NBA Roundup: The Number 23

Notes on Tuesday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

Goodbye Fifty. We'll Miss You. Figures that Kobe Bryant's mad scoring streak would end against the Grizzlies, the NBA's worst team. Bryant scored 23 points in Memphis' 88-86 win over the Lakers on Tuesday, as his string of at least 40 points in five straight games — including 50 in the first four — came to a screeching halt. "They played a box, and I haven't seen that since high school,'' Bryant said. "Other than that, I was able to raise up and get good looks at the basket. It just didn't go in for me.'' Bryant scored 60 points against Memphis this past Thursday.

The Wisdom Of The NBA's Yoda. The NBA Lottery leads to temptation, temptation leads to anger, anger is the path to the Dark Side ... Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy says that the NBA Lottery should be open to all 30 teams, so that teams will not tank games toward the end of the season. "I think every team should have an equal chance at winning the lottery, from the best team all the way down," Van Gundy told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't want to accuse anyone of anything. I would say to take away any possible conflict of interest, everyone should have an equal chance at the top pick all the way down. That way there would be absolutely no question by anybody about anything."

His Enthusiasm Is Cavtagious. Interesting quote by LeBron James, after asking coach Mike Brown to leave a team meeting on Tuesday morning. "This is my team, that's my responsibility to make sure everyone's on course,'' James said. "There can be a lot of distractions on a five-game road trip.'' Yes, distractions come in many forms, with a multitude of carpet samples. But it all worked out for the best, as James had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists Tuesday night in Cleveland's 105-94 win over the Pacers. The victory clinched a playoff berth for the Cavs.

As The Century Turns. We love the term "turn of the century," especially since the year 2000 arrived. The Hornets haven't beaten the Mavericks since Nov. 17, 1999, at 21 games the longest current losing streak for one team against an opponent in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball. Even throwback night couldn't help New Orleans on Tuesday in a 105-89 loss to Dallas. Of course, no one is beating the Mavericks these days. Josh Howard had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.