Kobe gets his revenge as Lakers down Heat 93-83

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You couldn’t have scripted this any better.

Kobe Bryant got revenge on Dwyane Wade for his hard foul in the All-Star Game a week later, with his Lakers winning 93-83 over Miami behind 33 points on 23 shots for the Black Mamba. Wade fouled out (!) scoring just 16 points on 17 field goal attempts. Bryant was clearly motivated to take this game out of the Heat’s hands from the start, scoring 16 points in the first quarter.

But it wasn’t just Bryant and a difficult night for Wade. The Lakers abused the Heat inside with their size advantage, and Metta World Peace had a magnificent game. After struggling the past two years, Lakers fans have become nervous about his production, but the man formerly known as Ron Artest was dominant on both ends of the floor. MWP hit 2-4 from three-point land, a few turnaround jumpers (prepare for the apocalypse) and added four steals. He did all the things he did in his prime and helped contain LeBron James for the most part.

It was a brutally physical game between the two, and the first win for L.A. over the Heat since the formation of the Big 3. Of course it was’t actually over the Big 3. Chris Bosh was out due to personal reasons. The impact there was significant as with Wade struggling and in foul trouble, James was passing to Juwan Howard and Joel Anthony to try and convert buckets. That did not work out well.

Still, it was a statement game for L.A. They’ve been playing well but haven’t had a statement game like this outside of the win over Boston before the break. Now they’re on a significant roll with a loss to the Thunder on the road the only blemish as of late, and took out the team that has dominated them the past two seasons, and the player, LeBron James, which has equally vexed Bryant. The formula for L.A. is still effective. Tough defense, creating quality offense, allowing the defense to get back and set, and so forth. That cycle of control is what allows them to play their best and spacing the floor with MWP and Steve Blake, when effective, makes them an entirely different animal.

Just two weeks removed from a time when they were thought to be unraveling, the Lakers look like the best team in the Western Conference. It’s early, but if the Lakers wanted to start the second half hot to push for a playoff run, this stretch bolstered by a huge win over the Heat was a great way to go.

Joel Embiid: Aron Baynes (‘Man bun’) ‘in NBA just to get dunked on’

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During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.

The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.

Embiid:

Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.

But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.

Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.

Watch James Harden demolish Draymond Green with dunk (video)

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It got buried by a – finallyclose finish, but James Harden‘s dunk over Draymond Green in the Rockets’ Game 4 win over the Warriors last night was spectacular.

Because the foul was called early in the play, Green essentially had free reign to do anything sub-flagrant to Harden during continuation. There wouldn’t have been a second personal foul called.

Harden dunked anyway, an amazing display of athleticism and will.

PBT Podcast: Conference Finals now best of three; plus Metta World Peace

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Both NBA Conference Finals are tied 2-2 in both the East and West — and breaking that down is not even the best part of this podcast.

That’s because NBA champion Metta World Peace joins us to talk about his new book, “No Malice: My Life in Basketball or: How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and Himself to Become an NBA Champion.” World Peace discusses the time he cracked Michael Jordan’s ribs in a summer game, how he was nervous before Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010, and how he was a pioneer in NBA players talking about mental health. (Metta’s portion of the podcast starts at 30:17, if you want to skip ahead).

Prior to that, Dan Feldman and Kurt Helin of NBC Sports dive into a discussion of the two conference finals series. LeBron James brought Cleveland back, but with the Celtics going home will the young players wearing green respond and change the momentum around again?

Do the Warriors have another gear and the ability to win another game on the road in Houston? How are both of those teams going to deal with fatigue from their tight rotations and intense games?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Clippers extend contract of coach Doc Rivers

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While not many people were noticing, Doc Rivers did arguably his best coaching job since coming to Los Angeles this season. Chris Paul forced his way to Houston before the season, then during it Blake Griffin was shipped off to Detroit. Then there were the injuries to Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari, two players expected to be key contributors who played a combined 32 games. The offense too often felt like Lou Williams vs. The World, yet the Clippers finished above .500 (42-40) and pushed for a playoff spot until the final days of the regular season.

The Clippers noticed what a good job he did, and how well he handled things after losing his GM powers to Lawrence Frank. That’s why they have rewarded him with a contract extension (the details of which are not yet public).

“I am proud of the success we have had here over the last five seasons, but there is more work to be done,” said Rivers in a statement released by the team. “We are coming off a year where our team battled through many challenges and much adversity, proving deep talent and even greater potential. I am looking forward to getting back to work on the court to develop our players and compete with the NBA’s elite.”

“Doc is one of the top coaches in the NBA, coming off one of his finest seasons since joining the Clippers,” Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “We trust Doc to lead a competitive, tough, hard-working team while upholding a culture of accountability expected to resonate throughout the organization.”

Rivers was entering the final year of his contract, and neither side wanted him to be in a lame duck status.

For a Clippers franchise in transition, this is a stabilizing move. CP3 and Griffin are gone, DeAndre Jordan can be a free agent this summer, and Los Angeles has some big-picture questions about the direction to take the team it needs to answer. Unlike in Boston, Rivers is going to stick around for this restructuring.

Plus, this is good for Rivers, who makes no secret of the fact he likes living in Los Angeles. He has a comfort level with the city and the organization. Rivers likely took a healthy pay cut from the more than $10 million a year he was getting to be coach and GM, but it’s still good money and an organization he likes. So he is sticking around.