Starting 5: It’s bad

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

1: Bad to worse

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/ZimbioKobe Bryant was hitting his crazy fall-away 3-pointers. The Lakers had every recipe to make a comeback and get themselves a game closer to catching the Nuggets in a growingly contentious Playoff race (it is not too early yet is it?). Mike D'Antoni is saying not to panic, but Los Angeles has to be feeling some pressure to turn things around and become the team everyone envisaged.

Bryant had pulled the Lakers within three points and Dwight Howard made the right read getting to the basket and swatting away an Andre Miller floater at the rim.

Only problem was Howard actually kept it inbounds and deflected it right to Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari drained the 3-pointer and not even Kobe Bryant could save the Lakers as the Nuggets won 112-105.

Los Angeles had confoundingly lost again. Kobe Bryant's 29 points (on 26 shots!) were not enough. Nor was Howard's career-high-tying 26 rebounds to go with 14 points. Or Steve Nash's 13 assists and 10 points.

If all three of these guys are doing what they are supposed to do and do extraordinarily well, what more can the Lakers do? That seems to be the question Mike D'Antoni is having trouble answering.

For Denver it is more distance over a conference rival and another solid road win. The Nuggets have started to put things together more after a slow start out of the gates. Ty Lawson had 21 points and 10 assists and Gallinari had 20 points to lead the Nuggets who controlled the game late and executed for the win.

2: Bad boy

ESPN

Kevin Durant is not a bad boy.

His babyface made him the perfect cast for the Like Mike remake Thunderstruck. Kids love him. And his silky smooth scoring and ability to make things look easy just adds to his youthful exuberance.

Durant though has a dark side and I think many are happy to see it.

Kevin Durant picked up his third technical foul in as many games Sunday in a 104-92 win over the Raptors on Sunday. Durant jokingly said Kendrick Perkins had been a bad influence on him in apologizing for the outbursts on Twitter. It did not matter much for the star as he scored 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

This turned out to be another typical balanced scoring onslaught from the Thunder against an inferior opponent. Russell Westbrook added 23 points and seven assists and Serge Ibaka had 19 points.

Toronto clearly had no answer, relying on unheralded Alan Anderson for 27 points to keep things close. Obviously, it was not enough. 

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Radio ball from Sessions

Around the world with Iguodala

DeRozan climbs Mt. Ibaka

4: Line of the Night: LeBron James — 24 points, 7 assists

Just another typical line for the MVP in another typical 99-71 win over the Wizards. Wish there were more to say.

5:  You can quote me on that

They're a team that when you score on them, they push it right back down your throat. They come at you 100 times faster than you went at them. That's one of the teams that when you score, you miss a shot, you gotta get back quick or else they're going to score on you

-Pistons center Andre Drummond on the Bobcats, who won on the road 108-101 in overtime

You don't have a lot of time to think especially in those situations. I was just ready to shoot it. … It was a lucky bounce off of Dwight, Metta World Peace was right there, ready to block the shot, so I had to release it quick. I'm glad. It was very important we won that game.

-Danilo Gallinari on his back-breaking three in the Nuggets' win

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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