
Kevin Garnett and Kevin McHale did not know any of the victims in Newtown, Conn. Their connection to them was likely the same as many in the U.S. Their reaction was likely the same too — utter shock and horror over the events.
Garnett was embracing McHale for a much different reason and a different loss. Still the image of a friend embracing a mourning father was powerful on this day.
In only very few ways is McHale losing his daughter to leukemia comparable to the tragedy in Connecticut where a gunman opened fire on a class of elementary school children killing 27 people including 20 of the children. That tragedy is an unspeakable horror. McHale and his family could prepare themselves for the possibility of death through their daughter's fight with her illness, there was no sudden tragedy that cut life far too short.
The only way it is comparable is that McHale knows the feeling of putting his child to her final rest. And those wounds are still fresh as McHale returns to coach this silly little distraction we call the NBA.
The nation's thoughts and prayers are with the victims in Newtown. The NBA family's thoughts remain with McHale and his family.
The Rockets won 101-89 over the Celtics. If that matters at all.
2: Kobe flies in
Kobe Bryant said following Thursday's loss to the Knicks that his Lakers needed to play someone they could be even if it was the Washington Generals, the famous hard-on-their-luck opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters. Of course, the Washington Wizards would have to do.
And the Generals, the Wizards are not.
Washington gave Los Angeles everything L.A. could ask for. Things still are not easy for the Lakers.
But when you have Kobe Bryant there is always a chance.
The Lakers won for just the second time this season when Bryant scores 30 points as he poured in 30 points and seven assists and put the exclamation point on the game with a tip in after a Dwight Howard missed free throw in a 102-96 win over Washington. Jodie Meeks came off the bench for 24 points to help Los Angeles withstand a very strong start from a determined Wizards team.
Ultimately though, talent seemed to win out.
And so for one night the Lakers seem to have everything a bit more settled. Mike D'Antoni said after the game Los Angeles remains far from being a good team. But the win was a positive step and something to build on. This struggling team needs something to cling to. Likely a win over Washinton does not quite do that.
It's a Paul George block party
Redick catches Jack napping
Joe Johnson wins it 2OT
4: Line of the Night: Monta Ellis — 33 points, 6 rebounds, 12/24 FGs
Monta Ellis has had a disappointing year in his first full season out of Golden State. He has not been the scorer that he once was and has struggled to put the ball in the basket despite Milwaukee's surprising start to this year. Or perhaps it is not surprising with the aspirations this team had with Brandon Jennings and Ellis in the backcourt. He is averaging 19.3 points per game this year and shooting a shade better than 40 percent. What he had been lacking this year was a spectacular scoring performance like this. His 33 points in a 90-86 win over Cleveland was a season high for him and just his third 30 point game of the year.
5: You can quote me on that
It's tough, man, it's really tough. I'm a little down because I'm trying to work through stuff with my hand and then this happens. But we won. That's what's keeping me out of the gutter. I thought I was going to break down if it [the X-rays] had said something else. Luckily it was negative. … Whatever you want to call it, it's stiff right now, real stiff. It hurts.
The way he's been playing the last 10 games is as good as any point guard in this league. He finds guys. That's what we want.