The Skip Pass will be your home on Today’s Fastbreak for insights and nuggets on each game played in the NBA. This is different from your regular game recap or box score. We want to take you inside the game and call out things you might have missed.
Focus Games: Rocket at Wizards, Pelicans at Warriors
Other Games: Jazz at 76ers, Pacers at Hornets, Magic at Bulls, Heat at Thunder, Pistons at Clippers
ROCKETS 114 – WIZARDS 106
- Before the season, Mike D’Antoni said James Harden could average 15 assists in his system, and we all kind of laughed it off, as did Harden himself. Seven games in and Harden is averaging 12.7 assists and his line for each game is: 17, 8, 7, 15, 15, 12, and 15 more last night. Who’s laughing now?
- The spacing is helping Harden for sure, but his teammates actually making shots is what is really making the difference. If you remove Harden’s 3-7 line, the team shot 14-30 from distance in this one.
- Eric Gordon came off the bench for the first time this year, with Corey Brewer starting in his place. This is a tactic D’Antoni might use when the opposing backcourt is a tough matchup for Harden and Gordon together, as it was last night with John Wall and Bradley Beal.
- Bradley Beal might have come into this game licking his chops at the thought of going against Harden or Gordon. Instead, Beal drew Brewer and Ariza for a lot of the night and was just 8-18 overall and 2-6 from deep.
- Washington really misses Ian Mahinmi, especially late in game. With little resistance at the rim, the Rockets got inside for baskets or fouls repeatedly. Without Mahinmi’s ability to hedge on screens and drop back to protect the basket on the recovery, the Wizard’s defense really struggles.
- The bench continues to be a major bugaboo for Washington. They played solid defense while in the game, but couldn’t shoot at all. They combined to go 8-24 from the floor.
WARRIORS 116 – PELICANS 106
- Steph Curry. There aren’t many more three-point shooting records he can break now, after hitting a single game record 13 on his way to a game-high 46 points.
- While Curry was making history, Klay Thompson was showing signs of getting his groove back. He was 11-20 from the field and picked up three steals.
- With Curry so hot, Draymond Green played the role of point guard last night. He did most of the ball-handling and piled up 11 assists. Green handling the ball so much also pulled Anthony Davis away from the hoop, opening things up inside for the Warriors.
- 0-7 now on the year for New Orleans. Anthony Davis could make All-NBA First Team while his team lands in the lottery. There isn’t much more one player could do to keep his team in games.
- Without Lance Stephenson (who was injured and subsequently released), the Pelicans lacked a secondary playmaker for a lot of the game. Tim Frazier did a solid job but didn’t get enough help from anyone else.
- The Pelicans guards had no answer for Curry all game long. When a guy is that hot, you just shake your head and try again next time.
JAZZ 109 – 76ERS 84
- Even without George Hill, the Jazz rolled over Philadelphia. Gordon Hayward was the primary playmaker and put up a line of 20/7/5.
- Derrick Favors seems to be finally getting comfortable as he had 16 points and 14 rebounds. It took a while for him to get back, but he’s been solid the last two nights.
- The Jazz bench was ruthlessly efficient, if unspectacular. They dominated the Philadelphia reserves in every facet.
- Not much to see here. Jahlil Okafor had a nice offensive night. He had a few good moves inside, even on the Gobert/Favors combo. Other than that, it was a forgettable night for Philly.
HORNETS 122 – PACERS 100
- The Charlotte starters dominated this one from tip to tail. The “worst” starter was Nic Batum and he was +13 for the game. The other four players were all +21 at the minimum.
- One downside was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leaving early with soreness in his lower back. He’s considered to be day-to-day with the injury.
- The Pacers continue to offer almost no resistance defensively. Charlotte scored 75 first half points and shot 48.8% for the game as a whole.
- It is a rare night when Paul George has a forgettable performance, but he scored just 10 points and couldn’t get anything going against Kidd-Gilchrist or Batum.
BULLS 112 – MAGIC 80
- After letting the Magic climb back in the game going into the half, the Bulls blew them out in the third, outscoring them 27-11 in the period and put this game away.
- All 13 players played for Chicago, and all 13 were a + in +/-. Impressive outing all-around, minus just 3-19 shooting from three as a team.
- In a battle of teams that were expected to have trouble spacing the floor, the Magic held up their end. They shot just 30 percent from three and 38.8 percent overall. On a night where the Orlando defense couldn’t contain the Bulls players, it made the conditions perfect for a blowout.
THUNDER 97 – HEAT 85
- Enes Kanter ate up the Heat on the interior with 24 points on 10-12 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds, four of them on the offensive glass.
- The Thunder defense clamped down in the third quarter, holding the Heat to just 14 points. Oklahoma City was able to extend to a 22 point lead and never looked back.
- Miami’s offense wasn’t able to generate enough easy looks in this game. OKC shut down the Dragic/Whiteside pick and roll game, and that forced the Heat to look elsewhere for offense. Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters were the beneficiaries of extra looks but combined for just 3-22 shooting from the floor.
CLIPPERS 114 – PISTONS 82
- More so than any other year in the recent past, the Clippers have the look of a title contender. They raced out to a 30 point halftime lead and never looked back. In years past, they would have let the other team back in the game. Not last night.
- The Clippers got any shots they wanted and finished over 50 percent overall and from distance. Blake Griffin was the lone starter under 50 percent shooting, but he also missed a triple-double by just one assist.
- Hard to find any positives in a 32 point blowout loss. Stanley Johnson was ok with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Not much else on the plus side of the ledger for the Pistons last night.