Here’s what you need to know from a four-game slate Thursday night around the Association:
1) Anthony Davis was a beast, but too much vintage Kobe Bryant got Lakers win in New Orleans. The Lakers have won two in a row behind turn-back-the-clock performances from Kobe, and nobody is happier about that than the Sixers. Well, maybe Byron Scott.
In his last three games, Bryant is averaging 29.3 points and shooting 50 percent from three. He was +16 for the game on Thursday, putting up 27 points on 24 shots in New Orleans. Kobe saved his best for last, with 12 points in the fourth quarter —including the dagger three with just less than a minute to go — to keep the Lakers afloat while the Pelicans made a late run that seemed like it could change the outcome. Anthony Davis was a beast all game and had 39 points, while once again Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson made everyone wonder why they are not starting, putting up 19 and 17 points respectively and both closing the game. The Lakers got 18 points from Jordan Clarkson, and D'Angelo Russell still got almost 30 minutes off the bench (he needs the run).
2) Raptors backcourt of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan too much for Portland. The Trail Blazers backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been surprisingly good this season and are the reason the Trail Blazers are in the hunt for a playoff spot. But they are not as good as the Raptors’ Lowry and DeRozan, who combined for 59 points and hit 8-of-11 threes to lead Toronto to another win. The two men got whatever shot they wanted most of the night, and when Portland went on a run to get within three in the fourth it was Lowry in particular that took over and got the lead back up to double-digits. If you want some in-depth Raptors talk — including who they might go after at the trade deadline — check out the latest PBT Podcast where Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun and I break it all down.
3) Dunk of the night goes to… Ryan Anderson? Yup. He put Kobe in a poster. Ryan Anderson is as good a stretch four as you’re going to find in the league (when healthy), and what makes him special is he can do more than just stand in the corner and shoot threes. The man has skills. And, he can throw down the occasional dunk. Even if Kobe Bryant is in the way.