Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Get ready for Wednesday's ESPN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Nets (23-13) at Rockets (11-22)
• James Harden returns to Houston for the first time since being traded to Brooklyn in January. In eight-plus seasons with the Rockets, Harden climbed into the top 10 in franchise history in nearly every statistical category: second in scoring (18,365), first in assists (4,796), third in steals (1,087), seventh in rebounds (3,736), eighth in blocks (390), fourth in field goals made (5,391), first in 3-pointers made (2,029) and first in free throws made (5,554).
• Harden enters Wednesday’s game ranked 14th in the NBA in scoring (25.2 ppg) and leads the league in assists (11.0 apg). He is on pace to post just the sixth season in NBA history with a player averaging at least 25 points and 11 assists. Harden was the last player to do it in 2016-17. Prior to that, it has only been accomplished by Tiny Archibald in 1972-73 (when he became the only player to lead the league in both categories in the same season) and Oscar Robertson (three times).
• The Rockets enter Wednesday’s game looking to snap a 12-game losing streak — the fifth-longest losing streak in franchise history. The Rockets have averaged just 100.6 points per game since the streak began on Feb. 6 – 4.5 ppg lower than any other team during that stretch.
• This game features three of the top four isolation scorers in the league with Harden leading the way at 9.1 ppg, followed by John Wall in third place (5.1 ppg) and Kyrie Irving in fourth place (4.6 ppg). Of the 32 players that attempted at least 100 shots coming after seven or more dribbles, Irving (62.2%) and Harden (60.2%) rank 1-2 in effective field goal percentage, while Wall ranks 21st (48.6%).
• The Nets lead the NBA in offensive efficiency, scoring 117.9 points per 100 possessions. In the 477 minutes that Harden and Irving have shared the court, the Nets’ offensive rating has climbed to 122.9 with a true shooting percentage of 64.0%.
Warriors (19-16) at Trail Blazers (19-14)
• Damian Lillard (29.6 ppg) and Stephen Curry (29.5 ppg) enter Wednesday ranked third and fourth in the league in scoring, respectively. With CJ McCollum sidelined, Curry (4.8 per game) and Lillard (4.2 per game) are the only active players in the league averaging over four 3-pointers made per game.
• The Blazers and Warriors split the first two games of the season series, with each decided by 15 points or more. In the Warriors’ win on Jan. 3, Stephen Curry erupted for a career-high 62 points as he outscored Lillard and McCollum by himself, 62-60. Curry scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting (3-for-3 on 3-pointers, 2-for-2 on free throws) in 3:30 of matchup time against Gary Trent Jr. He also scored 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting (2-for-5 on 3-pointers, 4-for-4 on free throws) in just 28 seconds against Enes Kanter.
• Lillard and Curry are both famous for having unlimited shooting range. So far this season, Lillard is shooting 22-62 (35.5%) on 3-pointers between 30-39 feet from the basket, while Curry is shooting 16-37 (43.2%) from the same distance.
• The Warriors rank sixth in fast break points (14.9 per game), while Portland ranks 27th in fast break points allowed (14.4). The Warriors are 6-2 this season when they score at least 20 fast break points in a game.
• The Blazers’ five-man lineup of Lillard, Kanter, Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. and Gary Trent Jr. has a net efficiency rating of 21.4 in 188 minutes played together over 17 games. Of the 42 lineups that have played at least 100 minutes together, this group ranks third in offensive rating (128.1) and net rating (21.4) and 13th in defensive rating (106.7).