Post Up: Harden Hits 60

by January 31, 2018

Rockets 114 (36-13), Magic 107 (14-35)

It started off as your typical “James Harden is having himself a night” performance. His 24 points in the first half were impressive, and on a night when the Rockets were without Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza, they were downright necessary. Houston also lost Eric Gordon in the second quarter to an injury, meaning Harden would have to carry his team to victory. He did that and more. By the fourth quarter, his game had gone from memorable to historic. His four-point play in the final minute was not only a dagger, but it gave him a franchise-record 60 points, A few seconds later, he became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double.

Wizards 102 (28-22), Thunder 96 (30-21)

Playing without John Wall, who is sidelined with a knee injury, the Wizards held on to win a close one at home. Otto Porter Jr. (25 points) and Bradley Beal (21 points, nine assists) did their parts to make up for Wall’s absence on a night in which both teams struggled offensively. The Thunder committed 20 turnovers and shot 38 percent from the field, but Paul George led all scorers with 28 points.

Knicks 111 (23-28), Nets 95 (18-33)

Enes Kanter had 20 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists as the Knicks jumped on their crosstown rivals early and never looked back. Kristaps Porzingis helped out with 28 more in the Knicks’ return home after their longest road trip of the year. DeMarre Carroll had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead a balanced Nets attack. Brooklyn has now lost four in a row.

Raptors 109 (34-15), Timberwolves 104 (32-22)

DeMar DeRozan scored eight points in the fourth quarter and 23 overall to lead the Raptors to their third win in four games. DeRozan went 10-11 from the line and also handed out eight assists. Every Minnesota starter scored in double figures and Jimmy Butler scored 25 to lead the way.

Pistons 125 (23-26), Cavaliers 114 (29-20)

The Pistons’ 11-point win is the sidebar to this game. More importantly for Cleveland, Kevin Love went down with a broken bone in his left hand and is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks. The injury came as he tried to catch a pass from Tristan Thompson and got tangled up with Anthony Tolliver. This adds to the Cavs’ recent struggles — though Cleveland had won two in a row, it has now dropped 12 out of its last 18. Newly minted All-Star Andre Drummond had 21 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Pistons.

Kings 114 (16-34), Pelicans 103 (27-23)

The Pelicans dropped to 0-2 without DeMarcus Cousins as Zach Randolph went to work for the Kings to the tune of 26 points and 12 rebounds. Kosta Koufos had 17-and-17 as well. For the Pelicans, three players scored 20-or-more points, led by 23 from Anthony Davis, but it was not enough as Sacramento outscored New Orleans by six in each of the final two quarters to pull out the win.

Spurs 106 (34-19), Nuggets 104 (26-25)

Will Barton missed a three in the final seconds that would have given Denver the win, allowing the Spurs to escape at home. LaMarcus Aldridge had a game-high 30 points for the Spurs and Jamal Murray led Denver with 18.

Oh, and Manu did this:

Jazz 129 (22-28), Warriors 99 (40-11)

Ricky Rubio led the way with 23 points and 11 assists to help the Jazz hand the Warriors their biggest blowout loss of the season. Utah outscored Golden State by at least five in every quarter, leaving little intrigue despite 27 points from Klay Thompson. Steph Curry scored just 14 and was an uncharacteristic 1-7 from three. Joe Ingles was the opposite, knocking down six of his eight attempts and scoring 20 points.

Trail Blazers 104 (28-22), Clippers 96 (25-25)

Damian Lillard hit five threes and went a perfect 11-11 from the line, scoring 28 points and leading the Trail Blazers over the now-Blake-Griffin-less Clippers. Jusuf Nurkic added 14 points and 20 rebounds, while Lou Williams had 20 off the bench to lead the Clippers.