Recapping Week 14 in NBA: Harden sizzles, Cousins debuts and 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
Rockets 112, Grizzlies 94 — In the first of two 50-plus point games this week, Rockets star James Harden was up to 36 points by halftime en route to a 57-point game. Harden topped 50 for the third time in 2018-19 and the 12th time in his career while topping 40 points for the 14th time this season.
Hornets 108, Spurs 93 — Of all the defeats San Antonio may log this season, this is one they probably won’t be too upset over months from now. The reason? Tony Parker came back to town with the Hornets, and while the former Finals MVP and Spurs legend had a quiet night (eight points, three rebounds, four assists), he was treated like a living legend all game long.
Warriors 142, Nuggets 111 — Who says Golden State doesn’t get riled up and fully into playoff form until sometime in April, May or June? Denver got a taste of all the Warriors have to offer as they blitzed the Nuggets with 51 first-quarter points (an NBA record). For good measure, familiar Warriors heroes Stephen Curry (31 points) and Klay Thompson (31 points) rampaged from deep to fuel this matchup of No. 1 (Denver) vs. No. 2 (Golden State) in the West standings.
Celtics 117, Raptors 108 — As they say, winning cures everything. And winning big against a team leading the charge in your conference? That only helps the cause. Kyrie Irving set the tone all game and sealed the win, too, with a clutch 3-pointer that helped Boston end a three-game skid and quiet talk of discord in the locker room.
Nets 145, Rockets 142 (OT) — James Harden started out with a slow first half, blazed for 39 in the second half and added five more points in overtime. That got him to 58 points, but on his big scoring night, the Rockets were done in by Spencer Dinwiddie. The Nets’ guard nailed a clutch 3-pointer to send the game to OT and went for 25 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and OT to give Brooklyn a big road win.
Jazz 129, Clippers 109 — Don’t look now, but Utah may be starting to figure things out. Donovan Mitchell (28 points) and Rudy Gobert (23 points, 22 rebounds) powered the Jazz to a fifth straight win as they improved to 8-2 over their last 10 games. Even bigger, though, is that the Clippers are fighting for a lower playoff seed like Utah, and a win such as this one will help the Jazz if things get hairy as the season winds down.
Warriors 112, Clippers 94 — After more than a year of waiting for him and months of waiting for his new team, Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins made his debut for Golden State. He looked pretty sharp for not having played since Jan. 26, 2018, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in Friday night’s big win.
Thunder 117, Sixers 115 — You want last-minute thrills? This was the game to watch for that this week. Saturday’s matinee featured (what seemed to be) a go-ahead steal and layup by Jimmy Butler with 6.9 seconds left. But then, Paul George came through with a clutch 4-point play with 5.1 seconds left that sealed the victory for OKC.
Rockets 138, Lakers 134 (OT) — Another day, another 40-plus points from the reigning Kia MVP. Yes, James Harden worked his magic again, this time heating up late to help the Rockets climb from a 21-point hole to drop the Lakers in a Saturday night thriller. In addition, Eric Gordon nailed several key 3-pointers — including the one to force overtime — to lighten Harden’s burden.
Stat Lines of the Week
James Harden (57 points, 17-33 FG, 17-17 FT, 9 reb, 2 ast in 38 minutes) — The work Harden puts in to get these kinds of games on the regular is astounding. Consider that his 57-point game Monday was entirely needed for Houston, which had only three other players — Danuel House Jr., Austin Rivers and Gerald Green — score in double figures. | Watch | Video box score
Anthony Davis (46 points, 16-34 FG, 12-12 FT, 16 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl in 38 minutes) — Anthony Davis told teammates after the first quarter that he stunk. Then, he turned back into his All-Star self and went nuts, shooting 14-for-27 and nailing four late free throws to close out the win. New Orleans can’t afford to lose ground in the West and Davis continues to do all he can to keep it in the thick of things | Watch | Video box score
Stephen Curry (31 points, 10-18 FG, 8-13 3pt FG, 6 reb, 4 ast in 29 minutes) & Klay Thompson (31 points, 13-19 FG, 5-8 3pt FG in 24 minutes) — Splash Brothers, do your worst. That seemed to be the marching orders for Golden State on Tuesday in Denver, and the Warriors’ guard combo delivered with a classic shooting display in Denver. As impressive as the Nuggets have been this season, this loss took some of they hype out of their fast start in the West this season. | Watch | Video box score
James Harden (58 points, 16-34 FG, 5-19 3pt FG, 21-23 FT, 10 reb, 6 ast in 45 minutes) — Years from now, perhaps this run Harden is on — which hit 18 straight games with 30 or more points Wednesday — will just be a footnote in an even bigger legacy. In short, he showed that he simply cannot be slowed. He started with 14 first-half points, then carved up the Nets the rest of the game — but ultimately couldn’t deliver a victory. | Watch | Video box score
