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Three Stars of the night: Harden, Iguodala, Howard set their teams up for playoffs

Apr 15, 2013, 1:07 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan,Tiago Splitter, Danny Green AP

With teams busting it for playoff position tonight we feature three guys that helped their team big time Sunday night and got them in better playoff position.

Third Star: James Harden (29 points, 9 assists)

Houston controls its own destiny — win out and they get the six seed (and don’t have to face the Spurs or Thunder in the first round). And James Harden helped make that happen on Sunday, carving up Sacramento, getting all those points on just 16 shots. He had 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting in the first half. If you want a stat for how good a season Harden has had, the last Rockets player to have as many 20-point games in a season as him (64) was Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994-95.

Second Star: Andre Iguodala (28 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds)

Since Danilo Gallinari went down Andre Iguodala has seemed to step up. He had big numbers against the hapless Trail Blazers, but in his last five games Iggy is averaging 16.8 points a game on 47.8 percent shooting (42.9 percent from three) with 9.4 assists and 10.2 rebounds. He single-handedly seemed to shut down every little run the Blazers made and this would have been a blowout if not from another amazing performance from Damian Lillard. With the win, the Nuggets are on the verge of locking up the three seed.

First Star: Dwight Howard (26 points, 17 rebounds)

Dwight Howard wanted to be the man in this one — he aggressively established his position on the low block early and bullied his way to the rim for 10 first quarter points. As he has been he was a defensive anchor for the Lakers and he got some help from the energy of the guys on the perimeter for a change. (The Spurs also just missed some shots, but the Lakers will take it.)

The bottom line is the Lakers out-hustled the Spurs on the night and Howard led that charge. And with that win the Lakers magic number to make the playoffs is one — they can clinch it themselves with a win over Houston Wednesday.

  1. purplekobra69 - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    The lakers need kobe if they’re to make a run at the title. They just need to hope that the spurs can move into the top seed. If all goes right than they’ll make
    It to the finals and lose to the Heat.

  2. spideysdog - Apr 15, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    purplekobra, the Lakers make it to the finals???? what are you smoking? it was one game bro. now, I think there is one thing that they have in the pocket, which is the fact that noone can claim to have any idea what is coming with this team. there is NO tape of a Kobe less Laker team this year, and they can use that to an advantage, but talent wins in the playoffs, and there is NO way they get past OKC, Den or Mem. I do think they could make it interesting with SA, but I would still be shocked if they could take the series.

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 15, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      The Lakers have played without Bryant this season so there is video of that, but unless the Spurs go in the tank it’ll be a short series.

  3. kyzslew77 - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Laker fans are the best.

    • kyzslew77 - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      And just to be clear, by “best” I mean funniest and most out of touch with reality.

      • manchestermiracle - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        Yes, they should all be crucified for daring to wear the hopes for their team on their sleeves. Who I find funny are those that can’t find validation without derision.

  4. losanginsight - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    1-0 AK (after Kobe). Good team Win for The LAkeshow. Haters need to move on or stop watching.

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Might as well get used to it. These are the kind of people who didn’t get picked for teams on the playground in school, so they snuck into the maintenance shack and turned on the sprinklers.

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