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?

“Tired” Jimmy Butler sits out All-Star Game at his own request

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LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler leads the NBA in minutes played per game at 37.3. He’s ninth in the league in total minutes played and played 77:35 minutes in the two games leading up to All-Star Weekend.

Butler was tired and asked Mike D’Antoni to give him some rest. Butler did not play in Sunday’s All-Star Game, at his own request.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

“He was tired and he just felt like his legs weren’t there,” Team Stephen head coach Mike D’Antoni. “He didn’t practice yesterday or play today. You have to respect that. He plays hard. Sometimes your body just needs a rest.”

Butler is having the kind of season that has him in the discussion for a place on the MVP ballot. He’s averaging 22.4 points per game with a very efficient true shooting percentage of 59.3, plus he’s playing strong defense. He and Karl-Anthony Towns have led the Timberwolves to a 36-25 record that has them as the current four seed in the West, poised to break an 11-year playoff drought for the franchise.

Still thankful, LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan’s record for years between All-Star MVPs

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Los Angeles – When LeBron James became the youngest-ever NBA All-Star MVP in 2006, he said during the trophy presentation: “I’d like to thank the fans for voting me in as a starter.”

Twelve years later, he sounds similar, maybe just a little more thoughtful: “It’s always been my fans who voted me in. For 14 straight years, my fans have voted me in as an All-Star starter, and it’s been up to me to go out and let them know and show them, listen, I appreciate that, and here’s what I’m going to give to you every time you vote me in.”

He plays similarly, too.

LeBron again won All-Star MVP, leading his team to a 148-145 victory Sunday. He finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

“Every night I step on the floor, I have to lead my guys or prove to myself that I’m still able to play at a high level,” said LeBron, 33. “I feel great.”

The 12-year gap between LeBron’s first and last All-Star MVP – he also won in 2008 – is the longest in NBA history. It tops the 10 years between Michael Jordan’s first (1988) and last (1998).

Here’s the difference between the first and last All-Star MVP for every multi-time winner:

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Players’ effort in this exhibition game comes and goes, but LeBron appeared invigorated .

When LeBron’s team trailed by 15 in the second quarter, he checked in and quickly led it back into the lead. When his team fell behind by 13 midway through the fourth quarter, he again led a spirited comeback. He hit the go-ahead bucket.

Despite playing a game-high 31 minutes, his intensity lasted all the way through the final buzzer.

His coach, the Raptors’ Dwane Casey, said he asked LeBron whether to foul or defend on the final possession while up three. LeBron said defend.

“If he says that, or any great players say that, you want to go with them because it was their idea, their belief, and he had it,” Casey said. “…He got the guys jacked up and juiced up as far as wanting to get a stop.”

LeBron and Kevin Durant swarmed Stephen Curry, who couldn’t shoot and could barely pass. Curry’s team didn’t even get a shot off:

“As you can hear in my voice, that tells how competitive it was,” LeBron said scratchily.

Again, his message echoed 2006: “We’re competitors, and our competitive nature kicked in and said let’s get some defensive stops.”

A lot will get made about the format change, and it might have mattered.

But maybe LeBron is just uniquely capable of dominating and embracing of this stage all these years later.

Defense? Dramatic finish? Team LeBron wins All-Star Game that’s worth watching

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LOS ANGELES — The NBA gambled its new format — with captains picking teams playground style — would produce an All-Star Game where the players showed some pride, played hard, and the showcase again would become something that resembled basketball (unlike last season).

It worked.

For proof guys were invested this time around, check out how Team LeBron responded to winning with a defensive stop, taking away Team Stephen’s attempt to get a clean look at a game-tying three in the closing seconds.

The THRILL of #NBAAllStar VICTORY!

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“It had a real game feel to it,” LeBron James said.

Team LeBron beat Team Stephen 148-145. LeBron was named MVP with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. He also hit the game-tying and go-ahead shot that got the win.

“I played with (LeBron) a few times,” Kyrie Irving said of the play and pass that set up that LeBron game-winner. “I cut back door, (Russell Westbrook) was driving, I saw the opportunity. I saw, before even Russ even passed to me, LeBron was going to circle to the rim, and he’s one of the best finishers at the rim.”

Most importantly, this was an All-Star Game with some defense — it had 81 fewer points than the layup line game last year, and the fewest points in five years. It also proved to be the closest game in six years.

“We wanted to kind of change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke,” Kevin Durant said. “Today we wanted to make it a real basketball game.”

There was more defense than last year from the start of the game — for example, LeBron blocked an alley-oop pass in the first quarter. Of course, “better than last year” was not a high bar to clear, but there was some effort to not just have a layup line. Most of the time.

Also to start the game, Anthony Davis came out wearing the “0” jersey of injured teammate DeMarcus Cousins (he switched back to his own #23 before the first half was over).

On the night, Team LeBron got 19 points out of Kevin Durant, 16 from Paul George, and 14 from Andre Drummond. Team Stephen was led by 21 from both DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard, and 19 points and eight rebounds from Joel Embiid in his first All-Star Game.

The fantastic ending made up for what was a laughable opening skit/national anthem before tip-off that did something very rare — it unified NBA Twitter. It was awful.

Now all anybody is talking about is the game itself. And that’s what the NBA wanted.

LeBron James hits go-ahead shot in All-Star win (video)

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LOS ANGELES – LeBron James‘ team trailed by 13 midway through the fourth quarter of the All-Star game, but he led a competitive comeback.

This shot put his team up 146-145 over Stephen Curry‘s team, and Team LeBron held on for a 148-145 win:

Great penetration by Russell Westbrook, and he and Kyrie Irving moved the ball well. LeBron made it count.