Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Harden ready for lift off
OK, I am done with the Rockets puns for now. The story of the day in the NBA though was James Harden's debut in a Rockets uniform. It was only four days ago that Harden was surprisingly traded from the Thunder to the Rockets. He has barely had time to practice and get to know his teammates — he did have enough time to sign a four-year, $80 million extension Wednesday.
His debut though was simply stunning.
Harden scored 37 points, grabbed six rebounds and, most impressively, dished out 12 assists to his new teammates. The 12 assists are a career high and the first time in his career that he had more than 10 assists. Not bad for a debut game with a whole bunch of new teammates.
The Rockets were really galvanized by Harden's offensive explosion, outscoring the Pistons 33-15 in the final quarter to complete a come-from-behind 105-96 win in Detroit.
2: Duncan dumps Hornets in Davis' debut
The Hornets would not go away and gave the Spurs a host of trouble. The lead was see-sawing in the late moments of the game as the two-minute warning came and went.
The two power forwards in this game — the old man and the rookie — took over, trading baskets. The old dog had some same old tricks to use in securing the victory for San Antonio.
Tim Duncan had 24 points in the game and scored five in the final two minutes, setting up a go-ahead 3-pointer from Stephen Jackson too, as he showed Anthony Davis what it means to be in the NBA. Duncan's biggest play was an attack from the elbow where he drove to the basket and dunked over Davis, drawing the foul. In perfect Duncan manner, he expressed no emotion and calmly sank the and-1 free throw.
New Orleans did not have much of an answer, despite getting a team-best 21 points and seven rebounds in his debut. A scrappy effort, but not enough to unseat the Spurs.
George Hill's floater defeats Raptors
Andre Iguodala attacks a familiar rim
Harden was not the only thing smoking in Detroit
4: Line of the Night: Spencer Hawes 16 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks
The 76ers got a strong game from their center even with Andrew Bynum in street clothes. All with Dikembe Mutombo and Moses Malone in the house to celebrate the opening of Philadelphia's 50th anniversary season. Hawes proved to be a sparkplug off the bench, deterring Ty Lawson's forays into the paint with his shot-blocking and cleaning up around the basket on offense. It certainly goes a long way from the criticism Hawes took for his poor playoff performance.
5: You can quote me on that
-Taj Gibson on signing a new extension
He’s got to step it up, to be honest. Got to get at least 40 and 15 a game. People don’t understand how it can really wear on you. For him to be able to do what he did tonight, man, I have the utmost respect. For him to play the way he did, first game, lot of pressure, that was awesome. That really was.