We don’t know anything concrete about the future of this season – our crystal ball broke a few weeks ago and the Ouija board was tossed long ago. We have our ideas – here’s who we think will take home MVP – but we don’t know, for example whether this Houston Rockets team will contend in the Western Conference. This team will, however, be fun to watch. It’s like this is an “Out to Prove Ourselves” multi-city, national stadium tour sweeping across America. Jeremy Lin is playing bass and James Harden is shredding on his Fender out front yelling on the mic about a revenge song on OKC. Why? Because Harden went for 45 points on a nice 14-of-19 effort with seven boards in Houston’s 109-102 win over Atlanta. Lin had 21 points, 10 boards and seven assists and Omer Asik had zero points but 19 boards. Jeff Teague had a monster, non-counting dunk on a charge and DeShawn Stevenson hit a buzzer-beater to end the first half, but Atlanta was secondary to Houston’s game. … Houston may have “won” its trade for Harden so far but the Thunder aren’t exactly a worthless burned CD of your favorite high school songs, either. In their 106-92 win over Portland, Kevin Durant shredded Sasha Pavlovic‘s ankles like turkey in a meat grinder en route to a 23-point, 17-rebound, seven-dime night, and he wasn’t the unanimous best player of the night. Russell Westbrook had 32 points, five and six (he made Damian Lillard look overmatched). Not earning distinction was the frustrated Nic Batum, who couldn’t get his shot like he did against the Lakers. He played 37 minutes but was just 1-of-11 shooting. … Carmelo looked like he’d cloned his Nigeria vs. USA performance from London and reanimated it Friday night in the season opener. Sixteen points after one quarter, including a heat-check triple from two feet back — plus the buzzer-beater. He had 30 overall and who’s missing Amar’e now? ‘Melo played the four and wasn’t perfect checking LeBron but didn’t let the entire defense falter. LeBron did have 23 points but he couldn’t stop the Knicks’ three-point shooting alone. New York was a ridiculous 19-of-36. A nice touch by ‘Melo before the game, too, when he took the mic and thanked the crowd for the support post-Sandy. Not to be outdone, Rasheed Wallace came in for three minutes and banged home a triple himself. … Turn the panic machines up to 11. The Lakers got skunked thoroughly in their 105-95 loss to the Clippers and yes, just as this sentence was framed, this is all about the Lakers. Even as Dwight Howard is farting and asking for candy in the locker room (seriously), the Lakers’ world isn’t rainbows and wins. Steve Nash didn’t play with a shin injury, and CP3‘s 18 points and 15 dimes, plus 21 off the pine by Jamal Crawford, helped offset Kobe‘s just-like-old-times 40-point night. It’s their first 0-3 start since 1978. … Hit the jump to hear about a 23-game losing streak’s end. …
Smack / Nov 3, 2012 / 1:33 am
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