After a couple of brilliant games as the defensive stopper, Kobe Bryant (22 PTS on 8-of-25 shooting with 6 TO) failed to slow down Dwyane Wade (27 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL) and nobody can handle LeBron James (39 PTS, 8 AST, 7 REB, 3 STL) when he gets going. Miami was playing a back-to-back and finishing up a six-game road trip, making the effort of their two superstars even more impressive. Chris Bosh (7 PTS, 6 REB, 6 STL) was relatively quiet as expected, but Dwight Howard (13 PTS, 16 REB) wasn’t quite as dominant in his third start off the shoulder injury, and missed eight free throws. Pau Gasol (12 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST) played 24:42 off the bench in his return from a concussion, so the nice run of Earl Clark (6 PTS, 7 REB in 22:28) is about to end.
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Other January 17 Game Recaps
NYK @ DET in London: The Pistons are now 10-10 at ‘home’ after journeying thousands of miles to get trounced. Carmelo Anthony (26 PTS, 4 AST, 3 REB) was the only Knicks starter to get extended minutes, Tyson Chandler had 10 PRS, 14 REB and 2 BLK despite an illness, and Amare Stoudemire (17 PTS, 4 REB) played his best game yet. Iman Shumpert started at SG, scored eight points in 14:50 and will add some defensive pressure when he gets fully into game shape. For Detroit, Brandon Knight was horrible and got the early hook (18 minutes) in favor of Will Bynum (22 PTS, 4 AST). I was expecting much more from Greg Monroe (11 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) but Andre Drummond (11 PTS, 10 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK in 22:32) helped entertain the 18,689 fans.
LAC @ MIN: Minnesota is a mess right now. You could credit the Clippers’ defense for holding them to 35.7% shooting, but Ricky Rubio — who made his first start of the year — missed a bunch of wide-open looks and Nikola Pekovic seemed timid for once, going 1-for-8 on a variety of short jumpers and hooks. I think his left arm, wrapped to protect a new tattoo, was too sore to try dunking. Pek also suffered a quad bruise in the third quarter and didn’t return. Jamal Crawford (22) led L.A., which let its excellent, veteran second unit finish up this easy win. Blake Griffin (20 PTS, 4 REB) was the only starter to play more than 23 minutes. By the way, Luke Ridnour (21 PTS, 5 AST) played off the ball quite a bit and hit three triples. It was Alexey Shved (8 PTS in 20 minutes off the bench) who took the fantasy hit, before leaving early with a sprained ankle.