Mike Brown relents to reason, will start Ramon Sessions

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It didn’t take a scout’s eye the last few games to realize that when Ramon Sessions was on the floor, the Lakers offense was much, much better. We’ve covered all this before — with Sessions on the floor the Lakers offense has been as good as any in the league.

That situation led to calls all over Lakersland to start Sessions over Steve Blake. Which is kind of a moot point — Sessions played nearly 29 minutes against the Mavericks last game and Blake 17. The old coaching axiom is it doesn’t matter who starts a game, it matters who finishes — Sessions played in the fourth quarter and Blake sat against Dallas.

But still, usually you want to start your best players. And so Sessions is getting the start Friday night against Portland, Brown told the media at shootaround.

It’s the smart move. The Lakers with Sessions starting could get out to an early lead and get a comfortable win against a slumping Portland team. But take them lightly, start slow and you can end up losing like Memphis did Thursday night.

This is the rotation everyone knows the Lakers would have in the playoff, better to get guys comfortable in roles and rotations now to build good habits for the playoffs. Or, at least that’s what Mike Brown is hoping.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)