The combination of the Lakers taking lesser teams lightly and the Bobcats being the most improved team in the NBA resulted in a double overtime masterpiece for Charlotte out West.
With a little over two minutes left in regulation, Andrew Bynum was assessed a flagrant foul when he put a forearm-shiver into the ribs of Gerald Wallace, causing him to leave the game with a five-point Bobcats lead.
The Lakers fought back and Kobe Bryant found Derek Fisher for a nothing-but-net three with 14 seconds left.
In the first overtime Kobe took over, he was abusing Raja Bell and creating for his teammates. Despite Bryant's great effort he ended up fouling out on a cheap blocking foul beyond the perimeter, leaving the Lakers without their MVP.
LA was deflated without Bryant and Trevor Ariza, who they lost earlier in the game. Charlotte was able to tie it up and LA could not get off a game-winning shot, sending the teams into the second overtime period.
Andrew Bynum looked great in the second overtime by displaying a plethora of moves, but he missed a crucial bucket down the stretch. Bynum, who was just named Western Conference Player of the Week, finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks in 41 minutes of play.
While Bynum is looking great, the question the Lakers should be asking is where is Pau Gasol? He seems to disappear when his team needs him most and he seriously lacks the ability to create his own shot.
If teams can attack Kobe Bryant and get him in foul trouble, it will handicap the Lakers more than people think.
Charlotte exemplified trust and teamwork Tuesday night in their fifth overtime win of the season.
Trading away Jason Richardson has been the best move in franchise history and under the tutelage of Larry Brown the Bobcats could be a year away from the playoffs.
Sacramento Kings 110, at Cleveland Cavaliers 117
For the first time in his life, LeBron James’ triple-double was overshadowed by the play of a teammate.
Mo Williams stole the show Tuesday night with 43 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, almost securing a triple-double of his own. Bron played a loud second fiddle with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The Cavs are undefeated at Quicken Loans Arena this season, running off 21 wins in a row. A 9-3 record in January has Cleveland in first place in the NBA, despite injuries to Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Delonte West.
Less than a month into his 24th birthday, James is having the best month of his career. He is averaging 28.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game during the month.
King James will happily collect another Player of the Month award on his way to the MVP.
Cleveland is anticipating the return of their center Ilgauskas sometime within the next week. Injuries were a concern for Ilgauskas early in his career but he's been constant in the lineup during the LeBron James-era.
With the big man back in the lineup, James won't have to hit the glass as hard, but he will still have to create on the perimeter in West's absence.
By coming back sometime in the next week it will give Ilgauskas time to acclimate himself before the Cavs put their home win-streak on the line against the Lakers on Feb. 8th.
For Sacramento the loss was their sixth straight and they can chalk-up number seven when they face Boston on Wednesday night.
Kevin Martin led the Kings with 35 points, seven rebound, and seven assists. Martin made 15-17 free throws, he ranks tops in the NBA with 8.2 made per game.
San Antonio Spurs 106, at Utah Jazz 100
No two coaches teach team offense and defense better than Greg Popovich and Jerry Sloan. In this meeting of the minds offense prevailed, as both teams gave up more points than their season averages on defense.
The game was tied entering the final quarter of play, and it took a team effort for San Antonio to survive Tuesday night.
The quality of the coaches in this contest was reflected by the play of their teams. In the face of constant defensive pressure both teams limited themselves to 13 turnovers.
The Jazz dominated the glass at +11 in the rebound ratio, but 51.4 percent shooting from the field and 55.0 percent from three was the difference maker for the Spurs.
Manu Ginobili had a roller costar night against Utah. His 13 points and six turnovers were not up to par, but his nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals showed his diversity.
Ginobili's most clutch stat was shooting 11-12 from the stripe while the rest of the team went 10-20.
Ginobili has only started four games this season, his lowest career total, but he is satisfied with his role on the team. It's not who starts the game, it's who finishes, and Manu Ginobili is one of the best finishers in the NBA.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Matt Bonner all broke the 20 point plateau; Bonner doing it with six threes.
For Utah, the injuries to Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko are really taking their toll. The Jazz have lost six of their last eight including four in a row.
On Tuesday night, Utah’s bench contributed six points to San Antonio's 25.
During the skid, Utah has dropped below Dallas in the playoff hunt. The two teams meet Feb. 5th.
Indiana Pacers 111, at Orlando Magic 135
The Magic blew Indiana out of the water with an 18-36 first quarter. From there it was a jog and no member of the Pacers played over 30 minutes, seemingly putting up the white flag.
The Magic had eight players in double figures. Mickael Pietrus led the charge with 27 points in his first game back from injury.
Denver Nuggets 100, at Memphis Grizzlies 85
This game was closer than the score suggests, but not close enough for Denver to be worried. Chauncey Billups led all scorers with 29 points.
Carmelo Anthony recorded a DNP Coach's Decision suggesting he is almost ready to return to the lineup, a big plus for the Nuggets.
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