The Celtics jumped up to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with their win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Seedings, obviously, will shuffle around quite a bit as the season unfolds, but Jalen Rose likes Boston’s chances of being in that exact spot when the 2019-20 playoffs commence. Rose explained his reasoning…Why Jalen Rose Believes Celtics Will End Up With East’s No. 2 Seed — NESN.com
INJURY REPORTS AT 1:30 P.M. THURSDAY
Houston Rockets Frazier, Michael Out G League – Two-Way – Gordon, Eric Out Injury/Illness – Right Knee; Arthroscopy – Green, Gerald Out Injury/Illness – Left Cuneiform; Fracture – Hilario, Nene Out Injury/Illness – Left Adductor; Strain – House Jr., Danuel Questionable Injury/Illness – Illness; Illness – Toronto Raptors Johnson, Stanley Out Injury/Illness – Left Groin; Stress reaction – McCaw, Patrick Out Injury/Illness – Left Knee; Surgery – Thomas, Matt Out Injury/Illness – Left Finger; Middle; fracture – distal phalanx –
GAME #21 – TORONTO RAPTORS (15-5) vs. HOUSTON ROCKETS (13-7) THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2019 – 7:30 P.M. (ET) – SCOTIABANK ARENA TV: TSN – RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN
• The Toronto Raptors conclude their three-game homestand (Nov. 1-5) Thursday night when they host the Houston Rockets at Scotiabank Arena. The Rockets swept the season series (2-0) with the Raptors in 2018-2019. It was the sixth time in franchise history Toronto was swept by Houston. Pascal Siakam averaged 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the two losses last year.
• Norman Powell recorded a game-high 23 points and a season-high tying eight rebounds as a reserve in Tuesday night’s loss to the Heat. It was his fourth 20-point game of the season and first coming off the bench. Over his last nine games, Powell is averaging 18.4 points (eight game starts).
• The Raptors scored 17 fast break points Tuesday night against Miami. Toronto is averaging 19.6 fast break points this season – most in the NBA. Kyle Lowry is tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo to the lead the league with 6.7 fast break points per game, while Pascal Siakam ranks sixth 4.3 fast break points.
• Fred VanVleet has scored 20 or more points in five of the last seven games (Nov. 20 – Dec. 3). VanVleet is averaging 21.4 points, while shooting .445 (49-110) from the floor and .396 (21-53) from three-point distance during this stretch. VanVleet has reached the 20-point mark nine times this season; something he did seven times in his first three seasons combined (2016-19).
• Toronto’s bench accounted for 40 per cent (44 points) of the team’s scoring Tuesday night against Miami. The Raptors’ reserves are averaging 37.0 points over the last 10 games, compared to 31.9 points in the first 10 games. This season, Toronto’s bench is shooting 49.4 per cent from the field which ranks second— behind only Detroit (50.6 per cent) and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (39.1).
• The Raptors will play 11 of 16 games at home in the month of December after playing eight of 13 on the road in November. December is Toronto’s busiest month of the season and includes three back-to-back sets. The Raptors’ 11 games at Scotiabank Arena tie the franchise record for most home games in a calendar month – Toronto also played 11 games at home in March 2016.
• Toronto ranks second in the NBA in three-point percentage (.393) trailing only Detroit (.399) and fourth in three-pointers made per game (14.3) behind Houston (15.7), New Orleans (14.8) and Dallas (14.8). Toronto has made 287 three pointers this season – fifth-most in the NBA.
• The NBA announced Monday that head coach Nick Nurse was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in October and November. This marks the second time Nurse has earned the honour after he won for games played in October and November in 2018. Nurse coached the reigning NBA champions to a 14-4 record to start the season while facing several roster challenges along the way. The Raptors had eight different players miss games due to injury, including Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka
. • Giants of Africa and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri will host a youth summit in honour of Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of his passing, Thursday Dec. 5. The youth event marks the sixth consecutive year that Giants of Africa, the not-for-profit founded by Ujiri, will pay homage to the late South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
F – OG ANUNOBY #3
MIN: 29.6 REB: 5.5 AST: 1.7 STL: 1.2 TO: 1.2 BLK: 0.9 PTS: 10.9
• Finished with six points, three rebounds and one block in 21 minutes Dec. 3 vs. Miami. • Ranks ninth in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.456); has made three or more threes six times. • Toronto is a perfect 10-0 this season when Anunoby scores 10 or more points (Last: 10 – Dec. 1 vs. Utah).
