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Three Stars of the Night: Two stars are born, and another just changes systems

Nov 1, 2012, 2:50 AM EDT

Hornets' Davis dunks the ball over Spurs' Duncan during the second half of  their NBA basketball in New Orleans

Long live oddly polarizing facial hair! You wear that neckbeard with pride tonight, loyal reader, and come check out the three best individual performances from Wednesday’s great slate of games.

Third Star: Anthony Davis – 21 points, 7 rebounds

It’s rare for a rookie to just look like he belongs. Usually they have flashes, but Davis sustained a high level of play throughout his 29 minutes, displaying some nice scoring instincts and a soft touch at the free throw line. We know Davis is a great fit with defensive guru Monty Williams, but with Eric Gordon out indefinitely, it will be interesting to see how Williams features Davis offensively. As soon as he gets a more explosive guard to run pick-and-rolls with, Davis could be putting up big points on the regular.

Second Star: Damian Lillard – 23 points, 11 assists, 3 rebounds

Damian Lillard joins Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson as the only players to hit 20 points and 10 assists in their NBA debut. Not bad. Beating the Lakers after everyone expected them to bounce back from their opening night debacle? Even better. Lillard is an explosive, scoring point guard that’s a little reminiscent of Steve Francis – he can dive into the lane and finish in traffic, and he can step out and stroke it from distance. For a rookie to lead his team to a 116 point showing in his first game while the best defensive player on the planet is patrolling the paint is probably worthy of a first star…but there can only be one.

First Star: James Harden – 37 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals 14-25 FG

Let’s empathize with Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti for a minute here. Sam, this is like the ex-girlfriend who turns into a supermodel after you break it off. Sure, you got a few good years out of the relationship – but you’re not getting the prime years. That ship has sailed. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t kick yourself over it. All you had to do was get her a prescription for contacts…err…give him more shots!

Harden is and always was one of the game’s most efficient and most effective scorers. Prior to tonight, Harden had never attempted more than 17 field goals in a game. Oh, and in that 17 field goal attempt game? He dropped 40. That said, it’s not all that surprising that Harden was unstoppable in his debut as the number one option, as he navigated the pick-and-roll beautifully to an impressive 37-point, 12-assist performance. In 25 seasons, only Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Dwyane Wade have put up at least 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals and one blocked shot in a game. Harden has always been this good – now we just get to see more of it.

  1. bougin89 - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I’ve been one of the people that think Harden is a very good but not a max contract worthy player and although I’ll need a bigger sample size than one game he couldn’t really start any better proving he is worth all that $$$$$$$$.

  2. quancao - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    So much for the contending Lakers !!! It’s more like the kiss of Howard … LA will now inherits all the infighting he brings with him wherever he goes. It is great to see Trail Blazers doing well again.

    • drunkenjunk - Nov 1, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      kobe would cut his throat before allowing that to happen.

  3. obelbeyzayanikoglu - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Reblogged this on obelbeyzayanikoglu.

  4. eugenesaxe - Nov 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Would’ve been nice to see Lillard/Nash for a whole game.

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