10 Fast Facts from Last Night’s Games — Kobe Bryant Returns, D-12 Celebrates Birthday in Style, Boston Destroys New York

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Kobe BryantThe wait is over. The NBA returned one of its greatest legends on Sunday, December 8, and the entire basketball community was on the edge of their respective seats during that dramatic return.

Here’s everything you need to know about last night’s games. It all starts with the Black Mamba.

1. Kobe Bryant made his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers during a 106-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Kobe finished with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 28 minutes of action. He shot 2-of-9 from the floor, 0-for-3 from distance and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe.

It wasn’t perfect, but it only took Bryant 240 days to return from a torn Achilles tendon. At the age of 35. That’s what you call superhuman.

2. For the Raptors, power forward Amir Johnson scored a career-high 32 points on an obscene 14-of-17 shooting from the field. Johnson added 10 rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two steals.

3. Kevin Durant finished with 36 points and 10 assists, and Russell Westbrook had 26 points, 13 assists and seven boards as the Oklahoma City Thunder destroyed the Indiana Pacers 118-94. Paul George scored 32 points for Indiana, but Durant dominated the reigning Most Improved Player of the Year during the first half. That’s when the game was decided.

Oklahoma City moves to 15-4 overall and 10-0 at home. Indiana drops to an NBA-best 18-3 and 9-3 on the road.

4. Dwight Howard destroyed his former team by posting 20 points, 22 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals to leadDwight Howard Rockets sleeves the Houston Rockets to a 98-88 win over the Orlando Magic. This monstrous performance came on D-12′s 28th birthday.

Howard now has three straight games with at least 18 rebounds. This was Howard’s first 20 and 20 game of the year and the 16th of his career.

5. Terrence Jones stepped up for the Rockets with 16 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and two steals. Jones has six double-doubles through 19 games in 2013-14 after tallying just one in 19 games during the 2012-13 season.

6. Each of the New York Knicks’ past three games have been decided by at least 30 points. After securing two blowout wins, the Knicks suffered their third-worst home loss in franchise history.

The Boston Celtics came to Madison Square Garden and dismantled their rivals 114-73.

7. Boston’s starting lineup included Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger. New York’s had Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani.

Boston’s starting five scored 89 points. New York’s finished with 29.

8. Carmelo Anthony was 5-of-15 for 19 points. He’s shot 40.0 percent or worse from the field in 10 of the 16 games that he has at Carmelo Anthonyleast 15 field goal attempts. He’s shot better than 50.0 percent in all three games that he’s attempted 14 or less.

9. The Miami Heat defeated the Detroit Pistons 110-95 behind 24 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals from LeBron James. Roger Mason Jr. added 12 points on a season-high four three-point field goals and Ray Allen scored 18 while starting in the injured Dwyane Wade’s place.

Due to its loss, Detroit fell to 10-11. Just three Eastern Conference teams have a record of .500 or better.

10. In defeat, Pistons center Andre Drummond recorded 19 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Drummond recorded eight offensive rebounds and has at least six offensive boards in six straight games.

Bonus Fact: Jordan Crawford made a career-high six three-point field goals during Boston’s win.

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  1. Nothing Superhuman about Kobe’s performance. He almost had a Triple Double – 8 Turnovers.

    Kobe was slow, with no explosion and had his shot blocked. Lakers might have won if he didn’t play. Sure he will start making more shots, but that would only make him an ordinary player instead of a liability.

    The real test will come today and for how he recovers for the next game, but to allow him to play as much as 28 minutes in his first game back was not wise. Lakers continue to show that they have no discipline when it comes to tell Kobe what to do, which is why he was injured in the first place by playing too many minutes.

    Unless Kobe revives his explosiveness, Lakers are going to lose a lot of games and eventually the media will tire of this circus. And if Kobe tries to push himself too hard, he’s more than likely to have another serious injury. Then Derek Rose will be able to say – “see, I told you so” (about coming back too soon from a serious injury).

    BTW, few people know this, but Jason Terry just admitted that the reason he hasn’t been playing in recent weeks for Nets is that he came back too soon from knee surgery, and not because of a bruised knee (what we had been told). Terry said that he just wanted to get back into the game and couldn’t wait (sound familiar?).

    • Maxwell Ogden says:

      Kobe Bryant was playing in his first game back from injury. While his quality of play may have been underwhelming, it’s safe to say that the most surprising aspect of his return is that he played anything more than 20 minutes.

      Bryant may not have posted All-Star numbers, but he’s back. The No. 1 and only focus of a player in their first game back from any injury is testing their BODY, not their game. He was passive throughout for a reason, because he knew how important it was for him to get his body in game-shape.

      Until that happens, then it’s way, way too soon to draw any conclusions about Kobe Bryant or the Los Angeles Lakers’ future.

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