Houston Rockets’ point guard Russell Westbrook is saying that fans, media, and analysts shouldn’t “normalize” the consistent performances of his teammate James Harden, and to appreciate what he is doing on the court.
“I think that a lot of people like to normalize greatness when you see it over and over again, but it’s not normal because there’s nobody else that can do it,” Westbrook said, according to ESPN’s Tim McMahon. “If it was normal, everybody would do it.
Harden is averaging 39.2 points per game for the Rockets this season.
“He’s put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he’s able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways.”
Harden has been putting up MVP numbers consistently the past few seasons, and even reaching historical heights as well.
Harden became the first player in NBA history when he averaged at least 35 points per game with a true shooting percentage (61.6) better than 60% last season.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m at a loss for words,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “What he does, you can’t do that. I’ve never seen it.
“I know I’ve said he’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen. Well, he is. I haven’t coached everybody, but he’s so good at what he does. You might like it, you might not like it — I don’t know how you don’t like it. I don’t think we’ve ever seen it like this.”
Harden is again putting on a show this season, and Westbrook wants to ensure that everyone is appreciating the things he does on the court.
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Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.
But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.
Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”
Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”
“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”
Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.
“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”
Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.
“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”
Rockets, Wizards Combine for NBA Record 317 Points
The Houston Rockets and the Washington Wizards made history on Wednesday night when they combined for an NBA record 317 points, the most in an NBA game decided by a single point, when the Rockets edged the Wizards 159-158.
“I didn’t know we were going to have to score about 160 points to win, but whatever it takes it took,” Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni said (h/t ESPN). “A lot of great individual performances. They played unbelievable. They didn’t miss anything. We just let down a little bit, and they made everything.”
“We were one play from winning an exciting game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.
Rockets’ guard James Harden led the way with 59 points, and his free throw with 2.4 seconds in the game gave the Rockets the lead for good.
Rockets’ guard Russell Westbrook chipped in 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The superstar due of the Rockets made more history as Harden and Westbrook are the first pair of teammates to have a 55-point outing and a triple-double in the same game since Reggie Miller (57 points) and Pooh Richardson in 1992 with the Indiana Pacers.
Wizards’ forward Bradley Beal paced Washington with 46 points which was the second instance in NBA history of three different players having 55-plus points, 45-plus points and a triple-double in a single game, per Elias Sports Bureau research.
“I hate moral victories,” Beal said. “But it’s always a good feeling knowing that when we lose, it’s always one or two things we can fix.”
“The only way we’ll get to where we want to go is our defensive efforts, and it has to be consistent,” Harden said. “Right now we’re not consistent, and that’s why we go through tough times like that. That’s what the course of the year is for. We just try and build those habits and continue to keep building.”
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Friction Between Rockets’ James Harden, Chris Paul
The Houston Rockets have their own drama heading into the offseason and it relates to a reported friction between James Harden and point guard Chris Paul.
According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, “there is friction between James Harden and Chris Paul, the franchise’s two maximum-salary centerpieces.”
Additionally, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “has aggressively shopped the Rockets under contract, including Paul and center Clint Capela, in the trade market.”
But the friction isn’t exclusive to only Harden and Paul, who are “differences in preferred playing styles and personality.”
According to the report; “There’s too much damn turmoil. There’s some hard feelings right now everywhere.”
“Chris wants to coach James,” a source said, per the report. “James looks at him like, ‘You can’t even beat your man. Just shut up and watch me.'”
The report goes on the further illustrate the discontent between Harden and Paul, stating that Paul “cherishes” playing on the floor without Harden and “barked” at head coach Mike D’Antoni to keep Harden on the bench while he was running with the second unit.
“Chris has a personality where he just doesn’t let anything go,” the source told MacMahon. “He just keeps pestering and pestering and pestering and pestering. Sometimes James has had enough—and not just him. That’s what makes [Paul] a winner and also what keeps him from being a big-time winner. He’s got to temper that.”
It will be hard for Houston to move Paul, as his huge contract, declining play, and advancing age will prove to be some monumental roadblocks, and moving Harden, one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA today, doesn’t seem to be a smart route either.
It seems as though Harden, Paul, and whoever else is on the roster when the new season rolls around will have to find a way to make things work, despite their personal feelings towards one another.
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