NBA Roundup: Lakers Lose Again, Harden Shines and Curry Gets 4-Yr ExtensionBy Debbie B.
For most, Wednesday night meant trick-or-treating but for NBA fans, it was time to hunker down and catch some basketball.
The Lakers with their talented veteran lineup is yet to win a game together. On Wednesday, they went down against the Portland Trailer Blazers, 116-106.
James Harden signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and immediately showed the team it was a good move as he scored 37 points with 12 assists.
And with his bum ankle, the Golden State Warriors signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension with Stephen Curry.
Trail Blazers defeat Lakers 116-106
With the Lakers starting five still finding their way together, they’re not there yet. After a weak first outing on Tuesday, Dwight Howard had 33 points and 14 rebounds while Kobe Bryant added 30 points on Wednesday but they still lost.
Howard said of the game to Associated Press, “We didn’t expect to just come together and be awesome. It’s always a process. We’ve got to stick with it so that at the end of the year we can have a trophy.”
For Bryant, this exceeded expectations for his 25.5 over/under for total points per game this season while Howard comes in behind with a 19.5 over/under for his total points.
Not helping matters on Wednesday was a Steve Nash injury. He went down in the first half with a leg bruise; he hopes to play in Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As for Portland, they entered the season with eight new team members but they appear to have some chemistry already. At one point, the team led the Lakers by 19.
Nicolas Batum led the team with 26 points, followed by rookie Damian Lillard with 22 points and 11 assists.
Harden Signs Extension, Has Great Debut
On Wednesday before his debut with his new team, 2012’s Sixth Man of the Year James Harden signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Houston Rockets. The deal came after Harden had been acquired in a Saturday trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He immediately showed the team they made a good investment with his 37 points and 12 assists in Wednesday night’s 105-96 win over the Detroit Pistons.
This is just shy of Harden’s career-high 40 points while the assists did represent a career best. All of this comes for a player who only started in seven games last season but proved to be an invaluable player off the bench.
Last season, Harden averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists
Harden said of the game, “I think I just wanted to get out there and play. All the talking and all the craziness that has been happening this last week — I just wanted to go out there and play basketball.”
Curry Signs 4-Yr, $44 Million Extension
Prior to the team’s kick off for the new season on Wednesday night, Golden State Warrior guard Stephen Curry signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension through his 2016-17 season. The signing came on the last day for the team to do so or Curry would have hit the free agent market in the summer.
Last season thanks to right ankle problems, the player only played in 26 games and during the preseason, Curry sprained his right ankle, missing the last two games.
Obviously the team doesn’t have a problem with the sensitive ankle and Curry’s lack of production last season. He had career lows with his 14.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds average but in his first three NBA seasons, he shot 47 percent from the field and 44 percent in three pointers.
Will this be a better season for Curry? He got off to a rough start on Wednesday, scoring only five points and missing key end-of-game free throws. The bettors give him a 17 over/under for total points per game and a 60.5 over/under for games played this season.