Kurt Helin

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Three things we learned Monday: Curry sets record, Harden gets buckets

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It’s election day — get out and vote. Then come back and read up on what was going on Monday night around the NBA, the stuff you missed when trying to figure out how to vote on down-ballot races and propositions.

1) Damn, Stephen CurryDidn’t it seem inevitable that Curry would set the record for most threes in a game? He’ll probably break this one some day. But when Curry gets on this kind of roll, there’s no more entertaining player in the NBA to watch, and we were reminded of that Monday.

The wild thing is, the Pelican’s defense wasn’t much worse than the Lakers defense on Curry the Friday night before in Los Angeles, but against the Lakers Curry was 0-of-10 from deep (with four of those being completely uncontested, he just couldn’t hit them). The Pelicans paid the price for that. Stephen Curry set an NBA record hitting 13 three pointers in one game Monday night in what was a shooting fireworks show. Curry was 13-of-17 from three, his 76.5 percent shooting the highest in a single game of any player who has taken at least 14 attempts (via @statmuse).  Also, Curry now has seven games with at least 10 three-pointers, next on that all-time list are Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith with three.

Curry had 46 points on the night, check out his buckets.

Just incredible.

The Warriors offense still isn’t completely in sync, at times it still looks a little stiff and robotic — a little predictable, like you can see where the next pass is going. But if Curry is this hot (or Kevin Durant, or Klay Thompson) it just doesn’t matter.

2) James Harden is putting up wild numbers. Like we expected. It feels like we haven’t talked enough about just how amazing James Harden has been this season on offense. Because we expected it in Mike D’Antoni’s system. And because Russell Westbrook is also putting up numbers, or Curry is going off from three, or DeMar DeRozan is having a historic start for Toronto.

But Harden has been a flat-out offensive machine — he had 32 points and 15 assists in the Rockets’ win in Washington. That’s four games in a row where Harden dropped at least 30 and 10 — the last guy to do that was Michael Jordan in 1988-89 (he went five in a row). Or there is this stat via @statmuse: Harden is first player since December 1986 to have three games with at least 30 points and 15 assists in a single month.

Harden has 133 points and 57 assists over his last four games. If you’ve got some time, this is worth watching.

3) The Charlotte Hornets are good and off to the best start in franchise history. The Los Angeles Clippers lead the NBA in net rating so far, outscoring opponents by 13.5 points per 100 possessions. Who is second? Not the undefeated Cavaliers. Not San Antonio. Not Golden State or Toronto or Atlanta.

It’s Charlotte — and with that the Hornets are off to a franchise-record 5-1 start, capped by a 122-101 win over the Pacers on Monday. This game was pretty much over from the start when the Hornets put up 43 points in the first quarter — Charlotte scored on its first 12 possessions. All game the Charlotte defense forced turnovers that led to easy buckets the other way, and they contained Paul George who had just 10 points, as well as Monta Ellis who had seven. Kemba Walker led the way with 24 points, but six Charlotte players were in double figures as they poured it on the struggling Pacers.

The Hornets are of to this start thanks to the third best defense in the NBA and a Top 10 offense. Under coach Steve Clifford, this kind of defense is sustainable — but the tests are coming. The knock on the Hornets fast start is the soft schedule, their wins came against the Bucks, Heat, Sixers, Nets, and Pacers — only Milwaukee is over .500. That’s about to change. The next three games are against the Jazz, Raptors, and Cavaliers (followed by the Timberwolves and Hawks). After that stretch we’ll have a better idea just how good this team really is.

But in what will be a tight pack in the Eastern Conference below Cleveland, getting of to a fast start is an advantage — it’s certainly better than digging out of a hole, like a number of other teams with playoff dreams are having to do.

Watch Stephen Curry set NBA record with 13 three pointers in one game

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When he’s shooting like this, there’s nothing anyone can do.

Friday night, Stephen Curry went 0-of-10 from three, ending his record 157 consecutive games with a made three streak and being a key part of the Warriors loss to the Lakers. He had clean looks in that game, he just missed.

Monday night, it looked like he couldn’t miss.

Curry set a new NBA record hitting 13 threes in one game as part of the Warriors win at home over the Pelicans. Curry shot 13-of-17 from beyond the arc and finished with 46 points, leading the Warriors to the 116-106 victory. Curry was also making plays on defense and just had one of those nights — the Pelicans paid the price for Curry’s off night in L.A.

