Monday NBA grades: Blake Griffin shows off his jumper (and yes, he can still dunk)

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Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while hiding from your cat that scared you so much you called 911….

source:  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers. This was as good an offensive performance as Griffin has had in the pros — 37 points on 14-of-16 shooting. After the game Chris Paul said he felt bad he didn’t get Griffin the ball more. This wasn’t Griffin finishing alley-oops, this was him knocking down jumpers from the elbow and showing off his Tim Duncanesque 16 foot bank shot from the wing. Check out his shot chart.

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Of course, there were dunks, too.

By the way, he gets an A- because he fouled out late and without him the Clippers almost blew a late lead.

source:  Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks. This is why everybody wanted him in trades at the deadline, this is why the Knicks wouldn’t give him up. After a prolonged slump (rookie wall?) Hardaway had 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting, knocking down 5-of-7 from three as he was just bombs away. Amar’e Stoudemire and Hardaway won the Knicks this game, a sentence that will never again be typed in all of human history.

source:  Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. It was in a losing cause to the suddenly hot Knicks, but the rookie got his second career triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He was attacking the rim and aggressive from the start (as was Tony Wroten), when that happens good things follow. His coach Brett Brown said after the game MCW is “starting to figure stuff out.” By the way, he has pretty much wrapped up the ROY.

source:  Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks. The streak may be over but Korver is still making plays — it’s not that he had 26 on the night on 8-of-12 shooting and going 4-of-4 from three (well, partially it was), it was that with the game tied late he had five straight to put Atlanta up 101-96 with 1:36 to play. The Hawks held on for a much needed victory (it keeps the Knicks 3.5 back for the final playoff spot in the East).

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LeBron James’ best play from every game in 2016-17 (VIDEO)

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I’m not sure it’s possible to argue that LeBron James is not the most important player in the NBA, even in 2016-17.

Yes, others have won the MVP award in years past, but each and every postseason you understand just how important LeBron is to every roster he is on. NBA players even voted him as the player they would most secretly want on their team.

That’s why it’s pretty easy to galvanize that opinion when you watch a 20-minute highlight video of LeBron’s best plays from each game of the past season.

Summer is upon us and even preseason seems like a long way off. Thankfully, we will be able to get to see plays like this here in what feels like the near future.

C.J. McCollum’s cab driver had some hilarious opinions on today’s NBA

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I think we’ve all been in the situation that C.J. McCollum found himself in recently.

Whether you are a hardcore NBA fan, a blogger, a professional writer, or a basketball player, when folks interested in the league find out about your passion, they often try to connect with you about it. Which is great! Especially as sometimes you get cats like the one who was driving the Portland Trail Blazers star guard in the video below.

Now, I have to warn you about some NSFW language, but what the guy had to say was pretty great. Hilarious, even.

The topics ranged from superstars being on the same team, to hating the Golden State Warriors, to the future success of the Blazers themselves.

Again, some extremely NSFW language ahead but also some serious laughs to be had.

Via Instagram:

CJ McCollum's drive to the airport was something. 😂 (via @3jmccollum)

A post shared by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on

I’m dying. This guy is the best.

Watch Stephen Curry’s best play from every game last year (VIDEO)

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It was probably damn near impossible to put together at this video.

Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star point guard/human highlight machine, produces enough good content on a given night for multiple highlight videos. Going through and selecting just the best play from each game must have been a difficult challenge.

But here we are.

The NBA published a video to their YouTube channel this week of the single best play from each game of Curry’s 2016-17 season. The result is a 20-minute video that is well worth the watch.

Summer can seem to drag on, but seeing back-to-back plays like this just makes you thirsty for the winter.

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.