Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Lost in Los Angeles
It seems like there is a daily deluge of panic coming from the purple-and-gold corner of Staples Center. A new day, another loss. More questions from prying reporters and more befuddled, vague answers from the team and coaches trying to explain why a roster with so much talent cannot put things together.
The Knicks certainly seem to have things together. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points before leaving with a sprained ankle in the third quarter. If he had stayed in the Lakers may not have made the game close and the margin may have stayed out at 28 points, the Knicks' largest lead in the game.
Sure, Kobe Bryant was fantastic, fighting through back spasms to score 31 points, grab 10 rebounds and dish out six assists. Dwight Howard even looked fine, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds on 8-for-11 shooting. Metta World Peace even had 23 himself.
Even then it was Los Angeles' defense that let it down. And this is where the team's real problems lie. The Knicks shot 53.2 percent from the floor including 12 for 25 from beyond the arc. Los Angeles' pick and roll defense was awful forcing Mike D'Antoni to switch on screens, often leaving Howard guarding Raymond Felton instead of protecting the rim.
The problems in Los Angeles are very deep.
2: Bobcats sinking again
It was one of the nicer stories of the first quarter of the season. The Charlotte Bobcats matching their win total from all of last season in a matter of less than 20 games. It proved that things can turn around quickly if a team is willing to play hard and work for it.
Unfortunately, Charlotte is feeling the hard crash back down to earth. A 10-game losing streak has the Bobcats sinking yet again and falling out of whatever Playoff dreams they may have had at one point and out of respectability.
Charlotte is loing again.
The Hawks made sure of that in a 113-90 thrashing Thursday night. Altanta had 91 points by the end of the third quarter. Charlotte scored only 90 so the game was never in doubt. The strong play from Kemba Walker seems to be subsiding and the team's strong play seems to be succumbing to the realities of the long NBA season.
And so it goes for this franchise. The Bobcats are struggling to push forward and build on the successes of the early part of the season. That is what young teams do, I suppose.
Step back for Damian, please
Devin Harris steals and finishes
Carmelo's big first quarter
4: Line of the Night: Damian Lillard — 29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
It is hard to figure out what this rookie cannot do. Lillard was one of college basketball's best scorers last year and many figured he would bring that to the NBA this year. Lillard has instead taken the NBA by storm and is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year at the quarter pole. Most have been impressed with his play and the Spurs got a close look at what makes him so special.
5: You can quote me on that
It wasn’t easy. There are 14 other teams that are trying to be in your place. It always feels good to be number one. It’s just a quarter of the season and we have a long way and more games to go. It’s important to have this feeling. We still have to improve. I’m sure we have a gap there that we can get better, especially against the better teams. We haven’t played New York and Boston yet.
Boos are boos and I didn’t expect anything different.