Harden sees title chance, says he'll sacrifice shots for it
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) passes the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)NEW YORK – James Harden used his final interview in Houston to say that his team wasn't good enough. “You just add that all together, and it’s like, that’s a legit chance right there,” Harden said. General manager Daryl Morey and coach Mike D'Antoni weren't going to return and Harden didn't believe in the roster left behind. That seems OK with Harden — as long as the Nets are winning.
Net gains: High hopes in Brooklyn with Durant, Irving ready
NEW YORK – Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sent expectations soaring when they decided to come to Brooklyn. And that includes 7-11, so get to know us,” Irving said, referring to their uniform numbers. He sat out all last season, while Irving ended up limited to only 20 games because of a shoulder injury. In just 9 1/2 minutes, Durant and Irving outscored the Washington Wizards by themselves, combining for 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Durant, Irving and Nash have all downplayed the talk.
Harden in Houston for COVID tests after missing camp's start
HOUSTON – James Harden is back in Houston after missing the start of Rockets training camp and was going through the NBA’s COVID-19 testing protocols on Tuesday. “But him being here shows a level of commitment to what we have going and what we have going forward. The Rockets have expressed no interest in trading Harden despite months of reports that he wants to leave the team. “Trust is built day to day, once the relationship begins, then we’ll begin that process of trust,” Silas said. But that’s the NBA and the NBA isn’t going to be roses every day.
AP sources: Rockets hiring Stephen Silas to replace D'Antoni
The Houston Rockets and Stephen Silas have an agreement for the Dallas assistant to replace Mike D'Antoni as coach, multiple people with knowledge of the deal said Wednesday. Silas inherits a team led by a pair of former MVPs in Harden and Russell Westbrook. The longtime NBA assistant has worked worked with elite guards before, most recently in two seasons with the Mavericks and 21-year-old sensation Luka Doncic. The nine seasons as a Charlotte assistant for Silas included time with Kemba Walker, and he was with Golden State when the Warriors drafted Stephen Curry in 2009. Paul Silas spent 16 years as a player in the NBA and another 22 as a coach.
AP source: D'Antoni tells Rockets he's not coming back
The person with knowledge of those talks spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce anything publicly. It was not totally unexpected; the Rockets and D’Antoni couldn’t agree on an extension last year, meaning he was coaching this season with no guarantee of his future in Houston. “We’ve got a great organization, great city, great fans, team’s great,” D’Antonio said. “Mike has done some unbelievable things here,” Rockets star James Harden said Saturday night, making clear that he would have liked to have seen D’Antoni come back. Houston’s other star, guard Russell Westbrook, also raved about the type of person D’Antoni is and said he enjoyed his lone season playing under him.
At home, on the road or at Disney, James is tough to beat
Earlier in this postseason, he also became the all-time leader in playoff road wins. For the first time in NBA history, road teams have a winning record through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Lakers are 3-0 in the playoffs as the road team so far, which has pushed James total for road playoff wins to 65 two more than Tim Duncan managed in his two decades with San Antonio. Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. The difference was the supporting casts, and Rajon Rondos 21 points and nine assists were enormous for the Lakers.
Rockets edge Thunder to win wild Game 7, move on to Lakers
The Rockets pulled out a tense final game of the first round that lasted long past the final basket as replays and fouls were sorted out. These are the games, you want to win a championship or win playoff games, you've got to do it with your heart, D'Antoni added. Covington had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Eric Gordon also scored 21 points for the Rockets. Rockets: Houston is 7-5 in Game 7s, including 1-1 under D'Antoni. The Rockets had lost their two other Game 7s in the first round, against Utah in 2007 and Dallas in 2005.
Paul has 28, helps Thunder force Game 7 against the Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder's Dennis Schroder (17) is forced to pass the ball as Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook, bottom center, Jeff Green (32) and P.J. Paul gave the Thunder at least one more game at Disney, scoring 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter for a 104-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in Game 6 of a Western Conference first-round series. But they combined for 12 of the Rockets' 22 turnovers, saying Houston has lost the close games more than Oklahoma City won them. Houston got its most dominant playoff victory in Game 5, winning 114-80 after holding Oklahoma City to 31.5% shooting. Oklahoma City extended it to eight, but Houston wiped that out with an 18-4 run that provided a 98-92 lead.
Harden scores 31 points, Rockets beat Thunder for 3-2 lead
Houston Rockets' P.J. That was a fortunate turn of events for the Houston Rockets. We need him.Schroder led the Thunder with 19 points 18 of them in the second quarter, when Oklahoma City had its only lead of the game. Steven Adams had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Darius Bazley had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder. Houston scored 20 of the games first 27 points, but the Thunder erased the deficit in the second -- taking a brief lead of as many as five points -- before the Rockets took a 48-45 lead into the half.
Lakers, Bucks look to clinch second-round berths Wednesday
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)It was only a week ago when the sky was falling on the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. The Bucks lead the Orlando Magic 3-1; the Lakers lead the Portland Trail Blazers 3-1. The bottom line is weve come out and competed so much harder.The wake-up call helped the Lakers as well. James teams went 5-5 in his first 10 series-clinching opportunities; theyre 30-5 in those situations since. NEED TO KNOW: If the Bucks win, the Eastern Conference first round would be completed in just 17 games.
Heat take huge early lead, rout Rockets 129-100
The Houston Rockets are incredibly talented. Jimmy Butler scored 18 points and had nine assists for the Heat, and James Johnson scored 17 in his season debut. The Heat had 38 assists to Houston's 19, and the Rockets were just 14 of 48 from 3-point range. "We're not in trouble," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said after his team fell to 3-3. It was a record-setting opening quarter for the Heat - resulting in the third-biggest lead after 12 minutes in the NBA's shot-clock era, starting with the 1954-55 season.