Spencer Dinwiddie (33 points, 13-22 FG, 4-8 3pt FG, 10 ast in 32 minutes) — The Nets continue to gain confidence, but Wednesday’s big win in Houston wouldn’t have happened without Dinwiddie. He forced overtime, making three 3-pointers in the last 30 seconds of regulation. Then, in OT, he hit the go-ahead basket with 28 seconds left. | Watch | Video box score
Stephen Curry (41 points, 11-22 FG, 9-17 3pt FG, 10-10 FT, 5 reb, 3 ast in 35 minutes) — Talk about a hot streak. Curry has 28 3-pointers in his past three games, became the first player in NBA history to make eight or more 3s in three straight games and helped the Pelicans and Warriors combine an NBA-record 43 3s on Wednesday night. | Watch | Video box score
James Harden (48 points, 14-30 FG, 8-19 3pt FG, 8 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl in 48 minutes) — What more can be said at this point about what Harden is doing? His performance on Saturday night marked the 10th time in the last 13 games he went for 40 or more points. That’s amazing in and of itself … and yet it still doesn’t do justice to Harden’s hot streak. | Watch | Video box score
Best plays from Week 14
Quotes of the Week
“I felt like a kid on Christmas. This was probably one of the best days of my life being back on the floor playing the game that I love.” — Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, after making his season debut on Friday
“I don’t think he just landed on me. He had a little extra to it, you know what I’m saying? But it’s ok.” — Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, on a late hard foul he took from Joel Embiid on Saturday
“I think I was going for the block and I think he lost the ball, but I was already in the air. I don’t know what, why he was mad. I have no idea. But he’s always in his feelings, so I have no idea.” — Sixers center Joel Embiid, on his late-game play/foul on Russell Westbrook
“I’m blessed to say I got one in the NBA at the highest level. It’s a fun. As a kid, you always dream of hitting one of those type of shots. It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.” — Kings guard Buddy Hield, after making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Pistons on Saturday
“When people have asked me who I think the best player who was born and raised in Chicago, I always go with Isiah Thomas.” — Heat and Chicago native guard Dwyane Wade
“He comes off a game where he was 1 for 17 and everybody’s saying whatever and it just doesn’t even faze him. He just comes in tonight like he was 17 for 17. That’s just the mindset that the great ones have. I’m telling you right now, if another player went 1 for 17 they would have come in tonight a little … messed up. James comes in and that’s just why he is who he is and it’s impressive.” — Rockets guard Austin Rivers, on teammate James Harden
“Just want to thank the fans. The way they reacted tonight was just unbelievable. Love, and I appreciate everything. It was just a great memory and a great night for me that I will cherish for the rest of my life.” — Hornets guard Tony Parker, after his return game vs. the Spurs
“I don’t think anybody on our team is scared of the Golden State Warriors or too respectful. They took it to another level and left us in the dust.” — Nuggets coach Michael Malone, after Tuesday’s blowout loss to Golden State
“Andre and I are going to have a heart-to-heart talk about his sashays down the court. Those aren’t winning plays, because teams aren’t going to let a center dribble down the floor and score. It might happen once a month.” — Pistons coach Dwane Casey, on center Andre Drummond’s dribbling displays
“I did a poor job of setting an example for these young guys what it’s like to get something out of your teammates. Going forward, I want to test these young guys, but I can’t do it publicly. That was a learning experience for me, realizing the magnitude of my voice and what I mean to these guys.” — Celtics guard Kyrie Irving
“I’m more like the director at the YMCA than I am coach. ‘You guys are shirts and you guys are skins, now go play,’ ” — Warriors coach Steve Kerr
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VIDEOS FROM WEEK 14
GameTime: Who’s in your all-time starting five?
GameTime: Oladipo out to get respect for Pacers
GameTime: Harden’s historic scoring run rolls on
Perfect Player: Who has best handles in NBA?
Inside The NBA: A look at Sir Charles then … and now
Inside The NBA: Breaking down All-Star voting returns
Inside The NBA: Has the Western Conference fallen off?
Film Room: Breaking down Jokic’s unique game
Players Only: Can Butler thrive with Embiid?
Players Only: Warriors prove their might once again
Players Only: Secret to Hawks’ upset win vs. Thunder
STORIES FROM WEEK 14
* Aschburner: Wade savoring final season with Heat
* Schuhmann: Sixers, Wolves both better since Butler trade
* Kia MVP Ladder: Rockets’ turnaround tale fueling Harden’s run at hardware