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James Harden with 40 points, triple-double to lead Rockets past Raptors (VIDEO)

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James Harden had a Daryl Morey kind of night — he was 7-of-9 at the rim, 4-of-9 from three, and let’s not talk about the midrange — and that was enough to get the Rockets a big win in Toronto.

More than just scoring 40 points (on 26 shots), Harden had 11 assists and 10 rebounds for another triple-double this season. The Rockets have now won eight in a row, are solidly in third place in the West (key to avoiding Golden State in the second round), and Harden is at the heart of it all.

The Rockets are on pace for more than 60 wins (63 right now). If the Rockets win around 60 and Harden keeps up this pace, does he beat out Russell Westbrook for the MVP?

DeMarcus Cousins picks up technical for punching chair (VIDEO)

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DeMarcus Cousins was getting in a little speed bag work.

Sacramento was leading Golden State in the second quarter when Cousins picked up a foul for contact with Draymond Green, which led to coach Dave Joerger taking him out of the game. A frustrated Cousins went to the bench and took out his frustrations on a defenseless chair (video above).

Cousins was given a technical for that.

If — as a lot of people around the league expect — Cousins is offered and accepts a designated-player, $200+million contract this summer, we should have years of these kinds of moments in our future. This dysfunctional marriage could last a while.

Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris lead Wizards over Bucks 107-101

Associated Press
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 26 points and Markieff Morris added 20 points with 10 rebounds, leading the Washington Wizards over the Milwaukee Bucks 107-101 on Sunday.

Jabari Parker‘s basket brought the Bucks within 104-101 with 1:05 to play, but Washington grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed jumper by John Wall. Otto Porter then found Morris wide open under the hoop off an inbounds play for a basket with 37.9 seconds left.

The Wizards began the second half on a 15-6 run to take a 64-63 lead on Kelly Oubre‘s dunk. Oubre had 10 of his 17 points in the third, helping Washington outscore the Bucks 33-21 in the quarter.

Parker led Milwaukee with 28 points. Malcolm Brogdon finished with a career-high 22 points and Michael Beasley scored 18 points in 16 minutes off the bench.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was ill and didn’t play.

Milwaukee hit 7 of 12 attempts from 3-point range in the first half and led 57-49 at the break.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Beal briefly went down after colliding with Porter in the second quarter. He limped off the court but stayed in the game following a timeout.

Bucks: G Matthew Dellevadova returned after missing five games with a strained right hamstring. … Milwaukee’s eight steals in the first quarter were its most in any quarter since April 9, 2006 . Beasley left the game with a left shin contusion with 1:24 left in the third quarter and did not return.

GIANNIS SITS

Antetokounmpo reported to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Sunday morning, was evaluated by a team doctor and ruled out.

“He’s just sick,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Next guy up. We have plenty of guys, so it is the next one up.”

Antetokounmpo, who practiced Saturday, had played in all 35 games for the Bucks this season and has missed just three over the last two seasons.

The 22-year-old Antetokounmpo is averaging 24.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 steals per game.

 

Report: Mike Dunleavy wants buyout, has yet to report to Hawks after trade

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The Cleveland Cavaliers made the win-now move of upgrading Mike Dunleavy for Kyle Korver in a trade, at the cost of a first-round pick.

Korver was emotional about leaving Atlanta, a city and team he loved. However, he’s in Cleveland now ready to bolster the Cavaliers title hopes.

Dunleavy has yet to show up in Atlanta, reports Marc Stein and Marc Spears of ESPN.

The Hawks do not have long-term plans to keep Dunleavy around, the trade took a couple of days to go through in part because the two sides were looking for a third team to take Dunleavy. Nobody was found, so the Hawks brought him in as a contract/body that could be part of coming trades for Paul Millsap/Thabo Sefolosha/Tim Hardaway Jr.

Understandably, Dunleavy would like to control his own destiny: Get a buyout, become a free agent, sign with a playoff bound team. The leverage he has is that the trade does not officially go through until he reports and takes a physical.

I’d be surprised if this takes long to get sorted out, but it could hold up Korver suiting up for the Cavaliers by a few days (he was expected to play Tuesday against Utah).

Chris Paul racks up 8,000th career assist with dish to Mo Speights for dunk (VIDEO)

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It is only fitting that Chris Paul reached an assist milestone on a pick-and-roll.

CP3 had Mo Speights come back and set a second pick, and when 3/5ths of the Heat defense focused on Paul he slid a bounce pass to Speights, who threw it down for two. Paul is 10th on the NBA all-time assist chart. At some point next season he should pass Andre Miller, and he will move farther up that list before it’s all over. (John Stockton tops the list with 15,806. Not sure if anyone ever catches him.)

Paul was doing much more than that to torture the Heat defenders.

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