A BOLD PREDICTION: James Harden spoke to Stephen A. Smith prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Clippers and predicted the Rockets were going to win the title this season. The league MVP looks confident in his team’s chances (to say the least), and he’s backing it up with his play in a big way. Houston won their fifth game in a row last night, with Harden accounting for a tidy 47 points, bumping up his scoring average for the season to 38.2 points per contest. If Harden is able to keep up that insane point-per-game mark, it’d be the highest scoring average for a full season since 1962-63, when Wilt Chamberlain averaged 44.8 points for the then-San Francisco Warriors.
After the game, Russell Westbrook had an interesting comment about longtime rival point guard Patrick Beverley, telling the media that Beverley has them fooled about his defensive prowess, and that he just runs around doing nothing during games. Hilarious.
RIVERS-ON-RIVERS CRIME: Apparently we can’t have a Rockets/Clippers game without a whole bunch of petty drama, because on top of the Westbrook-Beverley stuff, there was also a great moment late in the game when Austin Rivers, who plays for Houston, was lobbying to get his father, Clips head coach Doc Rivers, ejected from the game. It worked, too.
The younger Rivers went on Twitter after the game and said Thanksgiving is about to be awkward.
NEW SIGNING: On Wednesday, the Nets announced the signing of swingman Iman Shumpert. Shumpert averaged 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds last season, and will provide Brooklyn with experienced depth on the wing.
ICE COLD: Tobias Harris has missed his last 23 three-point attempts, dating back to Nov. 4, a 10-day stretch. He’s 8-for-30 from the floor overall over his last two outings for Philadelphia.
Needless to say, the Sixers are going to need a whole lot more from the guy they made the 13th-highest paid player league-wide this season.
HOT AND FRESH INTERVIEW: Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu spoke with HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy about life as a top recruit, his departure from Portland and the new vibe in Orlando. Safe to say he appreciates the warmer weather.
BACK TO THE EAST? Per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Orlando has expressed interest in Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan. We take a look at his potential fit there.
A NOT-SO-PLEASANT RETURN: Tonight, Kristaps Porzingis returns to play in the Big Apple for the first time since his very public trade request a few years ago. He spoke to SNY about the trade request, Knicks fans and basketball in New York City general. He’s going to be a fun one to watch as he continues to develop.
HE CALLED GAME: One of the early frontrunners for Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant, hit a nasty game-winning layup last night against Charlotte.
KUZMA BREAKDOWN: If Kyle Kuzma is going to be the third star the Lakers need, he’s going to need to improve his shot selection this season, writes HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky.
LIKE A NEW FERRARI: Chris Bosh spoke to ESPN yesterday and compared playing with LeBron James to buying a new Ferrari. The Lakers improved to 9-2 last night, the league’s second-best record, so it seems Mr. Bosh is onto something with his comparison.
GREAT TEAMMATE: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope catches a lot of heat from Lakers fans on social media due to his poor play (he’s shooting 36.2 percent from the floor this season). Well, Dwight Howard isn’t having it anymore. Howard went on Instagram to defend his teammate, and then expounded on the defense of KCP with the media after the game.
NBA AND SPORTS BETTING: ESPN spoke to various NBA owners to discuss the impact of Adam Silver’s ground-breaking sports better op-ed from five years ago.
CLEAR MIND, NEW PLAYER: After a disappointing sophomore season, Jaylen Brown is thus far having the best year of his career, averaging 19.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The difference? Brown learned how to handle the anxiety and self-doubt he was dealing with last season, which became especially noticeable when he lost his starting job in November.
BACKLASH HITS 2K LEAGUE TEAM: An NBA 2K League team representing the Milwaukee Bucks is catching flak for holding a graphic design contest – one looking for a new header image for the team’s official twitter account – without a cash prize. When asked for some financial compensation for the artist’s work, Bucks Gaming replied telling the person to “get a job.” Not a great look there.
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