F – PASCAL SIAKAM #43
MIN: 36.9 REB: 8.6 AST: 3.9 STL: 0.9 TO: 2.9 BLK: 078 PTS: 25.1
• Recorded eighth double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 39 minutes of play Dec. 3 vs. Miami. • Ranks 11th in the NBA in scoring (25.1) and third in minutes per game (36.9). • Has scored 30+ points eight times; had five 30-point performances in 80 games played last season
. C – MARC GASOL #33
MIN: 28.7 REB: 6.4 AST: 3.4 STL: 0.5 TO: 1.3 BLK: 1.0 PTS: 6.5
• Scored a season-high 14 points Dec. 3 vs. Miami; added three rebounds in 33 minutes. • Reached 12,000 career points in the NBA Nov. 16 at Dallas. • Has collected 10+ rebounds three times this season, including a season-high 12 rebounds Nov. 2 at Milwaukee.
G – KYLE LOWRY #7
MIN: 36.7 REB: 4.4 AST: 7.0 STL: 1.1 TO: 3.1 BLK: 0.4 PTS: 20.7
• Recorded his first double-double of the year with 12 points and a season-high 11 assists Dec. 3 vs. Miami. • Missed 11 games (Nov. 10 – Dec. 1) with a left thumb; distal phalanx fracture. • Needs one double-double to tie Antonio Davis (110) for third on the Raptors’ all-time list (see page 3 for top-five).
G – FRED VANVLEET #23
MIN: 37.8 REB: 3.8 AST: 7.4 STL: 2.0 TO: 2.5 BLK: 0.1 PTS: 18.7
• Finished with 19 points, six assists and three steals in a game-high 43 minutes of play Dec. 3 vs. Miami. • Leads the NBA in minutes per game (37.8) and ranks 10th in assists per game (7.4). • Toronto is 8-1 this season when VanVleet scores 20 or more points (Last: 21 – Dec. 1 vs. Utah).
INJURY REPORT Stanley Johnson (Left groin; stress react) – Out Patrick McCaw (Left knee; surgery) – Out Matt Thomas (Left middle finger; distal phalanx fracture) – Out
NEXT GAME DETAILS Opponent: Houston Rockets Date: Thursday, December 5 Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. (ET) Venue: Scotiabank Arena Television: TSN Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN
SERIES RECAP VS. HOUSTON
OVERALL HOME ROAD 2018-19
0-2 0-1 0-1
ALL-TIME 20-27 15-8 5-19
STREAKS Lost 2 Lost 1 Lost 1
LAST WIN: March 9, 2018 (108-105)
LAST HOME WIN: March 9, 2018 (108-105)
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: +21, January 2, 2009
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: -30, November 20, 1997
LAST TIME VS. HOUSTON
GAME 65 – MARCH 5, 2019 HOUSTON 107, TORONTO 95
TORONTO — James Harden scored 19 of his 35 points in the final quarter, Gerald Green had 11 of his 18 in the fourth and the Rockets beat the Toronto Raptors 107-95 … Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers each scored 13 points as the Rockets won their sixth straight … Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and Serge Ibaka had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Toronto … Pascal Siakam had 17 points, and Danny Green 14 as the Raptors had their seven-game home winning streak snapped … Harden, made 12 of 30 shots, including three of nine from long range … The Raptors overcame a 22-point second quarter deficit to reclaim the lead in the third, but couldn’t hold on in the fourth … The Rockets turned it on, connecting on seven of their first eight shot from 3-point range … Houston made 15 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc … The Rockets outscored the Raptors 23-7 on fast break points and turned 13 Toronto turnovers into 26 points … Houston opened the second with a 19-4 run to take a 42-23 lead at 7:28 … Green and Rivers each scored seven in the quarter and Houston led 55-37 at halftime … Toronto roared back as Houston missed 11 of its first 12 attempts to begin the second half … Siakam’s basket at 4:44 of the third put the Raptors up 60-59 … Siakam scored 15 in the quarter as Toronto took a 71-69 lead into the fourth.
