Houston Rockets guard James Harden directs his team against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half of their Game 1 NBA Playoffs basketball game in Oklahoma City.

James Harden: 29-point loss to Thunder ‘was definitely good for us’


A 120-91 loss to the Thunder in Game 1? No problem for the Rockets, says James Harden.

“Losing like this was definitely good for us,” Harden said. ”Now, we know how to play. It’s a lot of guys’ first time here, even in the playoffs.”

Call me crazy, but I think Game 1 was better for the Thunder, who need to win three of the next six to advance, as opposed to the Rockets, which now must win four of six.

I don’t begrudge Harden for taking an optimistic approach, and I could even get behind him – if we’re talking about the long-term.

The Rockets don’t have the depth and talent to beat the Thunder this season, but these losses could be for Houston in the long run. The Rockets have several young players with room to get much better, and a better understanding of playoff basketball’s level of play could push them to work harder in the offseason.

So, maybe that loss will be good for Houston – just not anytime soon.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
Leave a comment

Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.