With the All-Star break over, the NBA season now shifts into the stretch run of the schedule, which marks a time when the league’s stars tend to shine brightest as teams jockey for position for the playoffs. As stated before, The Sports Fan Journal is for the people and in keeping up with that mission statement, we’d like to keep you in the know with all things going on in the Association. So without further adieu, here are the top 5 performance from the last week.
5. Stephen Curry 42 points (14-29) 7 assists, 7 rebounds. 118-112 win vs Miami
What was supposed to be the Battle Royale of Twitter Fingers personified between Draymond Green and the Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside quickly became Stephen Curry’s personal "NBA2K on rookie settings" game. Per usual, Steph gave the people his assortment of three point bombs, even finding time to throw in a 40-footer at the first quarter buzzer for good measure. Even with Dwyane Wade’s efforts to turn the clock back to 2007, Curry again showed way he’s the baddest dude in the league.
4. James Harden 46 points (16-26), 8 assists, 5 rebounds. 119-105 win vs Portland
James Harden doesn’t have a good relationship with the city of Portland. Well, other than the adidas headquarters cutting his checks from Rip City, the Beard’s career has had some of its lowest moments in western Oregon, most notably getting bounced out of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs by Dame Dolla. The bad times seemed to be getting worse for Harden’s Rockets, as they found themselves down by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. Harden not only willed his team from behind to a win, he notched his 19th 40-point game over the last two seasons, which is the most in the NBA during that span.
3. Stephen Curry 51 points (20-27) 10 three pointers. 130-114 win vs Orlando
You’d think on the second night of a back-to-back in which he scored 42 points, Curry would be a little winded. Well, that wasn’t the case Thursday night in Orlando as Curry put together of the most efficient scoring outbursts of his career. The league’s most exciting player since Jordan (arguably) continued his brilliance going through, around and over the Magic’s defense. The game was close throughout simply because that’s how Curry wanted it to be. Once he got tired of toying with Orlando, he pushed the Warriors lead to 15 late in the fourth, giving the Amway Center crowd an opportunity to beat the traffic home.
2. Damian Lillard 51 points (18-28), 9 threes. 137-105 win vs Golden State
Fresh off his annual All-Star snubbing, Brookfield’s finest Dame Lillard returned onto the hardwood with a vengeance against his hometown Warriors. Lillard was in attack mode all night long, consistently putting the defending champions out of their misery, playing with a vengeance that personifies his Oakland roots. Angry Dame is always the best Dame and the result, as always, was spectacular.
1. Anthony Davis 59 points (24-34) 20 rebounds. 111-106 win vs Detroit
It’s been a pretty rough year for basketball fans in the Big Easy. Failing to meet lofty expectations set forth by us in the media, the Pelicans' season by all accounts is in the dumps. Through the first half of the season, New Orleans forward Anthony Davis has also fallen short of his preseason MVP prediction, leading to the Pels to a 20-33 going into the All-Star break. That all changed at the Palace of Auburn Hills, when the Brow decided enough was enough, carrying the Crescent City squad on his back by joining Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players to score at least 50 points and pull down 20 rebounds in the same game. Davis would want to play well down the stretch, since a “Rose provision” requires him to be named to an All-NBA team this year or lose out on $23 million.
A Bay Area resident rooting for all things Los Angeles.