Folks, you cannot look away from James Harden right now. No matter the circumstances, no matter the opponent, you’ve got to stay glued to him, because he’s doing something special.
The Warriors led the Rockets by 17 at the half on Thursday night, and it looked like James Harden’s fiery streak of 40-point games might end as The Beard had 15 points on 4-13 shooting in the first half. But Harden brought the flamethrower out in the second half as Houston closed the lead entirely, and then he scorched the living daylights out of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green at the same damn time in OT with a killer game-winning three.
The end result: 44 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and a huge road win over the rival Warriors, who were at full strength (minus Boogie Cousins) while the Rockets are missing Chris Paul. Harden joins Kobe, Iverson, and Jordan as the only players in the past 50 years to score 40 in five straight games.
The Rockets have won six straight and are only two games behind the Warriors in the standings. James Harden might suddenly be the MVP favorite, and we might need to rekindle discussions from last winter about whether he’s the best player alive. Call me a prisoner of the moment, but ... did you see that moment?!
Raptors 107, Spurs 125
Nuggets 117, Kings 113
Rockets 135, Warriors 134 (OT)
All times Eastern. These are just national TV games. Check the full schedule for more.
Mavericks at Celtics, 8, ESPN
Thunder at Blazers, 10:30, ESPN
Raptors at Bucks, 8:30, NBA TV
Pacers at Raptors, 7:30, NBA TV
Did you wonder how Spurs fans would react to Kawhi Leonard in his return to San Antonio on Thursday? They booed him repeatedly and chanted “TRAITOR” at him, all while cheering Danny Green’s return. Oh, and DeMar DeRozan had maybe the best game of his career. This is what catharsis looks like.
Speaking of dudes getting booed, I will admit that Lakers fans booing Paul George is a bit odd.
Anthony Davis continues to put up sterling numbers in losing efforts. It’s so sad. Here’s Tom Habestroh on how the Pelicans failed Davis.
Bol Bol might miss the rest of the college basketball season. Here’s what that means for the NBA Draft.
And finally: beautiful story from A.K. Clemmons on how Virginia’s Kyle Guy dealt with anxiety on the national stage last spring, and how he deals with it today.
Be excellent to each other.