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Due to March Madness, the Rebounds & Blocks article took a couple of weeks off, so we are back for the last Monday of this article due to the Triumphant Return of the 2015 MLB version of the Good, Bad & Ugly. But lets recap the last couple of weeks in the NBA, thanks to NBA.com & ESPN.com for help in this article:
- James Harden’s dropped 41 & outdueled Russell Westbrook Triple Double in Rockets win in Oklahoma City on Sunday: James Harden led a postgame dance session in the Houston locker room. And why not? He scored 41 points, and his Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook’s triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-112 on Sunday.In the process, Harden bested of one of his top challengers for the MVP award and silenced the fans who constantly booed him in the building where he once was beloved. The former Thunder star scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to give his team a cushion.”That’s my job,” Harden said. “It’s what I do. I go out there and I take the big shots. My teammates did a great job the entire game of making shots, getting to the rim, just being in attack mode, being aggressive. In the fourth quarter, then, I’ve got to make shots.”
Harden and Westbrook, the league’s top two scorers, both entered the game averaging 27.5 points. Harden made 12 of 22 shots and 6 of 9 3-pointers before fouling out with 33 seconds left. The Rockets hung on to win for the seventh time in eight games.
- Lebron James & Russell Westbrook wins March NBA Players of the Month: The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.James lifted the Cavaliers to an East-best 11-4 record in March by leading the conference in scoring (24.7 ppg), ranking fourth in assists (7.3 apg), finishing sixth in steals (1.73 spg) and adding 6.3 rebounds. The 6-8 forward scored at least 20 points in 12 of 15 games, including two 30-point performances, and he shot 48.2 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three-point range. James matched his season high with 14 assists in a 120-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors on March 4, and he set a season high with five steals to go with 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 108-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on March 22.Westbrook averaged an NBA-high 30.9 points, was second in both assists (10.2 apg) and steals (2.5 spg), and contributed 8.5 rebounds (12th in the West) to lead Oklahoma City to a 10-5 month. The 6-3 guard had his second straight 30-point, 10-assist month, giving him two of three such months (minimum 10 games played) in the NBA over the last 40 years (James has the other, in February 2010). Westbrook posted four triple-doubles during the month, including a 49-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist outing in a 123-118 overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers on March 4.
James and Westbrook both won the award in their respective conferences for the second month in a row. Here is a closer look at this past month for James and Westbrook:
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
March 4 @ Toronto: Recorded 29 points, 14 assists and six rebounds in a 120-112 victory over the Raptors.
March 10 @ Dallas: Posted 27 points (on 10-of-14 shooting), eight assists and seven rebounds in 29 minutes in a 127-94 win over the Mavs.
March 22 @ Milwaukee: Collected 28 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals in a 108-90 victory against the Bucks.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
March 4 vs. Philadelphia: Finished with 49 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a 123-118 overtime win against the 76ers.
March 15 vs. Chicago: Scored 36 points and added 11 rebounds and six assists in a 109-100 victory over the Bulls.
March 20 vs. Atlanta: Tallied 36 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in a 123-115 win over the Hawks.
- Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic and Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson named March’s NBA Rookies of the Month: The Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic and the Los Angeles Lakers’Jordan Clarkson today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.Mirotic led all rookies and the Bulls in scoring (20.8 ppg) for the month while ranking second among rookies in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and blocks (1.2 bpg). He scored 10 or more points 14 times, including eight games with 20-plus points, and finished the month with three double-doubles. Mirotic led the NBA in total fourth-quarter points (136) and fourth-quarter scoring average (9.1), while scoring the highest percentage of his team’s fourth-quarter points (36.8), ahead of Cleveland’s LeBron James (31.8).Clarkson ranked third among rookies — and first on the Lakers — in scoring (15.8 ppg), second in assists (5.2 apg) and sixth in rebounding (4.8 rpg) in 16 starts. He scored at least 20 points on four occasions and dished out six-plus assists seven times. On March 24 at Oklahoma City, he became the first Lakers rookie since Eddie Jones in 1995 to score 30 points in a game. Clarkson shot 45.2 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the free throw line, and he totaled 83 assists and only 40 turnovers.
Here is a recap of the month for Mirotic and Clarkson:
Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls
March 5 vs. Oklahoma City: Scored 26 points and added eight rebounds and two blocks in a 108-105 win over the Thunder.
March 20 vs. Toronto: Scored a career-high 29 points to go with 11 rebounds and four blocks in a 108-92 win over the Raptors.
March 23 vs. Charlotte: Finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and two assists in a 98-86 win over the Hornets.
Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
March 24 @ Oklahoma City: Scored a career-high 30 points and added seven assists and three blocks in a 127-117 loss to the Thunder.
March 25 @ Minnesota: Tallied 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 101-99 win over the Timberwolves.
March 30 @ Philadelphia: Dished out a career-high 11 assists to go with 26 points, six rebounds and three steals in a 113-111 win over the 76ers.
- Lakers set all time franchise record for losses in the Regular Season on Sunday: The Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise record for losses in a single season Sunday, losing their 56th game of the 2014-15 campaign, a 106-78 blowout, to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.The Lakers’ previous high for losses came last season, when they finished with a 27-55 record.In all, it marks a new another low for the Lakers this season.
They were already eliminated from the playoffs for the seventh time in franchise history and it marks only the second time that they’ve missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons (1974-75 and 1975-76).
And in May, the Lakers are slated to participate in only their fourth draft lottery since it was introduced in 1985.
- Sixers & Knicks played in MSG on Sunday Night with a combined 122 losses after the New York Knicks snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 101-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. In an Easter Sunday matchup between two of the worst teams in the league, New York led 81-72 with 10:40 left to go in the fourth quarter but Thompson initiated a 10-0 run with 8:33 and Smith capped it with a floater that cut the lead down to 85-83 with 6:07 remaining. With the 76ers and Knicks eliminated from postseason contention for quite a while now, both franchises have used the remaining part of the season to evaluate some players they might keep around. In 24 games since the All-Star break, Philadelphia has trotted out 16 different lineups while the Knicks have countered with 34 this season.
Also a Rebound Extra, Congrats to the San Antonio Spurs-
By defeating Denver on Friday night, the Spurs have now won 50 games for 16 consecutive seasons, extending their NBA record half a decade beyond the next longest strings. The Los Angeles Lakers (1980-91) are in second place with 12.
“Think about it. There’s not many marriages that last 16 years,” said ESPN analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy. “Think about working that closely together in a relationship, under that pressure and scrutiny and still enjoying each other’s company.
“What they’ve done is sustained greatness. I think that’s much more telling than five championships. First of all, it’s something that nobody’s done before. Winning 50 and having a plus-.500 road record all that time, to me that’s incredible.
“I am totally against the whole mindset that everything is about championships when it comes to evaluating players, evaluating teams. ‘Did they win a championship?’ Really, is that all you’ve got? I’m telling you, sustaining greatness is much harder than a one-, two- or three-year greatness.”