Recapping Week 15 in NBA: Harden stays hot, All-Star starters are here & more
Recapping Week 15 in NBA: Harden stays hot, All-Star starters are here & more
Jeff Case, NBA.com
Take a look back at the week that was in the NBA with a collection of some of the best games, videos, photos, features and more from around the NBA world.
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Games of the Week
Sixers 121, Rockets 93 — Philadelphia fancies itself as a serious contender for the Eastern Conference crown this season, and made some statements this week that helped back up that case. The first came on Monday, as it breezed past the Rockets despite James Harden passing the 30-point mark again.
Warriors 130, Lakers 111 — Just when you think Golden State can’t one-up themselves in the shooting department, they prove you wrong. Klay Thompson had the honors on Monday night, netting his first 10 3-pointers (and finishing 10-for-11 on 3-pointers overall) to tie an NBA record.
Thunder 123, Blazers 114 — Oklahoma City isn’t about to let a lead in the Northwest Division slip out of its grasp this season. Building a 2-0 lead on the reigning division champs — as the Thunder did with their win Tuesday night — will only serve to help that cause.
Pacers 110, Raptors 106 — Victor Oladipo’s rise the last two seasons from solid, young player to All-Star and go-to guy for Indiana has been thrilling to watch. The polar opposite came on Wednesday night as Oladipo went down with a knee injury vs. Toronto that would ultimately rule him out for the rest of 2018-19. At least the Pacers finally won a game against an East power team — but this wasn’t how they wanted that to happen.
Rockets 114, Knicks 110 — No fantastic scoring run in NBA lore would be complete without an epic game at Madison Square Garden, would it? James Harden will never have to answer that question after torching the New York Knicks for 61 points (a career-high) as well as logging the game-sealing dunk and steal down the stretch.
Rockets 121, Raptors 119 — Another night, another thrilling win for Houston. This one was a true matchup of star power as Harden (35 points) and Kawhi Leonard (32 points) put on a solid scoring show all night long. Toronto made a late run at the win, but Leonard couldn’t sink a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Warriors 115, Celtics 111 — National TV spotlight. Star power galore. And a game that did not disappoint. These two Finals favorites waged a game that featured 21 lead changes. Boston had three chances to tie or take the lead down the stretch, but couldn’t deliver. And, it was a historic game, too: Warriors coach Steve Kerr became the fastest coach to amass 300 wins.
Thunder 118, Bucks 112 — Oklahoma City star Paul George has garnered some Kia MVP buzz (on this very web site, even) of late. On Sunday, he showed any doubters why that was the case. In a national TV game against a fellow MVP type (Giannis Antetokounmpo), George had his way in guiding OKC to one of its biggest wins of the season.
Stat Lines of the Week
James Harden (37 points, 12-26 FG, 6-13 3-point FG, 6 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk in 31 minutes) — Yes, this came in a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Still, you have to sit back and watch the many different ways in which Harden manages to keep this 30-point scoring streak going each night. | Watch | Video box score
James Harden (61 points, 17-38 FG, 22-25 FT, 15 reb, 4 ast, 5 stl in 40 minutes) — Harden not only notched his career high on Wednesday, but tied Kobe Bryant’s record for a visiting player at the current Madison Square Garden. Harden made the night even more memorable, too, sinking the clinching layup with 3.8 seconds to seal the win. | Watch | Video box score
James Harden (35 points, 9-25 FG, 15-15 FT, 2 reb, 7 ast in 40 minutes) — Make your free throws, kids. On a night when he struggled from deep — 2-for-13 on 3-pointers — he went 15-for-15 at the line. As he did in New York two nights earlier, he also had a key layup — this one with about 90 seconds left that pushed Houston’s lead to 117-105. | Watch | Video box score
James Harden (40 points, 14-27 FG, 4-12 3-point FG, 8-9 FT, 11 reb, 6 ast, 3 blk in 37 minutes) — Hard to believe, but it was Harden’s defense that might have been the story Sunday vs. the Orlando Magic. He was instrumental in shutting down Magic center Nikola Vucevic — who had killed Houston in the first half — and scored five critical points down the stretch in a comeback win. | Watch | Video box score
