Tag Archives: james harden

Rockets at Timberwolves (The Fearing the Beard Edition)

The NBA should allow James Harden to play with that pick in his beard during All-Star Weekend.

The NBA should allow James Harden to play with that pick in his beard during All-Star Weekend.

The Houston Rockets (34-17) are in town to play the staggering (Punch-Drunk?) Wolves (24-27) tonight. Tip is at 7 P.M. Central. Views via FSN and NBATV. Sounds via WCCO 830. James Harden’s beard is traveling with the team and will be in the Rockets’ starting lineup.

We discussed some of the issues heading into this game during our first Punch-Drunk Podcast. (Eds. Note: We’re planning on adding podcasts to our repertoire on a semi-regular basis. More details on that to come.)

A few notes on tonight’s game below the fold.

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Fear the Beard, Part II, and Reconfiguring the Timberwolves

Harden Beard Crop

James Harden and the Houston Rockets are in town for a 7 PM tilt against the Wolves at Target Center.

The Rockets, having lost 6 straight, are really struggling. Immediately before their current 6-game losing streak began, Houston reeled off a 5-game winning streak.  Overall, the Rockets are 21-20. They are 2nd in the League in scoring and 30th in points allowed. (Adjusted for pace, their offense is ranked 9th, defense 18th.) James Harden is still reallyreally good, with the League’s 5th-best scoring average, 2nd-best assist average among non-point guards, and 1st-best beard.

Streakiness, mediocrity, and working the offense almost entirely through a go-to guy – what else could you expect from a Kevin McHale-coached team?

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Fear the Beard

Beard me.

Beard me.

James Harden and the Houston Rockets are in town for a 7 PM tilt against the Wolves at Target Center.

The Wolves have lost 3 out of 4 and could use a win.

Harden is the main attraction. At 25.7 points per game, Harden is 4th in the League in scoring behind Kobe, Melo, and Durant.

But wait – there’s more.

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Sunday Ramblings

This is an unusually late game wrap for a number of reasons.  First, I could not watch the entire game on Friday.  My roommate just turned 30, we hosted a little party for that occasion (that later in the night had a chance encounter with Alexey Shved and much of the Wolves roster, which was fun–Shved is a humble dude, very approachable by losers superfans like myself), and while the game was on, I wasn’t able to pay close enough attention to feel like my game wrap would provide anything very meaningful.  Second, the Wolves have three days off between Friday’s game and Tuesday’s matchup with the Sixers (at Philly, 6:00 CST) so I thought posting in the middle of the downtime would be of more value to readers.  Third, this won’t be as much a “game wrap” as some observations about Wolves and NBA issues.

Alexey Shved: Starting to make shots, now what’s his ideal role?

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Western Conference Preview: The James Harden Edition

How does James Harden’s departure from Oklahoma City affect the Thunder’s prospects in the West?

So, James Harden. Yep. Gone. OKC is screwed. Or is it? You’ll find out in my Western Conference preview.

But first things first: Why did OKC trade one of its core stars, just before the season starts, and why was it that the Rockets were the ones who outbid the rest for Harden, a pricy commodity in a market that has few quality shooting guards.

The answer to the first is easy: cost. OKC owner Clay Bennett was unwilling to pay it, James Harden was unwilling to take less so he wouldn’t have to, and so a trade had to be made, even if not paying Harden might cost the Thunder an NBA title. This sends a horrible message to fans, and Durant and Westbrook should grab their mates and move the team back to Seattle.

The answer to the second is less clear. But I have a theory. It centers around Kevin McHale, Royce White, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and facial hair.

My theory goes like this: Having drafted point-forward Royce White, and subsequently discovering that Royce won’t be bringing much to the table this season (except increased awareness of the challenges of anxiety disorders), McHale and Daryl Morey concluded that in lieu of on-court competitiveness, they would  rekindle Houston’s rivalry with the up-and-coming Timberwolves.

They would do so by attacking an area of perceived Wolves vulnerability: facial hair.

McHale and Morey figured that after former Wolves beard Brad Miller – a former Rocket – retired, the Wolves’ claim to “Best Team Facial Hair” was up-for-grabs. Why not try to win something this season, and make White useful, all in one go?  By trading for Harden’s beard, and teaming it up with White’s  – White’s nascent beard already could put many Taliban to shame, and they go all-in on beards - in the NBA’s new Beard & Mustache Competition, which will be broadcast live just before the NBA Draft Lottery in the Spring, Houston has begun pursuing that strategy.

But McHale and Morey’s strategy is flawed. It neglects the fact that Kahn has armed the Wolves with a new Secret Weapon – a failsafe - in the form of Louis Amundson’s beard. In fact, RUMINT obtained by punchdrunkwolves.com indicates that Amundson’s beard has never lost in the “Most Pungent” competition in any Beard & Mustache Contest it has participated in.

Facial hair aside, there’s obviously a big story here: when you remove James Harden from the Thunder, it shifts the balance in the West, and also has implications for the Wolves. So what is the fallout? Find the answers to those questions and more in my Western Conference preview, located below the fold.

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