NBA Scores And More: Cavaliers Shock The Lakers, Jazz Remain Winless Post-Sloan

Woe be the Lakers, who were dominated by Ramon Sessions and friends. L.A. enters the All-Star break in a full-on depression. Meanwhile, the Warriors are flying high and Paul Pierce is OK (as long as he's matched up against Travis Outlaw).

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Lakers Vs. Cavaliers: Champs Suffer The Most Embarrassing Loss Possible--An Upset In Cleveland

If blow-out losses to the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats made fans of the Los Angeles Lakers queasy, Wednesday's 104-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers must have resulted in many stomachs' instant revolution. The result is revolting for the Lakers, who enter the All-Star break in some sort of sour mood. The Cavaliers, who lost by 55 points when they visited the Lakers in January, in the middle of that 26-game losing streak, let Kobe Bryant shoot the champs out of the game and re-exposed L.A.'s real problems at point guard.

Bryant shot 8-24. He hit just 5-16 shots in the second half as the Lakers tried to make up a five-points halftime deficit. Meanwhile, the Cavs' Ramon Sessions, an offseason trade pick-up from the Wolves, ripped off 32 points in quick relief of Mo Williams (who played just three minutes in his return to the starting line-up). Sessions earned 14 free throws and shot 9-16 from the floor, just abusing Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.

Andrew Bynum was atrocious (2-12 from the floor), but Pau Gasol fought. The Spaniard finished with 30 points and 20 rebounds in defeat, but most of the scoring came in the first half. Gasol took 12 field goals and eight free throws in the first half, and just four field goals and six free throws in the second half. That's criminal, especially against a centerless team.

J.J. Hickson manned up with nine offensive rebounds to be effective despite a poor shooting night. The Cavs' hero, though, was Christian Eyenga -- dubbed by Cleveland blogs as Skyenga. The Congolese forward blew up Kobe on the left baseline; Gasol's help was a bit late, and the All-Star paid the price.

Kobe immediately blames the help defense there; heck, even before Eyenga takes off Bryant looks mad. In fairness to the help defenders, perhaps they didn't expect Christian Eyenga to so easily blow by a guy who always happens to show up on the league's All-Defense teams.

Kobe and the Lakers now get to go to L.A. to play host to the entire league for the weekend. Fun!


Knicks Vs. Hawks: Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Aggressive In Win Over Atlanta

The New York Knicks, behind 23 points from All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire, bounced past the Atlanta Hawks 102-90 on Wednesday. Stoudemire, who shot 8-17 from the floor, helped the Knicks win the game from the line, where New York was 17-21 for the game. The Hawks earned just nine free throws, hitting five.

The game was otherwise evenly matched. Josh Smith (6-16) nor Jamal Crawford (3-11) shot particularly well, which held back Atlanta's offense. But New York did nothing so spectacular it had to win. Atlanta, in fact, should have had an advantage thanks to 5-7 shooting on three-pointers by Mike Bibby. But New York held its ground once it took a lead in the first quarter.

It remains to be seen whether New York can catch Atlanta for the No. 5 seed in the East after the All-Star break. The Knicks are 5.5 games back, and without a major trade don't figure to get a whole lot better than "just above .500." But the Hawks aren't as good as their record indicate, and could plummet to Earth as their record gets more difficult. Grabbing No. 5 -- and a likely first-round date with the Magic instead of the Bulls -- would be a huge victory for New York.


Warriors Vs. Jazz: Monta Ellis Shreds, Hands Utah Third Straight Post-Sloan Loss

The Golden State Warriors continued their march to glory (or plausible respectability, at least) with a 107-100 win over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Monta Ellis dropped 35 points on 16-25 shooting, and the Warriors hit 8-19 from beyond the arc. Each member of Utah's entire starting frontcourt -- Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles -- scored at least 20, but Deron Williams shot just 5-13 and had five turnovers in exchange for his 11 assists.

