NBA

James Harden and Russell Westbrook 'scary' in matching Leonard and George feat

By Sports Desk February 12, 2020

James Harden believes his partnership with Russell Westbrook can be "pretty scary" after they became only the second team-mates this season to score at least 35 points each in the same game.

The two combined for 78 points as the Rockets recorded a 116-105 home win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday that ended their opponents' run of seven straight victories.

Harden scored 42, including seven three-pointers, with Westbrook adding 36 as they followed Los Angeles Clippers duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to become the second NBA team-mates to achieve the feat in 2019-20.

Leonard and George did it in a December game against the Minnesota Timberwolves but this was the first time it had happened in Rockets team history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Harden and Westbrook's exploits helped the Rockets bounce back from two consecutive defeats to move to 34-20, good for fifth in the Western Conference.

"It's pretty scary," Harden said, per ESPN, of his and Westbrook's potential.

Westbrook is relishing having an open floor to attack due to Harden and Houston's other three-point threats. The Rockets are playing with a small-ball lineup having traded center Clint Capela.

He added: "It's tough to guard, especially when I'm attacking and making plays and being able to do what I need to do to be effective.

"We made a big change, and we've got to get adjusted to that with Clint gone. So we're just kind of getting acclimated to that. I think we've got it moving in the right direction.

"We can be pretty successful. We've just got to find ways to continue to be effective, efficient and make the right plays."

Westbrook also had 10 rebounds and five assists, while Harden had eight rebounds and seven assists.

Coach Mike D'Antoni is keen to utilise the strengths of his two All-Stars.

"For Russell, [the spacing created by small lineups] is really advantageous, and it will be for James, too," said D'Antoni.

"It makes them really hard to guard and it's helping both of them. It opens up the floor. Both of them are great drivers and great finishers and it should trickle down to everybody else, too."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens knew he had been up against elite competition, adding: "Harden was great and Westbrook was great. Those guys are two of the best in the world and they showed it again."

Related items

  • Joel Embiid: I'm proving I'm the best in the world Joel Embiid: I'm proving I'm the best in the world

    Joel Embiid feels his current run of form, including a 22-point display in the NBA All-Star Game, has proven he is the best player in the world.

    Big man Embiid is often maligned despite averaging 23.3 points and 12 rebounds per game this season, with his highly-talented Philadelphia 76ers an underwhelming fifth in the Eastern Conference.

    But the 25-year-old has had a big hand in Sixers wins either side of the All-Star break.

    Embiid tallied 26 points and nine rebounds as he starred alongside Ben Simmons in a defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers, while a brilliant 39-point, 16-rebound return lifted Philadelphia to an overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, extending their winning run to four games.

    In between those two performances, Embiid also managed 22 points and 10 rebounds for Team Giannis as he took on the best the Western Conference had to offer.

    It was this display in the All-Star Game that Embiid felt secured his place as the league's elite performer.

    "The All-Star game was fun, being there in the fourth quarter doing my thing at the end of the game," he said after seeing off the Nets, who will miss Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the season.

    "The game against the Clippers was a good starting spot, but the All-Star game was just proving that I'm here, I belong, being the best player in the world.

    "And I just intend to keep coming out every single night and playing hard, just going out and trying to win a championship."

    Embiid will have the opportunity to back up his claim on Saturday when the Sixers take on conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks and All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on course for a second straight MVP award.

    "We beat them pretty bad in the first matchup [121-109 in December], they got us the last one [112-101 earlier this month]," Embiid said. "So, it's on us to go out there and try to beat them again."

  • Russell Westbrook on ejection: I'm always the bad guy Russell Westbrook on ejection: I'm always the bad guy

    Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook bemoaned always being considered "the bad guy" and queried why more players were not punished in the incident that led to his ejection against the Golden State Warriors.

    Nine-time All-Star Westbrook's night ended prematurely when he received two technical fouls in Houston's 135-105 victory.

