Houston Rockets level guard Chris Paul has been across the NBA lengthy sufficient, 14 seasons and counting, to know that regular-season video games do not imply a lot of something within the grand scheme.
As such, he wasn’t about to get overly excited with Saturday’s 118-112 street victory over the two-defending champion Golden State Warriors, through which the Rockets overcame the absence of reigning Kia MVP James Harden and recovered to complete robust after blowing a 20-point lead.
“Good win,” Paul stated. “We acquired a recreation in Atlanta on Monday.”
And so the marathon continues, with that contest and 22 extra to comply with earlier than the playoffs start on April 13.
But when nothing else, the Rockets’ third win in as many conferences with the Warriors this season proved how good Paul can nonetheless be, even together with his lead canine days behind him and his 34th birthday quick approaching.
Paul labored the Warriors over for 23 factors and 17 assists, becoming a member of some uncommon firm within the course of.
Congrats to @CP3 of the @HoustonRockets on turning into the eighth participant in @NBAHistory to surpass 9,000 profession assists!#ThisIsWhyWePlay#Rocketspic.twitter.com/A0izo5ESYr
— NBA (@NBA) February 24, 2019
It is arduous to think about a lineup with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Inexperienced might wrestle as mightily because it did, getting outscored at a charge of 14.eight factors per 100 possessions of their 12 minutes collectively in opposition to the Rockets.
A lot of that needed to do with Paul, who exploited Cousins’ lack of mobility by dragging the middle into one choose and roll after one other.
It isn’t precisely a novel technique. But it surely may be one of many few methods to significantly threaten the Warriors, because the Rockets did final season once they led Three-2 within the Western Convention finals earlier than an injured Paul was pressured to observe the ultimate two video games, each losses, from the bench.
And with one other, even higher initiator in Harden, there will be little doubt that the Rockets, irrespective of how little Friday’s recreation means in the long term, are dying to get wholesome and earn one other postseason shot on the champs.
We’re unsure how, however Kerr managed to not instantly discover one among his finest gamers rolling on the ground in intense ache immediately in entrance of him.
It took Steve Kerr awhile to comprehend Draymond Inexperienced was damage… pic.twitter.com/KB3QDN1cHX
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 24, 2019
Though he did not sound particularly convincing, Inexperienced stated he does not anticipate to overlook any recreation time with the sprained ankle. Durant stated it will not matter even when he does: “I imply, he’ll be again for the playoffs. That’s the one factor we fear about right here, proper?”
Profiles in braveness
First, it was Jarrett Allen. Now we have now Minnesota Timberwolves ahead Anthony Tolliver, who turned the most recent NBA participant to place his life in danger by difficult Milwaukee Bucks celebrity Giannis Antetokounmpo on the rim.
Alas, Tolliver’s unimaginable defensive play made little distinction as Antetokounmpo dominated per regular, racking up 27 factors, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in a 140-128 victory for the Bucks.
The Indiana Pacers suffered what appeared to be an insurmountable blow on Jan. 23, when Victor Oladipo was misplaced for the season with a ruptured quad tendon. However after shedding 4 straight within the rapid aftermath, the Pacers have since recovered to win eight of their previous 9 outings, together with Friday’s 119-112 conquer the Washington Wizards.
Along with posting the league’s second-best defensive score over that span, 9 Pacers are averaging 7.9 factors per recreation. Ground burns aren’t tracked, however they’re in all probability among the many league leaders there as properly due to hustle performs like these from Kyle O’Quinn …
… and Wes Matthews.
What, him fear?
The Boston Celtics suffered their newest inexplicable loss, trailing by as a lot as 25 and shedding 126-116 to a Bulls group that entered Friday’s motion sitting 22 video games beneath them within the standings.
Not that Kyrie Irving’s nervous or something.
Kyrie Irving stated this loss is behind him. Mentioned he’s not involved the Celtics’ struggles will leak into the playoffs. Why? “As a result of I’m right here.”
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) February 24, 2019
And talking of the Bulls, how’s this for noteworthy?
Zach LaVine (40 factors) and Lauri Markkanen (35 factors) are the primary pair of Bulls teammates to succeed in 35 factors in a recreation since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (37 every) on November 20, 1996.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) February 24, 2019
It has been a breakout season for Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, who made his first All-Star look final weekend and carries a career-high 20.2-point scoring common.
What higher technique to have fun these achievements — on his 23rd birthday, no much less — than taking part in top-of-the-line video games of his life?
Along with tying his profession excessive with 40 factors, Russell earned himself an additional slice of cake by scoring the Nets’ closing 12, together with a large go-ahead Three within the closing minute, to virtually single-handedly carry them previous the Charlotte Hornets.
D’Angelo Russell scores the ultimate 12 factors to hold the Nets previous the Hornets.
Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Younger has shortly confirmed himself to have completely no conscience with the rock, prepared and prepared to launch photographs from wherever. That aggressiveness, nevertheless, does not at all times go over properly together with his teammates.
Such was the case early within the second half in opposition to the Phoenix Suns, when Hawks ahead John Collins, in verbiage unsuitable for a household site, questioned Younger’s shot choice after his errant pull-up Three led to a Suns quick break.
Luckily for the Hawks, Younger did not hear. He scored 16 factors over the remaining 21 minutes, together with an excellent deeper, game-tying Three — naturally, off an help from Collins — to assist gasoline the game-winning push.
In case you forgot, Philadelphia 76ers heart Boban Marjanovic is huuuuuuuuge.
Oh my. pic.twitter.com/JZI2nLU8iC
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 23, 2019