1 2 3 4 TOT HOUSTON 23 32 14 38 107
TORONTO 19 18 34 24 95
NEXT GAME DETAILS Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers Date: Sunday, December 8 Tip-Off: 6 p.m. (ET) Venue: Wells Fargo Center Television: TSN Radio: TSN 1050 Toronto
SERIES RECAP VS. PHILADELPHIA
OVERALL HOME ROAD 2019-20
1-0 1-0 0-0
ALL-TIME 55-38 30-16 25-22
STREAKS Won 2 Won 14 Won 1
LAST WIN: November 25, 2019 (101-96)
LAST ROAD WIN: February 5, 2019 (119-107)
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: +34, October 21, 2017
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: -35, January 7, 2012
LAST TIME VS. PHILADELPHIA
GAME 16 – NOVEMBER 25, 2019
TORONTO 101, PHILADELPHIA 96
TORONTO — Pascal Siakam scored 25 points, Fred VanVleet added 24 and the Raptors held Joel Embiid scoreless for the first time in his career in a 101-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night … Embiid shot 0-for-11, missing all four of his shots from 3-point range and going 0for-3 at the free throw line … Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who posted their 14th consecutive home victory over the 76ers … Josh Richardson scored 25 points, Tobias Harris had 18 and Mike Scott 12 for the 76ers, who have not won a regularseason game in Toronto in more than seven years … The 76ers used a 70 run to build a 94-88 lead with 5:16 left to play … Norman Powell and VanVleet hit 3-pointers that cut the gap to two, 96-94, but Toronto missed three straight chances to tie it … Siakam ended Toronto’s drought with a three-point play, giving the Raptors a one-point edge, 97-96, with 1:01 left … VanVleet was fouled and made two shots, giving the Raptors a threepoint cushion … Harris and Ben Simmons missed 3-pointers before Siakam finished it with a thunderous dunk.
1 2 3 4 TOT
PHILADELPHIA 34 15 31 16 96
TORONTO 28 23 30 20 101
GAME 20 – DECEMBER 3, 2019
REGULAR SEASON GAME #21
AWAY GAME #11 HOUSTON ROCKETS (13-7) vs. TORONTO RAPTORS (15-5) Thursday, December 5, 2019 • Scotiabank Arena• 6:30 p.m. CT AT&T SportsNet • NBA TV • KBME 790 / KTRH 740 • SPANISH: KEYH 850 AM / KNTE 101.7 FM
Record Overall Home Road Overtime Streaks Overall Home Road Overall
13-7 8-2 5-5 0-1 Current Lost 1 Won 2 Lost 3
Eastern 5-3 3-1 2-2 0-0
Longest (Winning) 8 (11/4-11/18) 6 (10/26-11/18) 4 (11/4-11/16)
Western 8-4 5-1 3-3 0-1 Longest (Losing) 3 (11/20-11/24) 1 (2 times) 3 (11/20-12/3)
Forward Danuel House Jr. MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
#4 6-6 / 215 29.7 12.4 4.6 1.1 1.29 0.71 0.9 .474 .444 .794
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS 12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) DNP – ILLNESS
Notes/Career Highlights Has missed six of the past 10 games due to injury/illness including two straight… averaged 19.5 points on 52.2% shooting over his past two games played… has played 30+ minutes nine times in 14 games played this season after doing so 9 times in 39 GP in 2018-19.
Forward P.J. Tucker MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
#17 6-5 / 245 35.5 9.8 6.4 1.5 1.50 0.55 1.0 .534 .458 .833
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS 12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) 51:33 4-8 2-5 0-0 2 7 9 2 5 3 1 2 11 10
Notes/Career Highlights Played a career-high 52 minutes at San Antonio on 12/3 and is averaging 38.2 mpg over the past five games… has scored 10+ points in three of the past four games after doing so three times the 13 games prior… shooting 53.4% from the floor (39.3% past 2 seasons).
