The Houston Rockets tie the NBA record for most 3-pointers, blow past Golden State

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We thought Rockets-Warriors might be a shootout, but this was more like the grand finale of a fireworks show for a full 48 minutes. Behind a record trying 3-point performance, the Rockets issued a 140-109 beatdown of the Golden State Warriors in Houston. Let’s allow the numbers to tell the story:

77

We probably should have known something was up when the Rockets dropped 77 points by halftime. So far this season, 45 teams have scored less than 77 points over the course of an entire game. It took the Rockets just 24 minutes to hit that mark on Tuesday night.

14

The Rockets shot a ridiculous 14-for-18 from behind the arc in the first half, peppering the ball around the perimeter and playing drive and kick basketball. The 14 3-pointers in a half tied an NBA record.

17

You would think the Warriors would start chasing shooters off the line a little better, but the Rockets just kept on firing in the second half. Houston eclipsed the previous franchise record of 17 3-pointers when Toney Douglas nailed one from the corner….in the third quarter. It’s not very often you see a prominent NBA franchise snap a single-game record in the third quarter, but the Rockets didn’t stop there.

23

The 2008-2009 Orlando Magic club held the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a game. The Magic hit 23 shots from behind the arc in a 139-107 win over the Sacramento Kings on January 13th of 2009. While Jeremy Lin, James Harden and Chandler Parsons combined for 13 3-pointers on their own, it would be up to Houston’s reserves to try and break the NBA record, mainly because Golden State couldn’t quite keep pace. With the starters out, seldom used backup big man Donatas Motiejunas nailed a 3 with 3:41 left in the game to tie the NBA record.

24?

With ample time left on the clock, the Rockets had a few shots at the record. Patrick Beverley missed a 3-pointer on the very next possession, and then Marcus Morris missed one on the offensive rebound. After that, Golden State decided they wouldn’t have an NBA record set against them, and they started letting Houston do anything but shoot 3-pointers. Beverley, who was likely happy to just be out there, took full advantage of the open lanes by driving to the rim again and again. Things started to get a bit testy though…

:34

With 34 seconds left, Beverley went to attempt a record-breaking 3-pointer at the urging of the crowd. However, Warriors forward Draymond Green didn’t take too kindly to it all and committed a hard foul to prevent the attempt. Words were understandably exchanged, and Green and Marcus Morris were both ejected from the game. Houston would end up getting one more possession, but Golden State intentionally fouled right away to deny the Rockets of their shot at history.

5

Jeremy Lin set a new career-high with 5 made 3-pointers. Lin is just a career 29.7 percent 3-point shooter, but he connected on 5-for-8 in the win over the team he started his career with.

140

The 140 points scored by the Rockets is the most by an NBA team this season, and the most points in regulation by any team since 2010, when the Pacers defeated the Nuggets 144-113.

35

The Rockets tied the NBA record for most 3-pointers by going 23-of-40 from the land of plenty, but they also set a team season high for assists with 35. The fact that the Rockets assisted on 35 of 46 made field goals and turned it over just 8 times should give you a sense of just how dominant of an offensive performance this was. Oddly enough, the Rockets had more assists (35) than points in the paint (34). How often does that happen?

James Harden on recruiting Chris Paul from LA: “He didn’t seem happy”

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One of the most interesting storylines of the first month of this upcoming NBA season will be the Houston Rockets.

The team has paired MVP candidate James Harden with one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, but it remains to be seen whether the two will be able to work together with the kind of efficiency that Mike D’Antoni’s team had in 2016-17.

Harden has been the subject of some chatter already this offseason after a photo of him surfaced on Instagram. In it, Harden looked to have added a significant portion of muscle this summer, which may help him as he moves back to a more off-ball style of play with Paul in the fold.

Harden was also the subject of significant scrutiny at the end of last season, where he failed in the playoffs in spectacular fashion against the San Antonio Spurs.

In a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Harden said his newfound weight gain has been part of his plan to combat late-season fatigue. Harden has also introduced yoga and pilates into his workout routine.

Perhaps more interesting information from Harden’s interview with Amick revealed just how much impact he had recruiting Chris Paul in the trade from Los Angeles Clippers, and Paul’s attitude at the end of the season toward his former team.

Via USA Today:

Harden, who signed a four-year extension this summer and will earn a combined $228 million by the end of the 2022-23 season, had everything to do with the move.

“I just knew that in the summertime obviously (Paul) was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was,” Harden said of Paul, who will now be a free agent next summer. “He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there.

“Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance.”

It certainly makes sense that after years of perpetual playoff failure by the Clippers that Paul would want to move on. Harden and CP3 seem to enjoy each other at the moment, and a pairing does seem to make sense on paper. We will see how that plays out over the course of next season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo announces he will not play for Greece in Eurobasket

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Giannis Antetokounmpo said had big plans to play for the Greek national team this summer, taking his country back to the top of the European ladder at EuroBasket (they had won the tournament a dozen years ago).

Instead, a sore knee will keep the Greek Freak out of EuroBasket. He made the announcement on his Facebook page.

Antetokounmpo had missed all but one of Greece’s early EuroBasket tune-ups due to a sore knee. That, understandably, concerned the Bucks, especially with his four-year, $100 million contract extension about to kick in next season.

Antetokounmpo is in China promoting shoes, but said he on Facebook he took a physical while there and was not able to complete the exercises due to pain.

“It is by far the biggest disappointment in my career. I must deal with the problem,” Antetokounmpo said in the Facebook post (written in Greek).

Within hours of the post going up, the Greek basketball federation released a statement slamming the Bucks and Antetokounmpo, saying they had done an MRI of his knee and found no damage.

“The simultaneous report by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo himself, by phone and social media from faraway China, and not by the appropriate official manner, of his inability to join the national men’s team saddens us … but is not surprising… A series of indications … had convinced us of the existence of an organized and well-staged plan by (the Bucks), with the full knowledge if not encouragement of the NBA that put the athlete on the spot and forced him to announce today that he is no longer part of the men’s national team.”

Great, just what the world needs, another conspiracy theory.

While NBA teams generally are not huge fans of their stars playing in national team tournaments (due to the injury risk), teams cannot stop a healthy player from playing. Antetokounmpo said this was his decision because he is in pain and has to think about the upcoming NBA season.

Whatever the Greek Federation believes internally, slamming the player and his team publicly like this is one good way to make sure he will not want to play for them in the future. He’s got knee pain, they are saying “you’re fine, walk it off, ” and that must have Antetokounmpo and the people around him wondering if the Greek Federation has his best interests — or theirs — at heart.

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

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We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.