Skip to content

Three Stars of the Night: The Truth is Here

Dec 20, 2012, 3:17 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

The big scorers weren’t messing around tonight, folks. The clocks were turned back in Boston, an ABA type score was dropped in Houston, and the Highlight Factory was invaded (even more than usual!) by a force that even the great Kyle Korver could not stop. Robin Lopez was also on pace for 56 points after the first quarter, but that kind of fell through. To the Three Stars of the Night!

Third Star: Kevin Durant – (41 points, 13 rebounds, 14-for-23 shooting)

Kevin Durant isn’t just “getting the best” of his opponents or “outplaying” them…he’s absolutely eviscerating them. Ask the Atlanta Hawks after tonight — there’s no good way to defend Durant. Crowd him, and he has the burst and the length to put you on his hip and wish you goodbye as he glides to the hole. Play off of him and he’s simply popping the jumper. Bring a double, and he can see right over the top of it and fire a pass to two very good stand-still shooters (Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka) or a player you don’t want penetrating a gap with a full head of steam (Russell Westbrook). If the goal of the offense is to make the defense pick their poison, the Thunder accomplish that virtually anytime they put the ball in Durant’s hands anywhere remotely close to the basket. Only two players have averaged over 27 points a game over a full season with a True Shooting Percentage over 67 percent: Charles Barkley and Adrian Dantley. That’s it. No Kobe. No LeBron. No Jordan. Durant is averaging that so far this year. He’s been that good.

Second Star: James Harden – (33 points, 17-for-18 from the line, 7 assists)

James Harden might do one thing better than anyone else in the NBA, and that’s draw fouls. Harden’s signature move of extending the ball way out in front of him on drives is too appetizing for opponents to resist. They hack and slash down at the ball, almost always raking Harden across the arms, sending him to the line for two easy points. Harden is dangerous in the open floor when the Rockets are playing fast, but he also found a viable roll partner (sorry, Omer Asik, not you) in the halfcourt in promising young big man Greg Smith. If the Rockets are building their future around Harden — and they are — a great defender and defensive rebounder to spark the break (cheer up, Omer, that’s you!) and a point guard who can push the pace seem necessary along with a solid roll man. The Rockets are trying out a few different pieces, but now that their star is in place, they finally have direction. In the meantime, if opponents allow the Rockets to play fast like the 76ers did tonight? Good luck stopping them.

First Star: Paul Pierce – (40 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 13-for-16 shooting)

Do not adjust your computer monitor, because the numbers you are seeing are indeed the truth. Paul Pierce was absolutely on fire against the Cavaliers, knocking in each and every momentum shot and heat check he could throw at the rim — stepbacks, spotup J’s — whatever it was, it went in. Pierce doesn’t do this nearly as often as he used to, as he’s slowed down and lost much of the explosiveness that made him deadly in the past. But where the body fails, the mind picks up, and Pierce is a great example of that. No one manipulates space with his footwork quite like Pierce, and his ability to trail on the break and make himself available for a Rondo kickout at just the right time is nuanced brilliance. That’s the kind of stuff you learn after 38,000 minutes of floor time in the league, and although Pierce’s body and jump shot will betray him on many nights, he still knows how to ride out the perfect storm, no matter how infrequently they seem to come around.

Latest Posts
  1. Lil B says James Harden is officially under the Based God’s curse

    May 24, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    James Harden James Harden

    The rapper wants Harden to apologize for stealing his dance.

  2. Stephen Curry glares at heckling Rockets fan, tells him to ‘sit down’

    May 24, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Stephen Curry Stephen Curry

    Curry not only dropped 40, but he was talking back to the fans in Houston.

  3. Sixers expected to select best player available over need with No. 3 pick in 2015 NBA draft

    May 24, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Sam Hinkie Press Conference Getty Images

    Depending on what happens with the first two picks, Philadelphia could fill both requirements.

  4. Warriors don’t live by 3, die by 3. They live by defense, live by defense

    May 24, 2015, 12:57 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three Getty Images

    There’s seemingly no solving Golden State’s dominant defense

  5. Stephen Curry drops 40, Warriors rout Rockets by 35 to take 3-0 series lead

    May 24, 2015, 12:07 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three Getty Images

    Houston has played well and valiantly this postseason, but the Warriors are simply better.

  6. Raptors’ Terrence Ross undergoes ankle surgery

    May 23, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls Getty Images

    Ross, and the Raptors, had a disappointing season.

  7. Legendary Harlem Globetrotter dribbler, Hall of Famer Marques Haynes passes away at 89

    May 23, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    HAYNES AP

    He certainly is one of the greatest ball handlers of all time.

  8. Hawks Kyle Korver out for remainder of playoffs with high ankle sprain

    May 23, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two Getty Images

    I’d say this puts the Hawks in a difficult spot, but they already were in one.

  9. Report: Scott Skiles in lead to become next Orlando coach

    May 23, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT

    150523_skiles Getty Images

    The popular former Magic player would sell well to the fan base.

  10. Hawks’ Kyle Korver leaves Game 2 with ankle sprain, does not return (VIDEO)

    May 23, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two Getty Images

    Atlanta is already down 2-0 to Cleveland in the series, and if Korver misses any time, the Hawks are finished.

  11. Report: Jeff Van Gundy candidate for Pelicans’ coaching job

    May 23, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Game One Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Eastern Conference Finals Game One Getty Images

    He would bring a defensive mindset that he team could use.

Featured video

Will Klay Thompson get a little help on James Harden?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Irving (6674)
  2. K. Love (5732)
  3. D. Howard (5245)
  4. S. Curry (4700)
  5. P. Beverley (4556)
  1. D. Carroll (4075)
  2. L. James (4063)
  3. K. Bryant (3820)
  4. M. Speights (3801)
  5. K. Durant (3790)