Ball Don't Lie - NBA


Los Angeles Lakers 110, Boston 109 (OT)

At some point, and I'd rather not delve too deep into this based off of one game, we're going to have to stop wondering if the Boston Celtics can stop the Lakers' offense, and start wondering if any defense can stop Los Angeles' offense.

There's just so much to this offense, that when run correctly, seemingly no brand of inspired defense can stay in front of it.

I'm not concerned with motivation of chest-bumping or revenge or whatever sort of soap opera-y headlines you want to throw at this pairing. I am completely and utterly concerned, in a good way, with an offense that appears to have a counter for everything that's thrown at it. With fresher legs and a few more finishes, you almost feel as if this team could have dropped 125. On the Celtics.

48 percent shooting for the Lakers, a day after playing in Toronto, against the league's best defense. The ball was moving, good looks abounded, and if this team would hit its free throws (17-29, 58.6 percent), this probably wouldn't have been much of a game.

Both teams are truly special, though. They've given us two outright classics this season, and as much as we're enjoying Cleveland's resurgence and San Antonio's sustained prominence, one can only hope for a seven-game extension to what has been 101 minutes of fantastic basketball between the Lakers and Celtics in 2008-09.

Utah 115, Dallas 87

Really impressed with Utah's defense in this win. I know the Jazz had 94 points entering the fourth quarter, and that the front of the rim seemed warm and inviting to Deron Williams all night, but Utah made a point to really get over screens and get out on shooters. That's what won them this game.

And Dallas, a team that has a tendency to fold once it gets hit in the mouth, folded after it got hit in the mouth.

34 points and 12 assists for Williams in 34 minutes. He turned it over five times, but we didn't mind, and it was nice to see him looking healthy again.

31 assists on 42 field goals for the Jazz, who out-rebounded the Mavericks 54-32, and shot (nice down-screens) 12-26 from long-range.

Philadelphia 99, Indiana 94

You're not going to beat any team when they shoot twice as many free throws as you, when your point guard goes 1-6 from the floor and isn't named Mark Jackson, and when your starting power forward and center combine for five rebounds in over 44 minutes of play.

The Sixers shut the Pacers down last night, forcing misses and grabbing rebounds instead of the typical Philadelphia habit of either causing turnovers or allowing extra passes and easy looks. Samuel Dalembert essentially came through with his combined December output in one night (20 boards, 18 points), and Andre Iguodala (20 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, four turnovers, four steals) continued his solid play.

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