LOS ANGELES CA - JANUARY 30: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a call against the Boston Celtics in the second half at Staples Center on January 30 2011 in Los Angeles California. The Celtics defeated the Lakers 109-96. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Kobe Bryant Does It Again, Kevin Durant Can't Overcome Heat

Kobe Bryant was fantastic, but again didn't give his teammates room to breath in a Lakers loss. In other action, LeBron James negated Kevin Durant's go-ahead shot with a key assist, and a missed call in the closing seconds sunk the Hornets.

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Celtics Vs. Lakers: Kobe Bryant Scores 41, But Boston Wins In L.A.

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Kobe Bryant puts up a huge point total, owing in part to many, many shots taken. Yet the L.A. Lakers still lose handily. It happened twice this weekend, first on Friday to the Sacramento Kings (No. 14 in the West!) and then Sunday to that old foe, the Boston Celtics. The C's came away with a 109-96 victory at Staples Center.

Kobe scored 41 in this game. The Lakers led by four at halftime, with Bryant taking 14 shot attempts in 14 minutes through two quarters. (He scored an excellent 22 on those shots.) In the second half, Kobe took 18 shots in 24 minutes, scoring just 19. Kobe was hot in the first half, felt hot through halftime, and helped shoot the Lakers out of the lead. In the end, the total looks grand, and without fault. Forty-one points on 32 shot attempts, that's fine. But it's all about how he got there, and even he knows he didn't need to dominate the offense so much in the third quarter.

Kobe took nearly half (seven of 17) of L.A.'s shots in the third, producing eight points. Meanwhile, Boston opened up a five-point lead and never looked back. Bryant has excellent teammates, including perhaps the most skilled big man in the game in Pau Gasol. And yes, Kobe scored a lot of points efficiently. But we've seen this. The other Lakers aren't involved, they don't perform when Kobe finally gives them a shot, and the Lakers lose.

The Lakers win more than they lose, and they win in June, so who cares? But that's what happened Sunday, and it's what happens in the regular season.


Heat Vs. Thunder: LeBron James Turns To Eddie House For Miami Win

LeBron James delivered a game-winning assist to Eddie House, who delivered a game-winning three with 22 seconds left as the Miami Heat gasped past the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-103 early Sunday. The game was a rollicking good time, with Ford Center in OKC filling with what the talking heads call "playoff intensity." True to form, the final minute of the game slowed to the crawl, with tension building as Kevin Durant dueled with the entire Heat team in fighting for the win.

This isn't to say Durant's team wasn't a huge aid throughout the contest; without Jeff Green's 23 points and 11 rebounds, or Russell Westbrook's 10 assists, Durant wouldn't have had a chance to give OKC a tenuous lead at 103-102 with a silky 18-foot jumper with 35 seconds left. That shot, in fact, came off Green's only assist of the night, with Durant coming off of a (predictably) beautiful Nick Collison screen.

LeBron answered with a killer pass of his own, dishing off to an open House, who enjoys some AC/DC and cocktail mixer every day for breakfast.

The post-game reaction was dominated by Durant's insistence that Chris Bosh, who returned from injury, is fugazy, or "fake tough." That tiff stems from a Durant-Bosh face-off earlier in the game.

Durant's a man of a few criticisms, so when he tells the media that "there are a lot of fake tough guys in the league and he's one of them," the media listens.


Knicks Vs. Pistons: Amar'e Stoudemire, Timofey Mozgov Ram Through Detroit

Amar'e Stoudemire scored 33 points, and Russian rookie Timofey Mozgov added 23 points and 14 rebounds off the bench as the New York Knicks blasted through the Detroit Pistons for a 124-106 win on Sunday. Mozgov hadn't played since Jan. 9, and hadn't played so many as 10 minutes since Dec. 5. But Mike D'Antoni turned to Timo early, and Mozgov was aggressive from the start.

He won three offensive rebounds in seven first quarter minutes, and scored five points. D'Antoni rode him in two-big line-ups with Amar'e all game long, and Mozgov delivered: he scored six points in the second with three more boards, added four points and four rebounds in the third and put up eight points and four rebounds in playing the entire fourth quarter. He's a boss, man.

Amar'e, also a boss, had 26 in the second half. The Knicks' entire margin came in the fourth quarter, as Mozgov and crew finally got some stops on the Pistons. Detroit, led by Ben Gordon's 35, shot 54 percent through three quarter, but just 4-13 (31 percent) in the fourth. The Knicks had no trouble staying hot.


Jazz Vs. Warriors: Monta Ellis Concedes The Floor To Stephen Curry, Who Thrashes Utah

The Golden State Warriors' Monta Ellis is rarely awful; on Sunday, perhaps to test the depths of the Utah Jazz's epic slide, he submitted himself to crappiness. The result? Two points on 1-9 shooting and ... a 96-81 Golden State win! Yes, the Jazz are in serious trouble, unless ...

Ah yes, Deron Williams missed the game with a strained wrist tendon. While a loss to a middling team whose best player had his worst game in years isn't pretty, that it came without the Jazz's talisman is at least justifiable. Earl Watson started for Williams. Yes, that means Earl Watson and Raja Bell were the starting backcourt for a playoff team in 2011.

Stephen Curry picked up the slack for the Warriors, with 27 points on 10-18 shooting and seven assists. Andris Biedrins, the Warriors' maligned Latvian center, was also abnormally decent, with 11 points and 10 rebounds. For the Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko (6) and Paul Millsap (5) combined for 11 of Utah's 23 assists. Miss you, Deron!


Hornets Vs. Suns: Chris Paul Shines, But Late Missed Call Sinks New Orleans

The New Orleans Hornets took a season-high 10-game win streak into Sacramento Saturday night, and lost it. And that was to the Sacramento Kings -- it wasn't as if the Lakers or someone played the Hornets in Sactown. It was the Kings.

The back-end of the back-to-back came Sunday at the Phoenix Suns. The Hornets confirmed the end of their hot streak by losing to the Suns, a below-.500 team, 104-102. Perhaps New Orleans shouldn't have won -- officials missed a goaltending call on Grant Hill with 3.9 seconds.

They also arguably missed a couple of foul calls on Chris Paul's desperation three at the buzzer there. But the goaltend? That's more difficult to excuse. This wasn't a tough apex-of-the-shot call, or a bang-bang backboard miscue. Thornton put the ball off the glass, and then Hill tipped it. Goaltending, plain and simple.

That said, you shant trail the Suns by eight with 18 seconds to go, as the Hornets did, and expect to survive. The Hornets got turnovers on two late Hill inbounds passes, and Paul hit three free throws after Channing Frye fouled him on a deep attempt.

Paul finished with 26 points and 12 assists, but he, nor any Hornet, could stop the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat, who went 9-10 on his way to 25 points and 11 rebounds.

In other action:

Magic 103, Cavaliers 87: What's more impressive, Dwight Howard's 20-20 in 26 minutes, or Ryan Anderson's 23-16 in 30 minutes? The correct answer is ... neither, because the Cavs were the opponent! Thanks for playing.

76ers 110, Nuggets 99: Denver is setting expectations for Monday's epic showdown with Mikhail Prokhorov's Nets in Newark low. Will all 6,000 fans at the Prude boo Carmelo Anthony? Tune in on League Pass and find out! The Nuggets got just 12 from 'Melo on 3-12 shooting, and Denver missed an opportunity to leap the Jazz for the No. 2 spot in the Northwest. Oklahoma City is preparing to run away with the division and the guaranteed top-four seed.

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