Starting 5


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

1: Life for LA

Excuse everyone for feeling down on the Lakers.

Los Angeles lost a big game in Oklahoma City against a likely Playoff opponent and missed another opportunity to gain ground in the Western Conference — or accomplish the miniscule goal of being better than .500. Then the Lakers came back the next night in New Orleans and fell behind by 25 points to the lowly Hornets.

It looked bad for the Lakers.

Things change quickly for a desperate team though. The Lakers certainly should be desperate now. And with a chance to gain another game in the Playoff race, Los Angeles found a way somehow.

The Lakers scored the final 20 points of the game and stormed from behind to defeat the Hornets on the road for a 108-102 victory. Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Dwight Howard had 15 rebounds and a game-clinching block of Robin Lopez in the dying moments.

Is it encouraging for the Lakers to need such a big comeback against the Hornets? Probably not.

What is important is that with the Jazz's loss to the Cavaliers earlier in the evening, the Lakers are two games back of the final Playoff spot. Los Angeles, despite that crushing loss to a very good Thunder team, is still playing extremely well. And they proved once again that when they get everything together they can be quite dangerous.

Don't give Los Angeles a chance.

2: Still hot

The Heat were on the ropes against another team with a record way worse than their. In fact, they blew a 20-point second-half lead against the lowly Magic. They had Jameer Nelson making jump shots and Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless attacking the basket and Nikola Vucevic grabbing rebounds left and right again.

Still, the Heat had LeBron James. They had the championship experience and the benefit of the doubt.

LeBron James finished things off by driving to the left side of the rim and making a lay in with 3.2 secodns left to extend Miami's franchise-best win streak to 16 games on a 97-96 win over the Magic.

There were warts exposed. Vucevic once again had a big rebounding game with 25 points and 21 rebounds. Orlando did a decent job keeping Miami from getting out in transition. The Heat also failed to score a field goal in the final seven minutes until James hit that game-winning shot.

Warts indeed.

Still Miami was able to draw fouls and stay in the game despite the field goal drought. The Heat got to the line 31 times and fouled out three of the Magic's key players defending James. The free throws kept the Heat in the game. Eventually the better team by record won.


Get out of Tony Wroten's way

Fool me once

Rubio to Williams

4: Line of the Night: Blake Griffin — 23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford probably provided the highlight of the night when he took a Jamal Crawford pass for a windmill dunk on the fast break. Griffin's real highlight though was his third career triple double in a 117-101 win over the Bucks. Griffin has continued to expand his overall game and that continues to make the Clippers very dangerous.

5:  You can quote me on that

It was a struggle. But we are not the Miami Heat. We are not the Oklahoma City Thunder. On a lot of nights, it's not going to be pretty. That's just a fact.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson after Warriors' 87-83 win over the Kings

They’re an NBA team, and they have talent, and we gave them an opportunity to come out with energy and let them believe they have a chance. That’s something we just can’t do, so we had to come out in the second and be decisive about it.

Nets center Brook Lopez following his team's 99-78 win over the Bobcats

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