This week in the NBA was a busy one, with LeBron James posting a career-high 61 points, Joakim Noah imitating a teenage girl on national television and the story of Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo hitching a ride with a fan to a game. Check out what you missed in this week's NBA roundup.
LeBron and his mask drop 61 points on the Bobcats
It appears that all this talk of Kevin Durant winning the NBA MVP trophy got LeBron James riled up. Or maybe it's the new mask. Or maybe it's just that LeBron James is really, really good at basketball. The four-time MVP dropped a career-high 61 points on the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.
Despite the fact their defense is ranked sixth in points per possession, Charlotte has allowed two 60-point games this season, as Carmelo Anthony racked up a career-high 62 points against the Bobcats on Jan. 24 at Madison Square Garden. James impressed everyone but Dominique Wilkins, and it's time to wonder if the Cats inadvertently woke the sleeping playoff giant a few weeks early.
Joakim Noah had a busy week
The Chicago Bulls' star center has been everywhere lately. Noah has been keeping the Bulls afloat this season, and on Sunday, he dropped his fifth career triple-double against the New York Knicks. Also, here's Seth Rosenthal with the Vine of the week from Friday.
This happened because reports surfaced Thursday that Noah had recruited Carmelo Anthony to come play in Chicago when the Knicks star hits free agency. Noah was imitating a gossiping teenager in shooting them down.
The former Florida Gators big man is the primary reason why the Bulls haven't dropped out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of star guard Derrick Rose. Noah has been a treat to watch in the high post, orchestrating the offense and shooting gawky jumpers.
To answer your question, yes, Kobe Bryant does have a piano in the shape of his Black Mamba logo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo gets a ride from a fan to a game, is adorable
On Wednesday, we learned a touching story about Internet sensation and smoothie aficionado Giannis Antetokounmpo getting a ride from a fan to a Bucks game after he ran out of money. After this was first reported by Chris Mannix of SI.com, Brew Hoop's Eric Buenning got in touch with the fan and got her side of the story. Apparently, Antetokounmpo's credit card wasn't working correctly and he had just sent all his money to his family in Greece. The fan saw the Bucks rookie running to the Bradley Center on game day and offered him a ride. Giannis reportedly signed an autograph for the fan and thanked them profusely. No word yet on if they're meeting up for smoothies later.
Is there any hope for the New York Knicks?
There's nothing that embodies the Knicks' season quite like the unrequited sorrow of a prepubescent fan watching his team squander a 14-point lead to the Pistons, only to lose by double digits. It's hope, disappointment and the smell of Jolly Ranchers all rolled into one big head-shaking, human bundle of emotion. Sort of like Raymond Felton.
Russell Westbrook's lightning-fast triple-double
It's not clear if Russell Westbrook has knocked 100 percent of the dust off his boots after returning to the lineup for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it is clear that the Philadelphia 76ers aren't good enough to handle him even when he's not at his best physically. Westbrook dominated in a 125-92 Thunder win, posting a triple-double in his first 21 minutes of play, the second-fastest ever recorded in the NBA. The Thunder star finished with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting, adding 14 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Klay Thompson's game-winner in Indy
Mark Jackson is determined to make posting up 6'7 Klay Thompson a thing, even when it's against one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA. Thompson, who is averaging just 0.87 points per play in the post this season according to MySynergySports.com, went mano-a-mano with George Hill at the buzzer as the Golden State Warriors took home a 98-96 win over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
Jackson has perhaps over-estimated Thompson's ability here this season, pushing him to the block when the Warriors get a size mismatch. Hill is no slouch down low and a strong defender at that. But the set Golden State wanted at the end of the game was clearly for the post up, and it worked to perfection. Stephen Curry clearly wasn't concerned, nonchalantly walking back to the Warriors bench before Thompson's shot was even hoisted up.
Now you're talking my language
Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 7, 2014
Hipsters across the globe rejoiced on Thursday as the Toronto Raptors announced they will be bringing back their purple "Dino" jerseys next season as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. A prime example of peak mid-1990s design, the team announced they will only wear the jerseys for "select home games" next season.
76ers retire Allen Iverson's jersey
The Philadelphia 76ers retired Allen Iverson's No. 3 jersey on Mar. 1, holding a ceremony for the 2000-2001 NBA MVP before their loss to the Washington Wizards. Iverson, who won Rookie of the Year, two All-Star Game MVPs and the league MVP trophy while he was in Philadelphia, appeared deeply moved by the crowd chanting "M-V-P" as his number ascended to the rafters.
Also, the Sixers gave him a boat.
Portland erases 30-point Mavericks lead, lose anyway
Things just couldn't go right for the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. First, they were down by 30 points at one point in the first half to the Dallas Mavericks, who were laying on the defensive pressure. Then, after a big third quarter by forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers looked sure to take home a victory late. Devin Harris had other ideas:
Portland squandered its lead in the fourth and, despite going to Aldridge on four straight possessions to end the game, somehow lost by five points in the final minute. Both fanbases got to see the best and worst of their respective teams and it all came within the same 48 minutes. Gross.
Cavaliers to retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas' jersey
The Cleveland Cavaliers will retire Big Z's No. 11 jersey in a ceremony during their game with the Knicks on Saturday. Despite Kyrie Irving spilling the beans three years ago, the Cavaliers have waited some time since the Lithuanian retired at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
Ilgauskas played in Cleveland for the entirety of his career save for his final season, when he followed LeBron James to the Miami Heat. James has been rumored to appear at the game to honor his former teammate, but there's no word on whether he will be wearing his black mask or the clear one.