The Jazz hit just three three-pointers in 14 attempts, with Williams and Miles striking out on most of the shots. Neither the Jazz offense or defense has improved under Tyrone Corbin, who took over for Salt Lake institution Jerry Sloan a week ago. Golden State's offensive rating for the game was up around 114, extremely high considering that on the season the Warriors are No. 11 in offense. That the Jazz failed to capitalize on Golden State's awful defense is more alarming, considering that Utah is a really solid offensive team. Or, at least it was under Sloan.

Whether Utah feels comfortable making major personnel decisions at the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 24 remains to be seen. This mix certainly isn't looking like a safe bet for the playoffs, though.


Nets Vs. Celtics: Paul Pierce Bounces Back To Lead Boston Past New Jersey

On Sunday, on national T.V. against the rival Miami Heat, Paul Pierce shot 0-10 and looked completely broken down and overmatched. As it turns out, rest and a more favorable individual match-up -- you, Travis Outlaw, are no MVP -- and Pierce would be just fine. He scored 31 points on 10-18 shooting to lead the Boston Celtics past the New Jersey Nets 94-80 on Wednesday.

Boston's offense was otherwise mediocre; mediocre would be a compliment to New Jersey's offense most nights, and Wedesday was no exception. The C's held N.J. to 39 percent shooting and earned 17 turnovers (to Boston's nine). New Jersey also had just 15 free throw attempts to Boston's 39.

Derrick Favors was the only Net who ended the game with a positive plus-minus at +1. But he had five fouls in less than 20 minutes, and only ended up with four points and seven rebounds. Someday, he will go strong and he will punish the Celtics. Or the Jazz.


Blazers Vs. Hornets: LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews Pace Portland Past New Orleans

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 34 points and Wesley Matthews added 24 as the Portland Trail Blazers slid past the New Orleans Hornets 103-96 in the Rose Garden. The loss, the Hornets' third straight and seventh in eight games, dropped New Orleans percentage points behind the Blazers for the No. 5 seed in the West. Portland, New Orleans, Denver, Utah and Memphis are now in a virtual dead heat for four playoff spots.

The Hornets have dearly missed center Emeka Okafor, who has now missed nine games with a strained left oblique. The biggest drop-off is where Okafor is best: post defense. Aldridge shredded David West and any other middling big Hornets coach Monty Williams could throw out there, and it's clear that unless Okafor comes back fully healthy soon, New Orleans will be ill-prepared to both capture a playoff bid and do something with it.

MVP candidate Chris Paul had among his worst games of the season, scoring eight points on 2-6 shooting, five assists and four turnovers in 41 minutes. West had 27 and Willie Green added 24, but it wasn't enough.


Clippers Vs. Timberwolves: Blake Griffin Doesn't Have Kevin Love's Double-Doubles, But Gets The Win

Blake Griffin and Kevin Love will be teammates for the Western Conference All-Stars on Sunday, though the latter probably won't play much. Griffin, the L.A. star, has the stage for three straight nights as a contestant in the Rookie Challenge, dunk contest and big shows, while Love will be content to chase down rebounds in the three-point shoot-out. (I'm kidding. I think.)

But it's not All-Star Weekend yet, and Griffin's Los Angeles Clippers entered the break on a high note in defeating Love's Minnesota Timberwolves 98-90. Love had 18 points and 18 rebounds, his 42nd consecutive double-double. Griffin scored 29 points. All is right in the world!

In other action:

Magic 101, Wizards 76: That isn't legal, Andray Blatche.

(Thanks, Outside the NBA.)

Heat 103, Raptors 95: Toronto didn't savage Chris Bosh the way Cleveland savaged LeBron James. The fans were still too busy booing an invisible Vince Carter.

Pistons 115, Pacers 109: The storied Frank Vogel Run has officially come to an end. The gravity of All-Star Break Vacations! was too great a force.

Mavericks 116, Kings 100: Jason Kidd hit six threes in a masterful third-quarter run that killed the Kings. Sacramento, by the way, hit four three-pointers all game.

76ers 114, Rockets 105: You know your defense is bad if you're giving up 114 points to the Sixers.

Nuggets 94, Bucks 87: Carmelo Anthony had 38 points. It is not believed he would sign an extension if traded to Milwaukee.

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