About Last Night: The Mamba Strikes Again

Cameron Browne/NBAE/Getty Images

In case you were out feeling agnostic toward piña coladas, but still got caught in the rain, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:

  • Kobe Bryant was en fuego, scoring 47 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 113-106. Bryant’s big night overshadowed a stellar performance from Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard, who described going toe to toe as “really fun for a while, until things started to get, um, personal.” When asked to explain, Lillard got very quiet. Bryant, when asked about Lillard’s comments, said, “Kid’s a kid, and when you’re a kid, you’re maybe not ready to see a grown man call another grown man who is wearing the same jersey he is some of the names I may have called some of the men who were wearing the same jersey I was. But if he didn’t want to see that, then maybe those men who were wearing the same jersey that I was should maybe rebound, as they were expected to when some other men were traded for them this past offseason. The point is, we can stay quiet for the kids, but I say they gotta grow up sometime. Damian’s a trouper. He’ll be all right.”
  • The Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 3-0 win at Kauffman Stadium. The win keeps the Kansas City Royals atop the AL Central, and while the season is still young, it’s never too early to prepare yourself for the consequences of a potential Royals playoff berth. In the event of a Royals playoff berth, you’ll want to keep five gallons of purified water on hand for each member of your household. You’ll also want to have cash on hand; remember, in the case of a Royals playoff berth, it’s likely that the telecommunication systems we rely on in our day-to-day lives will fail, and you’ll want to be prepared. While having a roll of duct tape handy in the case of a Royals playoff berth might help you build a makeshift shelter, you should not rely on it if a Royals playoff berth leads to unbreathable air conditions. Consider purchasing rated ventilation masks now. And when in doubt, an ounce of prevention can save a pound of heartache in the event of a Royals playoff berth.
  • Despite missing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat clinched the NBA’s best regular-season record, with backup point guard Ray Allen leading the charge in a 103-98 win over the Washington Wizards. Wizards point guard John Wall was dismissive of Allen after the game, saying, “Yeah, but can this Allen kid do it in the postseason? LeBron answered those questions. But Allen? This is a put-up or shut-up league, and I just don’t know.”
  • After a year where seemingly nothing went right, the Dallas Mavericks will be missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years after falling to the Phoenix Suns, 102-91. “The worst part about missing the playoffs is the charts,” said head coach Rick Carlisle after the game. “I know Mark is up there working on them, and bless his heart because he cares, but injuries and an aging roster were the issues this season. I don’t want to sit and look at charts for the next six weeks … excuse me, my phone is buzzing — ‘Yes, Mark. No, I’ll be up in a second. Yes, I know what PowerPoint is.’ OK, I gotta go — just, please kill me.”
  • It was a tough night for the Boston Red Sox as their MLB record sellout streak was snapped, and they blew a ninth-inning lead to lose to the Baltimore Orioles, 8-5. Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan, who conceded the winning runs, said after the game, “I’m just not used to playing in front of a non-sold-out stadium. I mean, I played in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh. You want me to come here and close before, what, 30,000 fans? Well, that’s not Joel Hanrahan, it’s never going to be Joel Hanrahan, and I’m not going to apologize for that which is Joel Hanrahan.”
  • Lionel Messi shook off a hamstring injury, and Pedro knocked in a crucial equalizer as Barcelona advanced past Paris Saint-Germain and into the UEFA Champions League semifinals with a 3-3 aggregate scoreline. This will be Barca’s record sixth-consecutive appearance in the Champions League semifinals. “Come on, another record?” Messi said. “I get it. I’m the best. We’re just making stuff up at this point.”
  • Mats Zuccarello netted the winner as the New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2 (1-0), in a shootout at Madison Square Garden. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was perfect in the shootout, attributed his performance to “just being pissed. I was supposed to be on the set of Mad Men, you know, just doing some doubling work for Jon, but the second we go to overtime, I realize that’s off. Which is bummer.” When the assembled media began to laugh, Lundqvist furrowed his brow and said, “No, seriously, I let him down. It’s not OK. You really don’t want to let Jon Hamm down in this town. Trust me.”
  • A mysterious package addressed to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts arrived at Wrigley Field Wednesday. In it was a goat’s head, a reference to the Billy Goat Curse that’s haunted the Cubs since 1945. The head was immediately signed to a three-year, $12 million deal with a mutual option for a fourth, and has been slotted into the closer’s role in the Cubs’ bullpen. “It was either a goat head or Marmol,” Cubs general manager Theo Epstein said. “We went goat head.”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Dallas Mavericks, Kansas City Royals, Kobe Bryant, Lionel Messi, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Twins, New York Rangers

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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