Starting 5


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Near embarrassment

Chuck Burton/AP/Sports InquirerThere have been plenty of lows in this strange season for the Lakers. There have been plenty of restarts for this team too. Plenty of avowals that the "season starts now" and that the Playoff push is set to begin. After a certain amount of time, you are what your record says you are.

And the record says the Lakers are a mediocre team — at best.

So amidst all the sniping and complaining about roles, injuries and everything else there was never a reason to feel urgency. A(nother) wake-up call came in the form of the Charlotte Bobcats, the team with the worst record in the league. a loss to Charlotte would have really caused alarms and made it very difficult for Los Angeles to have a winning record on their yearly Grammy Road Trip.

Kobe Bryant made a statement in playing distributor early. The Bobcats made a statement in opening up a 20-point lead in the second half after taking a 12-point lead at halftime. Then the Lakers made a statement with a 31-15 fourth quarter and a 100-93 win at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on Friday.

Bryant led the balanced scoring attack with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Five other players reached double figures in a game where the Lakers looked to be playing the style Mike D'Antoni prefers, at least for a quarter.

Los Angeles certainly had that urgency that is sometimes missing and they guaranteed at least a 4-3 record on this road trip. The Lakers' final game of the trip comes in Miami on Sunday.

Why did it take a 20-point deficit to the Bobcats to get that urgency? Maybe that is the real question for the Lakers.

2: LeBron

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/ZimbioWhen LeBron James gets on a tear, there is nothing more you can do than sit back and watch. When he is dialed in, his strength, speed and athleticism cannot be stopped. Really, it can't.

In the last few games, James has been shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor. For a high-usage perimeter player, that is simply astounding. We may not see a stretch of efficient games like the one James is putting together again. Really, we may not.

James put in another fantastic performance in a 111-89 win over the Clippers at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Friday. He scored 30 points on 9-for-11 shooting, posting a true shooting percentage of 94.7 percent. Just astounding play from James as he knifed his way through the lane with ease and overpowered defenders at the rim.

That is LeBron James for you.

It did not matter that the Clippers got Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Chauncey Billups back for this anticipated matchup. The Clippers were clearly not quite in rhythm since Paul has missed the last three weeks and Griffin the last week with their nagging injuries.

And, of course, sometimes you cannot stop LeBron.


Marc Gasol needed a challenge

Aldridge meet Asik

Early warning

4: Line of the Night: Carmelo Anthony — 36 points, 9 rebounds, 13/26 FGs

Anthony scored 12 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter to help charge a New York comeback over Minnesota in a 100-94 win at Target Center in Minneapolis. Anthony helped charge a 30-18 fourth quarter for the Knicks who sent the struggling Timberwolves to yet another loss. These kind of games just seem par for the course for Anthony who has really expanded his game in addition to being the elite scorer he is.

5:  You can quote me on that

I’m just glad we got the win. That’s the thing we needed. We needed to bounce back. We took a punch last night, but we got up today and we fought. That’s exactly what you have to do. You can’t look backwards. You can’t look ahead. You have to look at exactly what is in front of you.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau after his team bounced back with a 93-89 win over the Jazz

This week has been a good week. We’ve beat some really good teams. Teams that everyone are talking about as contenders. I think we are on the right path.

Wizards forward Trevor Ariza after the Wizards' 89-74 win over the Nets

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily