Starting 5


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

1: The Fourth Quarter Monta

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY/BrewHoopIf fourth quarters would be as simple as Monta Ellis seemed to make it Sunday afternoon, then the Bucks would not have to worry about much and the Heat would be shaking in their boots.

Alas, 25-point fourth quarters do not happen all that often for Monta Ellis. And Milwaukee has only one more game against the struggling Orlando Magic.

The Magic were in control for most of the afternoon and had a double-digit lead throughout the entire game. Then Ellis happened.

The Bucks scored 45 points in the fourth quarter behind Ellis' 25-point outburst, the most points scored in a quarter by an individual player in the NBA this year, to get a 115-109 win at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The game showed how precarious the Bucks position is — although they have a healthy lead for the final spot in the Playoffs and are an extremely .500 team — but how dangerous they can be.

For three quarters, Milwaukee looked like it was still getting out of bed and still finding a rhythm. The defense was lax against the lowly Magic and the Bucks were clanking shots without getting much going to the rim.

Then Ellis awoke and a 12-point fourth quarter deficit quickly dissipated as the Bucks forced turnovers and Ellis continued to pour it on. Milwaukee was trading threes for twos with Orlando and before Orlando knew it, the team was involved in a much closer ball game. And even though Orlando was able to execute decently, the momentum had turned.

Monta Ellis was going to win this game on his own. And that is exactly what he did.

2: Got your back

Kobe Bryant does not like missing games. This is a fact. On Friday, Bryant tried to play through his severely sprained and swollen ankle and managed only 12 minutes before he had to bow out of the game.

It must be killing Bryant to sit out these important games as the Lakers have gone streaking since the All-Star Break.

Do not worry, Kobe, your teammates have your back. Even the guy with the bad back.

Dwight Howard dominated the paint defensively as the Lakers cruised to a comfortable 113-102 win over the Kings at Staples Center on Sunday. Howard had only 12 points, but grabbed 17 rebounds and made five blocks.

Antawn Jamison picked up the scoring load with 27 points and Steve Nash added 12 assists as the Lakers' offense seemed to be flowing.

Jamison said it best after the game, the sense of urgency may have finally clicked on for this team now that the games are running out and Los Angeles has its goal of making the Playoffs well within its grasp. The Lakers are thinking about Playoff positioning now, believe it or not.

With wins like this, it is certainly possible that the Lakers might be as dangerous as believed.


Cole blooded

Monta the 4th

Lob City

4: Line of the Night: Stephen Curry — 29 points, 11 assists

The last time Golden State was in Houston, Houston dropped an NBA record number of 3-pointers on them. That did not happen this time as the Rockets simply struggled to make baskets. Curry did not have that problem, scoring 29 points and dishing out 11 assists in an impressive 108-78 shellacking of the Warriors' Playoff competitors.

5:  You can quote me on that

When you feel the game is on the line, when you need a couple stops, you get into that mode where you don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel anything. You just concentrate on the ball.

-Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko on making a key block in a 97-95 win over the Hornets

Every time we play Dallas we should just start the game and say it's a two-minute game, zero-zero. Every game seems to come down to the last two or three minutes of the game.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks on another close 107-101 win over the Mavericks

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