Starting 5: Schizophrenic Knicks, Philly fades & Kobe ain’t mad at Wade

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

1:  Schizophrenic Knicks get it together

The Knicks were getting absolutely crushed last night.  Demolished.  Picked apart by Kyrie Irving and the Cavs.  Internet commenters were cracking their knuckles and warming up their keyboards ready to trash the new Knicks and their disgusting performance that happened to coincide with Carmelo Anthony’s return. 

Then the second half happened.  And in the end, it was the Knicks doing the demolishing.  Jeremy Lin had 19 points and 13 assists while Melo checked in with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting a very good 9-16.  But it was the bench that really stepped up for the Knicks, as Baron Davis dished 8 assists in just 14 minutes and Steve Novak continued his scorching shooting, hitting 5 of 8 three-pointers and scoring 17 points. Iman Shumpert added 12, shooting 5-10… which is important when you consider how much gunning Shumpert was doing earlier in the season. 

If the Knicks can do more of this… where everyone plays within themselves and does his individual job rather than try to do too much… they’ll be very dangerous come playoff time.

2:  Philly’s for real!  Or maybe they’re not.  

Philadelphia continues to be one of the hardest teams to read in the NBA.  Last night they showed they were for real by not only leading the Oklahoma City Thunder after three quarters, but also taking an eight point lead early in the fourth.  

But then they give the doubters fodder with their late collapse.  They shot 1-13 in the last 5:31 of the game… and that one was a three-pointer with five seconds left to cut OKC’s lead down to one (after a 12-1 OKC run).  It’s the sixth loss in seven games for Philadelphia, who now only leads the Atlantic by three games (over Boston & New York).

With the Knicks seemingly getting their act together, and Boston’s two straight wins (which they hope will be the start of a run of their own), Philly suddenly finds themselves in danger of dropping to the bottom of the conference.  So unfortunately for the Sixers, the questions will persist.  They had a chance to put a good team away last night and didn’t.  Will the failure to do so hurt the confidence of their young team?  

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Jeremy Lin hits Iman Shumpert with a half-court alley oop


   

Andre Iguodala twirls his way in for the slam 


 

JR Smith finishes the alley oop from Baron Davis with the reverse

4:  Line of the night:  Kobe Bryant – 31 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant still hasn’t missed a game, playing last night with a mask last night to protect himself after the nasal fracture suffered at the All Star game.   The Minnesota Timberwolves probably wish Dwyane Wade had swung a little harder.  

Kobe did most of his damage at the start of each half, scoring 10 in the first quarter and 12 in the third.  The third quarter binge helped the Lakers pull away… turning a six point lead into a 24 point lead over the Love-less Wolves.  

At this point, I’m convinced Kobe Bryant is that re-generating Terminator thing from Terminator 2.  It doesn’t matter what you do to him… he just keeps on coming at you.  

5:  You can quote me on that

”It was very simple: He didn’t mean to do it.  He’s not that kind of person. … He’s a nicer guy than I am, to be honest with you. He’s just not the type of person who would do something like that (on purpose).”
     -Kobe Bryant, on Dwyane Wade breaking his nose 

“I just let my teammates know that if we really want to be true contenders, on nights like this we’ve got to show it. Nothing’s going to come easy.”
     -Tyson Chandler, on what he told the Knicks at half time last night.  The Knicks outscored Cleveland 71-42 in the second half. 

“He’s a wonderful guy, he comes to work every day.  Even on the days he doesn’t play well, you know he’s going to try. Everything that comes out of his mouth, toward the team, is always the right thing. It might not be well-said in the way he says it, but it’s always the right thing. And he’s as pure as I’ve ever coached or been around to his team. I know he’s difficult for [the media] at times, that’s who he is. He reminds me of Patrick Ewing in that way. You don’t get to see who he really is. But I’m telling you, for a team, you couldn’t have a better guy in the locker room. It’s amazing.”
     -Doc Rivers, on Kevin Garnett 

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