The last time James Harden played against his old team, he had a nightmare game, a half dozen of his shots blocked back into his face. This time, he made his first shot in Kevin Durant‘s face, and was good enough to drop 25 points (still only 9-for-33 shooting against OKC this year). But while the first half played out like a tape from the old And1 video game, the second half became a mismatch, and the Thunder went on to win 124-94. Between a 16-0 run to end the first half (Rockets certainly helped by committing five turnovers in one four-second span), and a third quarter where the Thunder lit up Houston like a Christmas tree, Oklahoma City turned a two-point game into a 25-point blowout. Durant (26 points) overcame a slow start to turn the Houston crowd into admiring spectators in the third quarter, and Russell Westbrook added 28 points, eight glass cleaners and eight assists. It was at least competitive in the first half. Houston was throwing every outlet to midcourt, Westbrook was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, and compared to the New Orleans/Charlotte game we were watching at the same time, this was about 150 times more fun … Heard during the Rockets’ broadcast: “Kendrick Perkins is no threat to shoot. They just give it to him so they can get their dribble back.” Harsh … Brooklyn barely survived a 26-foot triple from Kyrie Irving that rimmed out, beating Cleveland for their second straight win under P.J. Carlesimo, 103-100. Despite the loss, C.J. Miles changed clothes with Reggie Miller for a night, scoring 33 points and missing just four shots. He even had a second quarter dunk that was so powerful, the basket started shaking harder than LeSean McCoy. He was matched by Brook Lopez (35 points, 11 boards), who made almost every big play down the stretch … Dion Waiters is still just a rookie, but he deserves a spot on our all-irrational confidence squad. If we’re naming a few others off the top of our head, we’re going with J.R. Smith (we already wrote about this), Rajon Rondo, John Lucas III, and of course, Kobe. Damon Jones gets to coach … Whether he was getting put in a headlock by Mario Chalmers or nailing deep three-point bombs, Brandon Jennings (25 points) had his own version of the Kobe face going throughout the final period of Milwaukee’s surprising 19-point blowout of the defending champs. Outscoring Miami by three touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, the Bucks weren’t even challenged. LeBron James did his thing (26 points) but he was partially nullified because Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (19 points) played out of his mind … In college ball, after four consecutive losses to the ‘Cats, Louisville finally took out Kentucky yesterday, 80-77, which would be big if Coach Cal‘s squad wasn’t struggling so much. There were a few interesting NBA prospects in this one: Chane Behanan had 20 and secured the win by stealing Archie Goodwin‘s (22 points) dish in the closing seconds … Keep reading to hear about the worst night of Roy Hibbert’s career …
It took approximately 47.3 seconds of play from Eric Gordon (our favorite “NBA player who’s actually the generic create-a-player in NBA 2K“) before everyone in the building realized he’s twice as good as anyone else New Orleans has. In his fist game back from his knee issues, Gordon unleashed a 24-point, seven-assist night in only 24 minutes off the bench against Charlotte. Whenever Gordon came in to replace Austin Rivers, Hornets fans probably had the same reaction your parents did when they got their first color TV. He was the difference down the stretch – his dime for a Ryan Anderson (19 points, eight boards) triple with under two minutes left was probably the biggest play of the game, and he later drew two fouls and hit three of four free throws to put it away. The Bobcats had two looks on the final possession that would’ve tied it, but now after this three-point loss (despite being up 21 earlier in the game), Charlotte has only one more chance to get a win in December … Lou Williams (21 points, 12 assists) was the best guard on the floor in Atlanta’s 109-100 takeout of the Pacers, but it was Jeff Teague (15 points) who put it away. With around four minutes left in the game and the Hawks in danger of losing all of a 18-point lead, Larry Drew pulled Teague aside, threw some advice his way, and then Teague went out and bludgeoned Indiana the rest of the way. He scored 11 after that – and twice got buckets off the pick-n-roll. They tried putting Paul George (18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) and Gerald Green on him, and it didn’t matter. Teague had one move on Tyler Hansbrough where he hit Psycho T with one of those fake spin moves. Hansbrough nearly left his shoes at the foul line … We love Roy Hibbert, but he was getting sent to the timeout chair by Zaza Pachulia (17 points, 14 rebounds) last night. On back-to-back possessions in the second quarter, Hibbert (zero points, one rebound, zero postgame comments) first looked like he was getting his back cracked after Zaza got underneath him on a box out. Then on the other end, Zaza used his ass to clear Hibbert right out of there, and then laid it in on his head. A few possessions later, Dominique Wilkins said, “I’m really surprised they’re leaving Hibbert on the floor. He just stands there!” … In other stat lines from Saturday night: Toronto annihilated Orlando, 123-88, behind 21 points from DeMar DeRozan. Hedo Turkoglu played. No one cared; Rudy Gay had 19 points as Memphis and Denver submitted a candidate for “ugliest game ever played” in the Grizzlies’ 81-72 W; Chicago, Carlos Boozer (15 points, 12 boards), and Washington almost out-uglied them as the Bulls won, 87-77; Nikola Pekovic (28 points, 11 rebounds) was burying bodies and taking names against Phoenix as Minnesota was just good enough to slide past the Suns, 111-107; Portland barely survived against Philly, 89-85, as Nic Batum hit for 22 points; and Boston again got blown out by a West Coast team, this time falling to Steph Curry (22 points, nine assists) and Golden State by 18 … We’re out like Austin Rivers’ starting spot.
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