clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five Stars: Hard(en) To Handle

New, comment

With seven NBA games last night, the top five players from across the league should surprise nobody.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

First Star

James Harden (Houston Rockets) - 30.5

Harden finished with the single-highest GameScore from across the NBA on Monday night with a league high 37 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder, achieved on 12-of-26 shooting. He went four-for-12 from deep, nine-of-11 from the line and collected five rebounds. In 38:28, he also kicked out three assists, rejected two shots, and stole the ball three times to finish with a plus-6 rating. The Rockets ended up topping Harden's former team by a 110-105 final score.

I'm sure all great shooters go through droughts. Mine was pretty terrible, I admit. But it will change. It will all come around. It's a long season and I'll go on five, six, 10-game streaks where I'm just on fire and it will even itself out. - Harden

Second Star

Damien Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) - 28.1

Lillard started at point guard for Portland in an eventual 106-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, playing for a game-high 37:57. He led all scorers with 34 points, draining four-of-nine from beyond the arc and 14-of-25 overall. He posted a plus-1 rating, making two-of-three free throw attempts and dishing out seven assists. He also filled up the box score with two rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot.

It was an emotional video. It was even emotional for me and I didn't know him personally, but from afar I always respected him and I've always known who he was. They played with heavy hearts like I said, and we expected a heavy fight, we expected a lot of energy from the crowd. - Lillard, describing the pre-game tribute to recently departed Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders

Third Star

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) - 27.8

Curry makes a habit of appearing with the NBA's elite, making the Five Stars every time he's in action. He almost wasn't even needed as the Warriors just demolished the Memphis Grizzlies 119-69. Despite that, he led the team with 28:24 on the court and with 30 points. He made six-of-eight from inside and four-of-eight from over the rainbow, going his customary 100% from the line, making all six shots. He posted a plus-37 rating with three boards, three dimes, three steals, and one blocked shot.

It's surprising. I don't remember the last time that's ever happened to any guys on this team, being on the winning side of a 50-point game. - Curry

Fourth Star

LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) - 26.7

"The King" continues to reign in his 13th NBA season. The Cavaliers topped the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-100 behind James' 22 points on nine-of-19 shooting. Despite missing all three of his deep attempts, James joined the 25,000 point club, the 20th player in NBA history to score that many, and the youngest. He made all four of his free throw shots in the win, with a game-high 11 assists, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.

They are Sixer fans to death. But they know and they respect the game of basketball. To get a standing ovation for reaching that milestone, it was very special. - James, referring to the Philadelphia crowd after his 25,000th point.

Fifth Star

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) - 23.1

Westbrook closes out the Five Stars with 25 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds in a losing effort. The Thunder dropped the 110-105 decision to First Star James Harden and the Houston Rockets despite a strong showing by Westbrook, who made 10-of-16 shots and half of his six three-pointers. He posted a minus-4 rating, made seven-of-nine from the line, collected four rebounds and blocked two shots.

They'd lost three in a row and they should be desperate. We let them off the hook. - Westbrook

Tune in tonight as the Heat take on the Atlanta Hawks at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami at 7PM. In the meantime, keep refreshing Hot Hot Hoops for everything on the Heat.