Kevin Durant (33 points, 10-23 FG, 12-13 FT, 9 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk in 39 minutes) — He had the most points for Golden State on Saturday in Boston, but he was hardly the only one to come up big vs. the Celtics. Props here to Klay Thompson (who sank two critical late free throws) and Stephen Curry (two more late FTs with 6.2 seconds left) to ice the game. Durant got the headline here scoring-wise, but this game — especially down the stretch — showed why Golden State is so dangerous. | Watch | Video box score
Luka Doncic (35 points, 14-24 FG, 12 reb, 10 ast in 36 minutes) — Pick an NBA legend. Got one in mind? Now, realize that none of them has accomplished what Doncic did Sunday in getting this triple-double. Doncic became the youngest player to record a 30-point triple-double, bypassing LeBron James (40-10-10 at 20 years, 100 days old) and De’Aaron Fox (31-10-15; 20 years, 316 days). | Watch | Video box score
Paul George (36 points, 12-21 FG, 8-12 3-point FG, 13 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl in 38 minutes) — Maybe there is something to this Paul George-for-Kia-MVP talk after all, huh? The Thunder star put on a show — including a must-see (and clutch) poster jam over Giannis Antetokounmpo — as the Thunder won their sixth straight game. Watch | Video box score
Best plays from Week 15
Quotes of the Week
“Tonight they kept me going and made the game exciting for me.” — Rockets guard James Harden, on Knicks fans during his 61-point game Wednesday at Madison Square Garden
“It’s a tough situation. That kid has a beautiful spirit about him. He has always been one to try and to lift us up. We’ve got to lift him now” — Pacers coach Nate McMillan, after Victor Oladipo was injured Wednesday vs. Toronto
“He’s created more nightmares for game plans. He’s just a great humble, normal, hard-working guy.” — Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, on Dirk Nowitzki
“I get to play basketball. I was sitting home playing with my kids, playing superheroes every day.” — Sixers reserve Corey Brewer, who was signed to a 10-day deal last week
“That’ll definitely be on `Shaqtin a Fool.’ ” — Warriors guard Klay Thompson, after teammate Stephen Curry was alone for a fast-break dunk vs. the Lakers but instead slipped, fell and wound up airballing a 3-pointer
“He talked to me, I talked to him back. I think he tried to hit me. Everybody could see I didn’t throw a punch. In this league a lot of guys think they are tough and they are not.” — Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, who got into a scuffle with Suns guard Devin Booker in the third quarter on Tuesday. Both players were ejected for the incident
“It’s a tough place to play, and an 8:30 start, which means an extra hour of beer time for the local Bostonians. So probably going to be a little loud in there tonight.” — Warriors coach Steve Kerr, before Saturday’s game vs. the Celtics
“I heard the fans chanting, `We want Enes! We need Enes!’ I want to appreciate the Nets fans for cheering like that. That’s love.” — Knicks center Enes Kanter
“Sometimes, tempers flare and kind of lose it a little. But at the end of the day, you know he means well. It’s part of the job. It was just one of those times I lost it.” — Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson, after he was ejected Friday vs. Utah
“I don’t think going into the game I need these points, rebounds. I just play hard and try to win. If it happens, I like it, and it’s cool.” — Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, after he logged a triple-double Saturday vs. Philadelphia
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We’re all busy. But there’s lots of great content on NBA.com that you might have missed in the hubbub of your life. Take a moment, slow down and soak up some of our best stories, videos and more.
VIDEOS FROM WEEK 15
GameTime: Closer look at Warriors’ winning ways
GameTime: Another milestone for Mavs’ Doncic
Arena Link: Nets’ Harris in midst of career season
Perfect Player: Who is the most athletic player in the NBA?
Inside The NBA: Spike Lee on his Oscar nomination & more
Inside The NBA: Predictions for East reserves
Inside The NBA: Predictions for West reserves
Storytime with Shaq: All-Star debut back in 1993
Players Only: Best moments from season so far
Players Only: George on OKC: ‘There’s love here’
STORIES FROM WEEK 15
* Schuhmann: Warriors jump shooting more than ever
* Kia MVP Ladder: George proving his worth as Kia MVP candidate
* Old School Power Rankings: Some fresh faces arrive