    The second of those technical fouls came in the fourth quarter after Westbrook caught Damion Lee with a stray arm.

    The situation was only exacerbated when Westbrook then argued with players on Golden State's bench, including the injured Klay Thompson, before confronting Kevon Looney prior to being ejected.

    "I hold myself to a very, very high standard," Westbrook told reporters afterwards.

    "I think the refs, the fans, the media, the NBA are put in a position now that I'm not allowed to really do much. Obviously I'm an emotional guy.

    "If you watch the clip, obviously I hit Lee but it wasn't on purpose. I'm going to the glass, he got hit. He said something to me, I said something to him.

    "I'm standing there, a guy [Juan Toscano-Anderson] comes to snatch the ball out of my hand. Guys come running to me, I didn't move.

    "But I'm always the one who gets painted to be the bad guy in the whole situation.

    "They asked me to walk towards the Warriors bench. I'm just over there walking towards the bench and then one of the little young fellas tells me, 'Why you walking over here?'

    "I turned around and said, 'What did you say?' So now everybody's running over to me, then I'm walking towards the thing, then Looney steps in front of me.

    "I feel like I'm in a position where it's like, 'Oh, well. Russ is being Russ', which nobody knows what that means.

    "But I've got to do a better job of holding myself to a very, very high standard. I'll make sure I leave no room for error to allow somebody to paint me out to be a guy that I'm not."

    However, Westbrook, who had 21 points and 10 assists before his exit, felt he was singled out and that others should have been punished too.

    "I just think it's unfair, though, that after all of that, I'm the only one who gets a tech or kicked out," added Westbrook, who leads the NBA with 13 technical fouls this season.

    "That's not fair, I don't care what nobody says.

    "There were so many other people involved in it that were doing so many things that weren't okay but I'm the one that gets the tech, gets ejected, and everyone else is cool and gets back to play.

    "But I take responsibility and I hold myself to a very high standard."

  • Antetokounmpo stars for Bucks, Rockets crush Warriors Antetokounmpo stars for Bucks, Rockets crush Warriors

    Giannis Antetokounmpo starred as the Milwaukee Bucks resumed their NBA season with a comfortable win, while the Houston Rockets cruised on Thursday.

    Back in action after the All-Star break, the Bucks improved to 47-8 with a 126-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

    Antetokounmpo finished with a double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 28 points.

    Eric Bledsoe went eight-of-14 from the field for his 19 points and Brook Lopez contributed 18 for the Bucks.

    The Rockets were untroubled by the Golden State Warriors in a 135-105 thrashing.

    James Harden (29 points and 10 assists) and Russell Westbrook (21 points and 10 assists) finished with double-doubles.

    All five of Houston's starters finished with double-digits for points, with Robert Covington adding 20.

     

    Young red-hot as Embiid lifts 76ers

    Trae Young had a career-high 50 points in the Atlanta Hawks' 129-124 win over the Miami Heat.

    Joel Embiid's double-double of 39 points and 16 rebounds helped the Philadelphia 76ers past the Brooklyn Nets 112-104 after overtime.

    Malik Monk's 25 points off the bench helped the Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls 103-93.

     

    Bulls' slump continues

    The Bulls' loss was their seventh straight as they were left with a 19-37 record and in 11th in the Eastern Conference.

     

    Young from deep

    Young went eight-of-15 from three-point range in a dazzling display.

    Thursday's results

    Milwaukee Bucks 126-106 Detroit Pistons
    Atlanta Hawks 129-124 Miami Heat
    Philadelphia 76ers 112-104 Brooklyn Nets
    Charlotte Hornets 103-93 Chicago Bulls
    Sacramento Kings 129-125 Memphis Grizzlies
    Houston Rockets 135-105 Golden State Warriors

     

    Grizzlies at Lakers

    The Los Angeles Lakers (41-12) resume their campaign against the Memphis Grizzlies (28-27) at the Staples Center on Friday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.