There has been some doubt that James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be able to fit together with the Houston Rockets this season. Both players have matured quite a bit since their time together in Oklahoma City with the Thunder, and now there are real questions about Westbrook’s ability to fit next to just about anyone.
Like Westbrook, Harden is a ball-dominant guard, and we still don’t know the long-term plan for Coach Mike D’Antoni. Houston has real championship hopes, but they could also look much different in a year or two.
Still, Harden and Westbrook have known each other since they were 10 years old. They grew up together in Los Angeles, and are at least very good friends. To that end, Harden says that he believes they will be able to figure it out even if the first year together has bumps along the way.
It’s like, yo, we’ll figure it out. Everything isn’t necessarily going to be smooth at first, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s part of an 82-game season. Hopefully by the end of the season, we’ve caught a rhythm and everybody is on the same page going into the playoffs. That’s all you can ask for.
That’s a pretty reasonable outlook to have at this juncture. The NBA is constantly changing, and it’s possible that these two guys could have such a personal connection that their on-court conflicts end up being negligible.
It’s another new era in Houston as they try to capitalize on the Golden State Warriors’ injury issues.
Many teams had decided to get nostalgic this season. The Portland Trail Blazers have a special 50th anniversary court, the Denver Nuggets have some cool new jerseys, and the Memphis Grizzlies are kicking it back to their days in Vancouver.
But the Dallas Mavericks are winding the clock back to just last year.
It appears that Dallas will have a Dirk Nowitzki-shaped logo on their court next season. The logo looks like a watermark in the shape of Nowitzki’s famous one-legged fadeaway.
It looks like Mavericks players are already having fun at the expense of Nowitzki, and this is a great tribute that Dallas fans are sure to love.
Just as they did five years ago at the last World Cup, France has come away with the bronze medal.
The French came from 15 down at one point to beat Australia 67-59 and win the third-place game at the FIBA World Cup in China. Former Spur Nando De Colo led the way for France with 19 points, Orlando’s Evan Fournier added 16 but on a rough shooting night (5-of–17), and Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum added nine points and six assists. You can see the game’s highlights above.
After the game, Fournier was talkative, including slamming the travel and schedule of this World Cup, spread all across China.
Utah was led by 17 points from Utah’s Joe Ingles and 15 from San Antonio’s Patty Mills.
We knew Zion Williamson was strong but…
Damn. He broke the club at the Pelicans’ team golf outing this week.
I’m surprised the ball didn’t explode into 1,000 pieces when he hit it.
Don’t spoil the magic. Sure, we all know that does happen to clubs now and again, even good Callaway ones. I don’t want to hear it.
He broke the club with his swing.
As a side note: the Pelicans are going to be so much fun to watch this season.
The Houston Rockets had their chance to head to the NBA Finals a couple of years ago. They were up on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in 2018 before Chris Paul injured his leg. Now Paul is gone, and in his place is Russell Westbrook.
But does that make them any more of a favorite to make it to the Finals?
The Rockets are certainly hoping so, and it appears that owner Tilman Fertitta knows this is a big opportunity. For once it’s the Warriors who are entering the season banged up, and Houston finally has an opening.
“I think we put ourselves in the position that if we don’t win it in the next three or four years, we probably aren’t going to win one in the next 10 years,” Fertitta told Yahoo Sports in an interview to promote his debut book titled “Shut Up And Listen,” which hits all major bookstores on Tuesday. “This is our window, and we need to seize the opportunity.”
This is completely reasonable. Most teams get a championship window in the 2-to-4 year range, and although Fertitta’s estimation might be a little generous, now is the time for the Rockets to strike while the iron is hot.
It’s not as though James Harden and Westbrook will have any less competition out west. Several teams bolstered their rosters, and of course the Los Angeles Clippers are now the favorites to take over the reins in California.
Fertitta is right, however. If there was a time to count out the Warriors at season’s start, 2019 would be it. They best get to winning some games early.