Starting 5: Fight for your life


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

1: Rondo's streak ends with scuffle, Celtics reign too?

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/ZimbioIt is probably a little too early to declare Boston's reign at the top of the Atlantic Division over. Rumors of the Celtics' demise have been shot down numerous times in the past. Boston is not going anywhere.

Something symbolic though happened. The Celtics tried to impose their physical will on the upstart Nets and establish themselves as the leaders of the division. The Nets responded in kind, matching the Celtics' physicality and making another statement about the Nets place as a contender in the Eastern Conference.

Rajon Rondo took exception to a fould Kris Humphries comitted on Kevin Garnett. That started a shoving match underneath the basket and will surely lead to suspensions and fines for Rondo, Humphries and Gerald Wallace. The ejection for Rondo ended his amazing 37-game streak of recording at least 10 assists as he managed only three assists before his ejection.

More importantly though, the Nets did not back down. They won the game 95-83.

Brooklyn's bench scored 52 points including an impressive double double from Andray Blatche (17 points, 13 rebounds). It was the kind of ugly game that new contenders often struggle to win — Brooklyn shot only 40.2 percent from the floor. But the Nets scored another impressive intra-division win.

Maybe this is the Celtics' last gasp.

2: Finally

Rob Carr/Getty Images/ZimbioThe Wizards needed 13 unlucky games to get their first win. Sorry Portland, someone had to be first. An 0-82 season just seems impossible.

Washington finally put everything together in an 84-82 triumph over Portland at Verizon Center on Wednesday. It was likely a cathartic moment for the Washington faithful.

Of course, it is just one win and there is still tons of work to do. But finishing a game and winning with good play at the end of the game are likely to be encouraging and confidence-inspiring for this young Wizards team.

Jordan Crawford scored 19 points off the bench to lead Washington and Trevor Ariza had 14 points. Kevin Seraphin added a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Now comes the next step for the Wizards. Winning game No. 2. With the first win out of the way, the pressure is off and the hope is that the Wizards start playing looser and freer. The pressure of trying to win the first game and answering questions about the losing streak.

Those questions and distractions are gone now. So maybe the Wizards can get back to the work and accomplish the goals they believe they can achieve.


Pistons can't miss in 40-point win

Hamilton whips it to Noah

Lamar Odom still gets up

4: Line of the Night: Kevin Durant — 37 points, 13/22 FGs, 7 rebounds

Kevin Durant, excuse the pun, stole James Harden's thunder in Harden's return to Oklahoma City. Durant had another sublime scoring performance while helping hold Harden to one of his worst games of the year. It is pretty clear what the pecking order is in the West. The Rockets are far behind the Thunder.

5:  You can quote me on that

Like I told the guys going into the fourth quarter, it's all a test. It's a test of your character, a test of what you are made of, how you are going to stay together, how you are going to grind games out.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro on the Clippers finishing in the fourth quarter

I think I’ve earned it, honestly. I think I’m in the lead in 3-point percentage. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be there.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan on entering the 3-point shootout after hitting a buzzer-beating three to end the second quarter

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