With NBA All-Star 2019 within the rear view and some days to catch a refresher earlier than the motion picks again up on Thursday, let’s check out what occurred since coaching camp broke on the season up to now.
Harden cannot cease scoring
The final time James Harden scored fewer than 30 factors, the Rockets have been sitting at 12-14 and No. 14 within the Western Convention. The subsequent sport, Harden dropped 50 on the Lakers in a victory. Then he had 32 within the subsequent sport and 47 after that … after which 30-plus repeatedly till he stood alone with Wilt Chamberlain, who had beforehand owned the four-longest streaks. As we exit the All-Star break, Harden and Chamberlain are tied for second at 31 video games; Houston performs the Lakers on Thursday (10:30 ET, TNT).
James Harden has scored 30 or extra factors in 31 straight video games.
Harden ran out of actual property this season on an opportunity to tie the all-time document – Wilt reached 65 straight in 1961-62 – however he stands to complete with the single-highest scoring common the league’s seen since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 ppg in 1986-87. Harden additionally managed to discover a extensively lampooned boundary for the outer reaches of his patented step-back jumper:
Giannis ranges up
All of us realized Giannis Antetokounmpo had made a soar final season, and that the Milwaukee Bucks, below new coach Mike Budenholzer, may very well be among the many Japanese Convention contenders — particularly with LeBron James shifting out West.
What possibly we did not rely on was Antetokounmpo taking it up one other notch as Budenholzer and GM Jon Horst surrounded him with taking pictures, taking pictures and extra taking pictures as they gave him full reign over the offense. Antetokounmpo has averaged an astounding 27.2 factors (58.1 subject objective share), 12.7 rebounds, six assists, 1.four steals and 1.four blocks per sport. The Bucks are an NBA greatest 43-14 on the break, and Antetokounmpo is the present Kia MVP favourite.
Additionally, he does issues like this:
Giannis Antetokounmpo hits the Pistons with a fadeaway dunk!
Kawhi of the North
The Toronto Raptors made a daring transfer earlier than the season, sending DeMar DeRozan — the homegrown face of Toronto’s franchise revival — to the San Antonio Spurs in a bundle that returned impending free-agent Kawhi Leonard, who performed solely 9 video games final season whereas coping with a quad damage.
Whereas he and the crew have been cautious about back-to-backs and the general “load administration”, for those who thought Kawhi wasn’t nonetheless the participant who turned again LeBron to win Finals MVP in 2014 earlier than consecutive Defensive Participant of the Yr campaigns, nicely …
Right here’s Kawhi Leonard doing regardless of the robotic equal of laughing is. pic.twitter.com/2ZzHM0B7nY
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) September 24, 2018
Leonard is averaging 27.7 factors (49.2 subject objective share, 36.Three Three-point share), 13.Three rebounds, Three.Three assists and 1.9 steals and has led Toronto — with a giant supporting nod to breakout starter Pascal Siakam — to the second-best document within the league, simply two losses again of chief Milwaukee.
Westbrook’s world? Triple-doubles, every day
One other season, one other triple-double common for Oklahoma Metropolis star Russell Westbrook. And this time, it isn’t shut:
Westbrook, regardless of struggling to maintain his shot north of 40 p.c from the sector, 25 p.c from Three-point vary and 65 p.c from the road, is averaging 21.7 factors, 11.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per sport. And he is achieved it whereas basically deferring to Paul George because the crew’s No. 1 choice — his utilization fee (the share of his crew’s possessions used) is at its lowest mark since his second season.
He has actually entered unprecedented territory, each with this third full season of statistical prowess and the nonetheless ongoing streak of 11 video games with a triple-double.
The earlier document — held, after all, by Chamberlain — was 10. Russ had threatened a number of occasions lately, stringing collectively runs so long as seven video games. He is rocking out, certainly:
The Kings are BACK
On nobody’s timetable however their very own, the Sacramento Kings made a collective leap out of the NBA dungeon to place the league’s longest-running playoff drought at risk. Bolstered by the backcourt duo of speedy De’Aaron Fox and sharpshooting Buddy Hield, the Kings have risen to 30-27, good for ninth within the super-competitive West — simply 4 video games again of No. four Portland.
They added Harrison Barnes for the stretch run, and needs to be primed for extra enjoyable moments like this Bogdan Bogdanovic buzzer-beater:
Bogdan Bogdanovic sinks the Lakers with this last-second soulcrusher.
The confounding Celtics
Listed below are some mini-records: 10-10, 15-5, 12-6. All of the Celtics! They’re clearly one of many higher groups within the East when all the things’s firing … however Gordon Hayward hasn’t regarded fairly proper all season, they hold dropping unhealthy losses between the profitable streaks. And, on occasion, somebody appears to pop off about management or dedication or enjoyable or another side of “That is off and we will not fairly nail it down.”
Heck, Kyrie Irving even referred to as LeBron to apologize for being a knucklehead in Cleveland after realizing he was working into related conditions, now from the opposite perspective, with the Celtics’ younger core.
Shaq discusses Kyrie’s feedback about and apology to his younger teammates.
If the league’s most well-known beef this aspect of Joel Embiid-Russell Westbrook can discover decision, something’s potential. Both approach, possibly not fairly the time to be tremendous assured as a fan of one of many different East contenders till you see the 4 Ls this spring.
Jimmy Butler is one thing else
You might need heard Jimmy Butler made a commerce request this summer season whereas heading into this contract yr that he began with the Minnesota Timberwolves. When you missed that, you most likely heard concerning the apply. Oh, that apply.
Butler confirmed up for the primary time in months, reportedly ran the opposite starters off the ground whereas taking part in with all-reserve teammates and, ah … was possibly not quiet about it.
The Starters ponder whether Jimmy Butler’s apply antics completely tarnished the Timberwolves.
4 weeks later, he was headed to the Philadelphia 76ers with Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round decide. Butler promptly hit a pair of game-winners and reportedly stirred the system drink as he tried to (what is the oppositie of ease?) impose his approach in.
Butler’s impending free company — for all of the chatter concerning the Sixers’ long-term plans with this “Large four” — goes to be wild fascinating.
Turnover within the ranks
Klay shatters the Three-point document
Out right here taking part in pop-a-shot:
Klay Thompson set an NBA document with 14 Three-pointers towards the Bulls.
A slip-up for Steph
All of us love Stephen Curry round these elements, and have a lot respect for the way this greatest-of-all-time shooter has modified the sport. However that this water-slide wipeout did not make Shaqtin’ A Idiot is tragedy:
A uncommon humbling second for the three-time champ. Not anticipating many extra this yr, ha.
Wizards cannot conjure a break
John Wall had season-ending surgical procedure on his heel. Then slipped at house and ruptured his Achilles’ tendon. Dwight Howard has been out with gluteal soreness (12 video games) after which lower-back surgical procedure (35 video games). Le sigh.
However they’re nonetheless solely three video games out! And Bradley Beal is an All-Star!
Guard Bradley Beal has turned in an All-Star worthy season for Washington.