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Baseline-to-Baseline recaps: Kobe pushes Lakers to .500

Mar 4, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Welcome to PBT’s roundup of yesterday’s NBA games. Or, what you missed while watching the wildest ending to a high school state championship game you will ever see…

Lakers 99, Hawks 98: It took a phenomenal performance down the stretch from Kobe Bryant, after the Lakers gave back all of a 16-point third quarter lead and found themselves trailing by one with 26 seconds remaining. But L.A. got this win thanks to Bryant, who drove and converted a tough lay-in over Josh Smith with nine seconds remaining that turned out to be the game-winner, getting the Lakers back to .500 for the first time since December.

This game featured wild swings by both teams, but neither held a lead of more than three points in the final period — one that featured six ties and 10 lead changes.

In the end, Bryant was the difference. He had an emphatic one-handed driving dunk over Josh Smith with just over two minutes left, and scored 11 points in the final period, including his team’s last six.

It isn’t great that the Lakers blew such a large lead at home, and needed heroics on the game’s penultimate possession to end up pulling this one out. It’s also not ideal that when the game got tight, L.A. went into isolation mode with Kobe for multiple possessions down the stretch. It worked on this night, however, and next up for the Lakers is a date with the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
—Brett Pollakoff

Heat 99, Knicks 93: The Knicks were getting some stops and knocking down threes in the first half (Jason Kidd, who had been a mess for a couple weeks, started out 4-of-4 from deep) and the Knicks led by as many as 16. But the Heat cranked up the defense, were the aggressors on offense and came back for the win. Our own Brett Pollakoff broke this game down.

Thunder 108 Clippers 104: Oklahoma City led pretty much from the start here and it looked for a long time like this would be a blowout win. But the Clippers made a spirited comeback, Serge Ibaka punched Blake Griffin in the… groin (and somehow didn’t get ejected) and the Thunder won behind some strong play from Russell Westbrook late. Brett broke this game down, also.

Pacers 97, Bulls 92: This win gives the Pacers the season series over the Bulls and a likely Central Division win. Add this with the loss by the Knicks and the Pacers are the current second seed in the East. David West was an anchor in this game, scoring 31 against the always-scrappy Bulls defense. West had 10 in the final quarter, which is when George Hill had 11 of his 21. Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 10 rebounds on the night and as he starts to find his groove again the Pacers, which makes them an even more dangerous playoff team.

One thing of note — for the second straight game coach Frank Vogel sat Danny Granger the entire second half. He played 8 minutes total. That concerns me.

Rockets 136, Mavericks 103: That ends a nine-game losing streak for the Rockets to the Mavs about as convincingly as you can. After a tight first half the Rockets opened the third quarter on a 15-0 run, went on to win the third 44-17 and that was all she wrote. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 32 points on an impressive 12-for-13 shooting. Jeremy Lin and James Harden each had 21, but Lin won the assists battle between the two nine to seven. Dallas had dropped four of five.

Spurs 114, Pistons 75: No Tony Parker but the Spurs ball movement was still crisp all night and that just overwhelmed the Pistons defense. The Spurs did it with incredible balance — Manu Ginobili led them with 17 points, and he scored them all in the first half. Tim Duncan and Danny Green each had 16 points for San Antonio. The Pistons have lost five of their last six.

Memphis 108, Magic 82: This was a rout from the first quarter, from when the Grizzlies went on an 18-6 run and never looked back. Memphis did it with balance, having six players scoring in double digits led by Tayshaun Prince’s 14. Marc Gasol was dishing as he finished with 12 points and 11 assists. As for the Magic, they haven’t held a team under 53 percent shooting in three games now.

Wizards 90, Sixers 87: How about that John Wall — he had six points in the final 1:37 of this game and that was enough to get the Wizards a win. Washington had led most of the second half until an 11-0 Sixers run gave them the lead, setting up Wall’s heroics. Down three late Wall hit a jumper, then on the next possession drew a foul and got to the line, hitting both. Washington was up one and Wall blocked an Evan Turner shot. Then on the next possession Wall iced it with a 20 footer. As everyone has said about Wall, if he gets a steady outside shot.

Kings 119, Bobcats 83: Wow, the Bobcats are bad. Yes, give the Kings some credit for exorcizing the demons of a 1-4 road trip thanks to John Salmons and his 22 points, plus Jason Thompson finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. But mostly, the Bobcats are bad.

  1. kb2408 - Mar 4, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    2.5 games back, 22 to go. Go LAKERS, go!

    • bucrightoff - Mar 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      Indeed, I bet all Laker fans in August thought “You know, it’d be great if we were turning the corner on .500 sixty games into the season, with the playoffs a distinct possibility!”

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        I hear ya…I don’t think anyone thought the Lakers would be here at this point in the season. But with that said, it is looking more and more like they’ll make the playoffs. I don’t think they’ll go far, but I don’t think they’ll be an easy out either.

      • bucrightoff - Mar 4, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        Why is it looking more and more like that? The Lakers are now just getting around to actually beating all the teams they are supposed to. They are also still losing to all the teams everyone believes are better than them. What’s a worse scenario: Making the playoffs and being sent home in a 4-5 game embarassement or missing the playoffs? Either one is far worse than all Laker fans thought coming into the season.

      • tsi431 - Mar 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Considering Dwight could barely even walk in August. I think most fans would be ecstatic. Especially if you told them Steve Nash would miss 2 months and Gasol would miss 4 months of the season. Plus your 25 year old backup center would miss the entire year with a broken hip.

        I think they are over-achieving at this point.

      • cosanostra71 - Mar 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Obviously things haven’t worked out the way everyone thought they would heading into the season, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be excited nonetheless!

    • bucrightoff - Mar 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Based off the fact most Laker fans had 62 wins as this teams floor in August, its incredibly disingenious to suggest anything short of winning a title is overachieving. This is the most disappointing sports team of all time, far more than the 2012 Dream Team Eagles.

  2. eagles512 - Mar 4, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Wall wasn’t even touched on the late foul call. Refs blow another one.

  3. losanginsight - Mar 4, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    17 years in and Kobe is Still the Main Man in the NBA. Jordan is 100% correct. No question.

    • money2long - Mar 4, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      kobe still strikes fear in defenders’ hearts and observers as well. the fearful observers i like to call haters. so the way they vent about a fantastic talent like kobe is to talk negatively instead of appreciate.

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