Unsurprisingly, Mike Harris named D-League MVP

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According to a release (via Ridiculous Upside) that was necessary only in formalizing an already anticipated declaration, Mike Harris was named the MVP of the D-League this season.

Harris has been dynamite for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season, and he averaged 27.1 points (on 58 percent shooting), 10.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He had 11 games with 30+ points, and scored in double-figures in every single one of his games in the D this season. In terms of D-League dominance, no player could match Harris’ longevity or dominance this season, and he was called-up to the NBA three times this season, the last of which scored him a spot on the Houston Rockets for the remainder of the season.

Harris has been assigned back to the Vipers for the time being, likely so he could continue to play in the D-League playoffs. Rio Grande Valley is currently battling the Spurs-affiliated Austin Toros for a spot in the D-League Finals, and last night Harris’ Vipers evened the second-round, best-of-three series at 1-1. As for Harris himself? Oh, nothing notable. He just dropped 41 points on 15-of-19 shooting, went perfect on four attempts from the arc, got to the line eight times, and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Harris doesn’t have an unguaranteed salary for next season like some of the other late-season D-League call-ups, but based on his thorough spanking of his opposition in the D and his effectiveness during limited playing time for the Rockets, I’d be shocked if he didn’t stick around with Houston for summer league and training camp. 

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.