Tag: James Harden

Oklahoma City Thunder v Chicago Bulls

Report: Thunder to host Bulls on Christmas Day


Slowly but surely, details of the NBA’s 2015-16 regular-season schedule are emerging. The whole thing is expected to be released officially this week, but four of the five Christmas Day matchups have come out. The Pelicans will play the Heat at noon, and there will be a Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors as well as a Lakers-Clippers matchup.

Darnell Mayberry of theย Oklahoman adds a fourth game to that list: Bulls vs. Thunder, in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder will be home for Christmas.

For the sixth consecutive season, Oklahoma City will be featured in the league’s biggest holiday showcase when it hosts Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day,ย The Oklahoman has learned.

It will be the first time the Thunder has hosted a Christmas game since 2011, when it defeated Orlando inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder is 4-1 in Christmas games, with wins against Denver in 2010, the Magic in 2011, New York in 2013 and San Antonio in 2014. OKC’s lone Christmas Day loss came at Miami in 2012.

The league has not yet determined the time of the Thunder-Bulls game. An afternoon tip is likely.

If everyone involved is healthy, this should be a good one. We haven’t had a Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook point-guard matchup since December 6, 2010. Jimmy Butler, who made a name for himself this postseason defending LeBron James in the playoffs, will likely be matched up with Kevin Durant. The coaching battle between Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan, two highly successful college coaches with no NBA experience, will be fun to watch as well.

This leaves one Christmas Day matchup yet to be determined. Spurs-Rockets would make the most sense out of the realistic possibilities: plenty of star power (James Harden, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan) and two legitimate title contenders.ย We’ll find out tomorrow.

DeMar DeRozan dunks all over James Harden at Drew League (VIDEO)

James Harden, DeMar DeRozan

The Drew League playoffs have been going on in Los Angeles and some NBA stars have rolled out for the fun, including LA natives James Harden and DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan got the best of this play, video via the fantastic Jared Zwerling. We can debate if Harden was dunked on here, he tries to block the pass, but his back is to the shot. Personally, I say he was still in the poster.

Here it is from another angle.

Harden’s revenge was that his team won the game and the Drew League title. Well, that and he’s got the better beard. And is about to get PAID.


James Harden vs. Klay Thompson at Drew League (VIDEO)

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three

We saw it in the Western Conference Finals:ย James Harden vs. Klay Thompson.

It happened again this week at the Drew League playoffs out in Los Angeles. The two NBA stars led teams against each other in the pro-am event and put on a little show. Harden dropped 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lead his team to the win.

It doesn’t exactly make up for the playoffs, but Harden will take it.

Hat tip to Eye on Basketball.

Report: Jason Terry unsatisfied with Rockets offer, considering Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets

Jason Terry said he was close to re-signing with the Rockets, but that was also around the time they renounced him.

Houston can still re-sign the guard. It will just take a cap exception other than a Bird exception to do so. The Rockets have two exceptions available:

  • The part of the mid-level exception not already used on K.J. McDaniels ($2,274,206)
  • The minimum-salary exception ($1,499,187)

Using any of the mid-level exception would push Houston past the non-taxpayer level and into the taxpayer level โ€“ triggering the hard cap. I doubt Daryl Morey wants to be bound by that restriction, which would limit his ability to make a big splash during the season

So, you can bet the Rockets are offering just the minimum-salary exception. I figured that would have been enough, given Houston’s title chances and proven ability to put Terry in position to succeed.

Alas, he sees it differently.

Marc Berman of Fox 26:

The Pelicans, already hard-capped, can offer the bi-annual exception ($2,139,000). It’s unlikely the hard cap โ€“ even with Terry in the fold โ€“ would significantly restrict New Orleans to the degree it would Houston.

Besides, the Pelicans really need Terry. They’re mighty thin behind Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon, both of whom have faced significant injuries in recent years. Even re-signing restricted free agent Norris Cole wouldn’t alleviate New Orleans’ backcourt depth concerns โ€“ and he’s not re-signed yet. Terry, a combo guard, would give the Pelicans flexibility to prioritize help at either backcourt position.

The Rockets โ€“ with James Harden, Ty Lawson, Patrick Beverley and Marcus Thornton โ€“ aren’t nearly as needy at guard. Houston will almost certainly sign another point guard, and Terry is probably the first choice. But if Terry won’t accept a minimum salary, the Rockets would likely let him walk and find someone who will.

Brandon Bass: Kobe Bryant is “arguably the best player in the game still”

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

We know what Kobe Bryant still thinks of his skills. Last year, when ESPN ranked him the 40th best player in the NBA right now, becauseย he was 36 years old and coming off an Achilles injury, he said they were idiots. Then Bryant missed more than half of last season due to injury (and Byron Scott wearing him down with heavy minutes early).

So where does Bryant rank now?

If you ask newest Laker Brandon Bass right at the top. Turns out the New Orleans Times-Picayune did ask Bass that question.

“…we have arguably the best player in the game still,” Bass said. “When he is healthy he is a monster still. If he is healthy he’s right up there with the best players in the league, that’s LeBron or whoever the best players in the league are. When Kobe is healthy, 19 years in the game he is still elite.”

What did you expect him to say?

But is Kobe still elite?

All-time, no doubt Kobe is elite. He will go down as one of the game’s all-time greats. He deserves the retired number in the rafters and the statue out in front of Staples โ€” none other than Jerry West called Kobe the greatest Laker. He’s an intense, old-school competitor, a guy with amazing fundamentals and footwork, a high hoops IQ, and back in the day some impressive athleticism. He’s got five rings because few players in league history have gotten as much out of their natural gifts as Kobe. He will be missed when he walks away.

But right now?

To quote Seth and Amy, “Really?”

Last season Kobe wasn’t surrounded by much talent so โ€” as he has done in the past โ€” he took on an incredible load in the offense, putting it on his back. The results were inefficient and physically wore him down (his shooting percentages dropped the deeper into the season he got). Kobe can’t carry that kind the same way as he did a decade ago. He can’t get to the rim the same way (and defenses packed it in on the Lakers) which led to 55 percent of his shots coming from 16 feet or farther out, and those shots were not falling. Kobe shot just 29.3 percent from three last season and had a true shooting percentage of 47.7 percent, well below the league average. Kobe still can pass and play a smart game (if he trusts his teammates), he also still made some plays, and he was certainly above average (which should give Lakers fans hope as Kobe will have better talent around him this season).

But elite? As in LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant kind of elite?

Sorry, but Bass is just spinning what his new team and its fans wantย to hear. Just like the idea the Lakers can make the playoffs.