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Ballin': Kobe Dunked on Josh Smith, and the Lakers are .500

LA Lakers 99, Atlanta 98: The story here isn’t Kobe’s 34, or his dunk on Josh Smith, or Dwight Howard’s 15 rebounds, or Steve Nash’s 10 assists, or Antwan Jamison’s continued resurgence (10 points, eight rebounds). LA is finally back to .500 (30-30). The Lakers are only 2.5 games behind the Jazz and Rockets for the 8th seed, and three games back of Golden State for the 6th seed. When does Gasol return? Will the Jazz falter? I hope the Rockets don’t fade. This will definitely be the NBA’s storyline for the remainder of the regular season.

Memphis 108, Orlando 92: The torrid Grizzlies led by 25 at the half and have won nine of 10. They made more three-pointers (11) than free throws (9). Orlando can start thinking about the draft and Ben McLemore or Marcus Smart. Magic fans, do you want Otto Porter?

Sacramento 119, Charlotte 83: If you’re losing by 36 to the Kings, you’re awful. But then again, if you’ve lost 22 of 26, everyone knows that. I hope Michael Jordan wasn’t watching this bloodbath. John Salmons scored 19 in the third; so did Charlotte.

Houston 136, Dallas 103: The lottery-bound Mavericks permitted 57 percent shooting, 41 percent on three-pointers, and let Chandler Parsons (12-of-13, 6-of-7 three’s, 32 points) do his best Stephen Curry impression. Dalla was outscored 44-17 in the third.

San Antonio 114, Detroit 75: Tony Parker’s out a month (ankle) and in the first game without their point guard, the Spurs did OK, walloping the sad-sack Pistons by 39. Will the Cory Joseph/Patty Mills combo help the Spurs retain the top seed in the West?

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