Feb 21, 2013, 2:30 AM EST
On a night where trade talk dominated the news, James Harden served up a reminder that there’s an awful lot that must be considered when making a deal. Who knows how much it mattered to Oklahoma City at the time, but trading James Harden to a perennially competitive Western Conference foe badly in need of such a player doesn’t seem exactly ideal right about now, does it? Instead of having to deal with him only twice a year, the Thunder very realistically could have to deal with Harden in a playoff series — now and down the road.
This was a revenge game at its best for Harden, but who will join him in the Three Stars? Let’s get right to it.
Third Star: Nikola Pekovic – (27 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks)
If you skipped Timberwolves-Sixers on the ol’ league pass, I don’t blame you. This was an ugly game where both teams shot below 40 percent, but it had a redeeming factor, and his name was Nikola Pekovic. In his typical bullying manner, Pekovic regularly thrusted his left shoulder directly into his opponent’s chest, knocking them back to create the space to let up his little right handed flips and hooks. Pekovic is a big from another era — plodding and mean, substituting strength for stretch. He’s a rarity nowadays, but like the sixth Rocky movie taught me, there’s no substitute for raw power.
Second Star: Kyrie Irving (35 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists)
This was a hot streak you could feel. When Irving checked in at the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Cavs were down two against the Hornets. That didn’t last long. Irving absolutely dominated right away, tallying 20 points in seven minutes of nearly flawless basketball. You hear the Chris Paul comparisons with Irving, and the trait they similar is pretty unique. With the game on the line and defenses focused against them, Paul and Irving both have the rare ability to get uncontested layups. Not contested, falling away, difficult pull-up jumpers — layups. Irving did that twice down the stretch with some sick ballhandling, but he also stepped in to draw a charge and nabbed an offensive rebound. You knew this already, but let’s put this exhibit in the “Kyrie Irving is a star” file immediately.
First Star: James Harden (46 points on 19 shots, 8 rebounds, 6 assists)
This was absurd. The Rockets were down 12 in the fourth quarter at one point, then three minutes later, they were tied. Harden’s career-high 46 points came in every imaginable way — from behind the arc (7-for-8), from the line (11-for-12), in the pick-and-roll, transition — pretty much everywhere. Lin and Harden combined for 75 points against Oklahoma City and played huge roles in the comeback, knocking down momentum shifting shots time and time again. You couldn’t ask for a better, more timely, more efficient performance than the one Harden put on tonight. This was his best yet.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:40 PM EST
Rockets star has taken plenty of verbal abuse lately from opposing players
Nov 20, 2014, 3:07 PM EST
Not pictured: Milwaukee celebrating win over Nets
Nov 20, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
Craftiness from the Lakers star
Nov 20, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Cavaliers center gives Kawhi Leonard a hard time
Players union, after Jason Kidd’s negotiations, looking into agents representing coaches and players
Nov 20, 2014, 1:21 PM EST
Current National Basketball Players Association rule forbids agents from representing players and coaches
Nov 20, 2014, 12:33 PM EST
Both teams reportedly interested in Timberwolves small forward
Nov 20, 2014, 11:55 AM EST
Philadelphia players make Wroten spokesman for responding to Suns guard
Nov 20, 2014, 11:20 AM EST
Clippers coach: ‘He’s probably the best player in the league that nobody knows’
Alex Len, No. 5 pick in a draft full of players who looked like busts as rookies, showing he doesn’t deserve the label
Nov 20, 2014, 10:16 AM EST
Suns center impressing in second season
Nov 20, 2014, 9:30 AM EST
Lebron says it’s more difficult than even winning a championship
Nov 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Corey Brewer throws pass just low enough to avoid a turnover, high enough to make Muhammad look good
Nov 20, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
And Seraphin gets called for the foul.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
The two had words in the second quarter.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:22 AM EST
Highlights from a lot of exciting finishes Wednesday.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:11 AM EST
Seriously, just look at that thing
Nov 19, 2014, 11:28 PM EST
Kidd gets last laugh in return to Brooklyn
Nov 19, 2014, 10:32 PM EST
Don’t use this to support a false narrative
Nov 19, 2014, 10:13 PM EST
Bucks guard makes great defensive play, follows it with cringeworthy offensive play
Nov 19, 2014, 9:55 PM EST
Another round of Kobe-Dwight will have to wait
Nov 19, 2014, 9:28 PM EST
Pacers top Charlotte on wild play
- Alex Len, No. 5 pick in a draft full of players who looked like busts as rookies, showing he doesn’t deserve the label 4
- PBT’s Wednesday night NBA Winners/Losers: Video of LeBron’s fumble, other tight finishes 13
- LeBron James, with chance to beat Spurs, loses ball to end game (video) 37
- NBA suspends Hornets’ Jeff Taylor for 24 games following guilty plea for domestic violence 7
- PBT Extra: Is Dwight Howard NBA’s newest villain? 31
- Report: Bradley Beal to make season debut Wednesday for Wizards 5
- Kobe Bryant passes 32,000 career points milestone 6
- Dwight Howard’s attorney: Claims Rockets’ star abused his child baseless 11