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Nightly Grades: Kevin Durant ices the Lakers

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


I mean this seriously: Shouldn't Joakim Noah get some MVP consideration? Not in terms of him actually being ahead of Durant or LeBron, but just looking at the value of a single player to his team, Noah is completely the heart and soul of the Bulls. They're now 27-25 and fourth in the East despite losing their best player to injury and trading a key one for nothing.

Tom Thibodeau is obviously a genius, but Noah just does so much for his team every night. It's incredible.


They kind of played terrible. They had an obvious pre-All-Star break glaze about them, falling behind as many as 15 to the D-League-ish Lakers. But Kevin Durant snapped out of an early game shooting slump, hitting 3-of-5 from 3 with 19 in the fourth as part of his game-high 43 points. It's Durant's eighth game of 40+ points on the season, with the next highest number being three, from Kevin Love.

The Thunder didn't play well. They were sloppy and beat the short-handed Lakers by just four, and almost gave it away if not for Durant doing his things. But that's a 43-12 record for them heading to the break, the best in basketball. Not bad for a team that's played more than half its season without its second best player.


The Lakers scrapped, they clawed, and they tried. But in the end a group featuring Shawne Williams, Chris Kaman, Steve Blake, Kendall Marshall and Wesley Johnson wasn't enough to beat the best team in basketball. Shocking, I know.

But kudos to these Lakers who continue to play hard. Marshall was terrific with 14 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds, while Johnson and Williams hit a few shots. They just aren't good enough. That's it.

DThey obviously have major issue in beating the Bulls, but what a lousy effort before the All-Star break. For all the good the Nets have done digging out of their early season disaster, they just didn't bring anything all that great on Thursday. They shot 38.8 percent from the field, their leading scorer had 15 and the most they scored in a quarter was 22. Time to regroup.
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