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Three Stars of the Night: Guys that got (or almost got) their team wins

Mar 7, 2013, 2:11 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

Lots of close games, lots of crazy buzzer beaters on Wednesday night. But it wasn’t just the Jeff Greens and Klay Thompsons that got their team wins, it was others like the three guys below. Except for the Third Star, he tried but got undone by some guy named LeBron.

Third Star: Nikola Vucevic (25 points, 21 rebounds)

Orlando almost did it, they almost came from 20 back to end the Heat’s winning streak (and they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that meddling LeBron James). Nikola Vucevic was a big part of that, he had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the second half and provided that inside presence you must have to challenge the Heat.

Second Star: Blake Griffin (23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists)

Yes, Blake Griffin can dunk. Sweet tomahawk dunks off between-the-legs alley-opp passes. But if you think that’s all he can do you haven’t watched him outside of highlights for a while. He is a load in the post right now. He has a good spin move, good footwork, and he plays to his strengths — his athleticism — and he gets to the rim and takes good shots. He was 8-of-9 in the restricted area against the Bucks (a very good shot blocking team) and made a good defender in Larry Sanders look bad a couple times in there.

First Star: Kobe Bryant (42 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds)

It feels at time like Kobe Bryant is willing the Lakers to the playoffs. At age 34. With an elbow that is flaring up and an assortment of injuries that would sideline most players. For nearly 42 minutes Wednesday the Lakers looked like they would get blown out by the Pelicans-to-be, but Kobe would not let that happen. He had 18 points and only missed one shot in the fourth quarter, plus he had a couple assists. He would not let the Lakers lose (and the Hornets helped by collapsing).

I don’t know how far Kobe’s Jedi powers extend but the Jazz and Rockets continue to give the Lakers all the help they need to let Los Angeles get into the playoffs. What once seemed out of reach is coming together for the Lakers. Much like this game.

  1. themagicfanguy - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    The refs save the Heat’s streak. How nice of them.

    • miamatt - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Sour, sour grapes.

      I mean, seriously, every team that loses can make this claim. It requires neither effort, intellect, nor guts.

  2. loungefly74 - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Kobe is a monster! ballin’ hard…
    …Glad to see Blake found his “left ball” after the Ibaka incident…
    …and some european guy did as well. i’m kidding, good for Nikola getting the rare 20/20.

  3. magicbucs - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    That darn lebron James and those mangy refs. Wow! for those who didn’t see that game…. it was a gift from the refs and stern. Those foul calls and non calls where so obvious. The poor magic players would get mugged and no call, next play down the other end they have much less contact and get called for a foul. And that flop on Battier under a min to play should of been a no call or foul on Battier. His feet where not set and contact was minor..

    3 magic players fouled out. Just so happened to be the 3 players that gave the heat problems.
    Still a proud magic fan!!

    • thestudiokida - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Reffing seemed fair most of the game but I agree that the Heat got all the calls at the end. The Battier drawn charge was BS. I’m a Heat fan and I know it was BS. Grown 250lb men don’t just fall down. They flop. As if Battier couldn’t have put a foot behind him to stay upright. Every guy you see hitting the ground is a flopper.

      • miamatt - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        “Falling down” has absolutely nothing to do with the definition of a charge. Being in position does. That charge gets called every time.

  4. broadstbully - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:39 AM


    One question. If his feet weren’t set, regardless of the severity of the collision, how can you say that he flopped? A body in motion, off-balance, doesn’t require much opposing force to be tossed about. Not arguing the call, but the flopping claim sounds pretty ridiculous, considering your stated viewpoint of the play.

  5. thestudiokida - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Poor choice of words in the title. When you say guys who got their team wins ON A NIGHT WHEN JEFF GREEN, LEBRON JAMES, AND KLAY THOMPSON HIT GAME WINNING SHOTS… well you look foolish when you choose Vucevic and Blake Griffin instead.

  6. cosanostra71 - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Loved Vucevic at USC and glad he’s balling in the NBA. There haven’t been a whole lot of Trojans that have been successful in the pros lately.

    • ahmedovic8 - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      DeMar DeRozan?

      • cosanostra71 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        Yeah, DeRozan and Mayo are alright too. But overall we aren’t quite the pro factory that those damn Bruins are.

  7. losanginsight - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    The refs have been helping out the refs for a while now but no refs can calm the Storm that is Kobe Bryant. Still ballin’

  8. themagicfanguy - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    @miamatt No it doesn’t, because it wasn’t a charge. Dude was in the air! Only the darlings get calls like that in crunch time.

  9. savvybynature - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Not entirely sure, but that looked like a walk by Crawford on that oop.

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