Watch all the record-setting threes below.

John Wall ejected late in Wizards loss on quick trigger call

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John Wall was frustrated and fired up Monday night — the Wizards have had a rough start to the season and were down five late to the Rockets at home (a game Houston would ultimately win, dropping the Wizards to 1-5).

Wall had picked up a technical foul earlier in the game, then this happened between Wall and crew chief Marc Davis with 33.3 seconds remaining.

That got Wall a second technical and an ejection. Here is the explanation from the officials.

To me, that’s too quick a trigger by Davis.

Should Wall have talked back and sworn at an official (assuming he did)? No. But that was a minor incident with almost no time left in a close game, Davis has to know players are emotional and let some things go. Wall didn’t intentionally bump the ref or get in his face, he was walking away. This was the official’s ego getting in the way.

Wall has a bit of a reputation and doesn’t get slack from the officials, sort of like DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes are never given the benefit of the doubt. Still, this is the referee who doesn’t quite go the full Cartman but is headed down the “respect my authoritah” road. The official needs to be the calmer head, and he wasn’t.

James Harden’s 32 points, 15 assists lead Rockets past Wizards

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WASHINGTON (AP) — James Harden set aside a rough first quarter to finish with 32 points and 15 assists, leading the Houston Rockets past the struggling Wizards 114-106 on Monday night. Washington’s John Wall broke the franchise record for career assists before getting ejected in the final minute.

Harden shot just 1 for 4 and had five turnovers in the opening period, which ended with Washington ahead 30-23. But he got more and more involved at the offensive end and scored eight consecutive Houston points in one stretch of the fourth quarter, including half of a 12-0 run that gave the Rockets a 106-95 lead with a little more than 3 1/2 minutes left.

This was his fourth consecutive game with at least 30 points and 10 assists for Harden, who entered the day leading the NBA in assists at 12.3 per game and fourth in scoring average at 31.5 points.

Ryan Anderson added 23 points for Houston.

Wall had 21 points and eight assists when he drew his second technical foul with 33.3 seconds left and Houston up 111-106. He entered the game three assists shy of Hall of Fame center Wes Unseld’s club mark of 3,822 assists and tied it in the first quarter.

He then eclipsed Unseld by feeding Bradley Beal in a 12-2 stretch to open the third quarter that briefly put the Wizards ahead. But only briefly: There were 13 lead changes in that period.

Washington, which fell to 1-5, led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but then went nearly 5 minutes without scoring, missing 10 consecutive field goal attempts. That allowed Houston to go on a 16-0 run that gave it a 50-41 lead.

The half ended with Houston up 56-47, and while Harden only had seven points by then, he did accumulate 10 assists, including three on alley-oop passes to Clint Capela.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Harden scored at least 40 points both times Houston faced Washington last season. … Fs Trevor Ariza and Nene both used to play for Washington. Nene, who went from the Wizards to the Rockets this offseason, was greeted with applause when he entered as a substitute in the first quarter; he finished with four points and four rebounds in 21 minutes.

Wizards: Wall had three assists in the first quarter to pull even with Unseld, but then had zero in the second quarter. … F Markieff Morris missed his first nine shots and wound up with seven points on 3-for-14 shooting.

BROOKS ON HARDEN

New Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who coached Harden from 2009-12 while both were with Oklahoma City, lavished praise on the guard before Monday’s game. “He has all the tricks. He’s a smart basketball player that has great skill. He has great vision. He has the strength, the quickness, to get to the rim. He knows how to draw fouls,” Brooks said. “That’s a talent and, it’s not against the rules.”

 

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Watch John Wall break Wes Unseld’s Washington record for career assists

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Wizards point guard John Wall broke Hall of Fame center Wes Unseld’s franchise record for career assists.

Wall entered Monday night’s game against the Houston Rockets three shy of Unseld’s mark of 3,822 assists and tied it in the first quarter.

He then eclipsed Unseld by feeding Bradley Beal for a dunk with 10:15 left in the third quarter. The accomplishment was announced to the crowd at the following timeout.

Wall is in his seventh season in the NBA after being the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010 out of Kentucky.