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James Harden: ‘Have you ever seen me not play because of load management?’

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James Harden played 78 games last season, 72 the season before that (which was impacted by a strained hamstring), and either 81 or 82 games the three seasons before that. The former MVP does not take time off and has said before he wouldn’t do load management.

In the wake of the pointless discussion around Kawhi Leonard sitting out half of a back-to-back Wednesday vs. Milwaukee, Harden was asked about rest and said exactly what you would expect him to say — he’s not doing it. Via Michael Shapiro of SI Now:

No, I have not seen Harden take a load management game.

I have seen him fade and hit a wall deep in the playoffs, as the heavy load he was asked to carry too long finally caught up with him. The Rockets have suffered for it.

The hard-data science on the value of load management is not conclusive. However, teams have bought in. It’s not an accident the Spurs run seemed extended by it, that other elite players such as LeBron James — guys asked to take on heavy playoff loads — are better for being rested and healthy before the playoffs started, and that the Raptors’ load managing Kawhi Leonard last season played a role in his Finals MVP and the Raptors’ title.

There was talk that the Rockets would try to load manage Harden and Russell Westbrook some this season, but there was also pushback on that report.

Any rest is not going to happen this early in the season because the Rockets are still a work in progress in terms of chemistry and rotations. Houston needs Harden and Westbrook on the court (and more out of Clint Capela, but that’s another discussion). The Rockets are still finding their identity — and searching for their defense — this season.

However, as the calendar moves along and flips over to 2020, having Harden miss a handful of back-to-backs or other games could be beneficial in the long run. The Rockets see themselves as contenders, but to push the Los Angeles teams a lot of things need to come together in Houston — and they will need full MVP Harden deep into the playoffs.

Harden, however, wants no part of this load management talk.

 

 

 

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

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The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”