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 Curry. Didn’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.
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.