Starting 5


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

1: A lack of urgency

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/ZimbioBefore Thursday's game between the Lakers and the Celtics, Kobe Bryant asked — through the media — for Dwight Howard to give some urgency and work harder to get back into the lineup to help the Lakers make a run for the Playoffs. Howard had missed the last three games with a torn labrum and there have been frustrations with how slow he has come back from injury.

The sniping through the media continues the suggestion that the team's chemistry is off and not everyone is buying in. And then Mike D'Antoni went out and said Howard was cleared to play for a while it was just how Howard managed the pain.

Dwight Howard played in Thursday's 116-95 loss to the Celtics at TD Garden, but he was not effective for the majority of the game and certainly continues not to look like himself. Howard got the ball early and Kevin Garnett tested that shoulder early on. He had only nine points and nine rebounds though.

And the Lakers struggled. Kobe Bryant had 27 points and the rest of the team cratered against the suddenly hot Celtics.

Boston ran Los Angeles out of the gym in the third quarter and opened up a 30-point lead at times. The Celtics had 95 points through three quarters in this absolute rout. Jeff Green dominated int he half court with 19 points and Paul Pierce had 24 points. The Celtics shot 52.9 percent from the floor and simply dominated the game. The Lakers could not hit threes and could not spread the floor.

And so now, it seems the Lakers continue to have questions to answer.

2: Too fast, too furious

David Zalubowski/AP/Denver PostChicago cannot wait to get Derrick Rose back. At least then the team will have someone with some speed to push the pace and break the rut that can sometimes occur with a half-court offense. The Bulls though still have defense, don't they?

The Nuggets scored 100 points in three quarters and ran the Bulls ragged with a relentless fast break. Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala proved to be far too much in the Rocky Mountain air in the 128-96 victory.

Faried scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Wilson Chandler had 24 points and hit all five of his 3-point attempts. And Denver just kept running and running and running on the Bulls.

Chicago learned the hard way that the one thing you cannot do against Denver is turn the ball over. The Bulls committed 15 turnovers and each one seemed to feed the Nuggets fast break and put the Bulls further and further into the hole. That was not a good place for Chicago to be.

Eventually Tom Thibodeau had to call off the dogs and prepare for a game tonight in Utah. This is one to burn the video.


Jeff Green on the run

McGee smash

Jodie Meeks steal and slam

4: Line of the Night: Kenneth Faried — 21 points, 12 rebounds, 9/10 FGs

Faried really set the tone for the Nuggets in this game by getting out on the break and working hard to run at the rim on offense and defense. That is what he does. As they noted on the TNT broadcast, Faried does not have any plays called for him and just works hard. That is what his role is.

5:  You can quote me on that

Well, he’s from LA. Like me going to Chicago as a kid, or I guess I was an adult by then. And then there’s the rivalry as well, so Paul has the double whammy. He’s with the Celtics playing the Lakers, and he’s from LA. And he lives in LA in the offseason. So it’s probably really important for him to play well and win.

-Celtics coach Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce playing against his hometown Lakers

Not a lot of people (nationally) see us when we play," Faried said, "so more people wanted to step to the stage on a nationally televised stage, and we brought it tonight. People might not respect us as much because we're not on TV as much like a Clippers, Lakers or Knicks. But today we made a statement on TNT, showing everybody – hey, pay attention.

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

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