Center Clint Capela MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
#15 6-10 / 240 32.7 15.1 15.1 1.1 0.88 2.00 1.5 .657 — .469
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS 12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) 45:25 9-9 0-0 4-6 8 13 21 2 4 1 1 2 16 22
Notes/Career Highlights Has grabbed 19+ rebounds in each of his past eight games played; according to Elias, that’s the longest streak going back to 1969… has grabbed 20+ rebounds seven times in 16 game played this season after doing so seven times in 295 games his first five seasons.
Guard Russell Westbrook MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT% #0 6-3 / 200 34.1 21.9 7.8 7.1 1.50 0.33 4.3 .410 .229 .732
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS 12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) 48:25 7-30 1-6 4-4 2 8 10 10 6 2 5 1 -8 19
Notes/Career Highlights Shooting 44.0% from the floor while averaging 18.8 FGA in wins this season compared to 36.7% with 21.0 FGA per game in losses… recorded his fourth triple-double of the season at San Antonio on 12/3… past 11 GP, shooting 79.7% from the line (62.8% first 7 GP).
Guard James Harden MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
#13 6-5 / 220 37.4 39.5 6.1 7.8 1.80 0.50 5.2 .433 .344 .876
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS
12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) 48:31 11-38 4-20 24-24 3 6 9 6 4 4 4 0 -3 50
Notes/Career Highlights Had 50 points at San Antonio on 12/3 after scoring 60 vs. Atlanta on 11/30, marking 4th time scoring 50+ in consecutive games in his career (2nd-most all-time)… Devin Booker is only other player to have scored 50+ points in consecutive games dating back to 2007-08.
6th Man Austin Rivers MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
#25 6-3 / 200 24.7 8.4 2.7 1.4 0.50 0.15 0.7 .421 .325 .714
Last Game RESULT MIN FG/FGA 3FG/3FGA FT/FTA OR DR TR A PF ST TO BS +/- PTS
12/3 at SA L133-135 (2ot) 39:47 6-8 5-6 2-2 1 3 4 1 3 1 3 1 -13 19
Notes/Career Highlights Has 33 points over the past two games, marking his highest two-game total this season… has 7 3FGM on 58.3% shooting over the past two games after having 5 3FGM on 13.9% shooting the eight games prior… over the past 13 games, averaging 28.2 mpg.
INJURY/STATUS REPORT Michael Frazier (G League – Two Way); Eric Gordon (Not With Team – Right Knee Arthroscopy); Gerald Green (Not With Team – Left Cuneiform Fracture); Danuel House Jr. (Missed Past 2 Games – Illness); Nenê (Not With Team – Left Adductor Strain).
6/12: Claimed Deyonta Davis off waivers from Atlanta… 7/3: Signed Chris Clemons, William McDowell-White and Shamorie Ponds… 7/16: Traded Chris Paul along with two future first round picks and other draft considerations to Oklahoma City in exchange for Russell Westbrook… 7/17: Re-signed Danuel House Jr. and Austin Rivers… 7/18: Signed Tyson Chandler… 7/22: Re-signed Gerald Green… 7/23: Signed free agent Ben McLemore… 7/25: Signed Anthony Bennett… 7/30: Waived Chris Chiozza and Deyonta Davis… 9/4: Extended Eric Gordon’s contract… 9/6: Re-signed Nenê… 9/23: Signed Jaron Blossomgame… 9/27: Waived McDowell-White… Signed Ryan Anderson and Jaron Blossomgame… 10/10: Waived Bennett… 10/11: Claimed Ray Spalding off waivers… 10/17: Waived Blossomgame and Frazier; signed Matur Maker… 10/19: Waived Maker, Ponds, and Spalding… 10/20: Signed Frazier as a Two-Way player… 10/21: Signed and waived Ronshad Shabazz; converted Clemons to Two-Way contract… 11/18: Waived Anderson.
TONIGHT: Here are some notes about tonight’s game and other matters that just didn’t fit in anywhere else:
• Since winning eight in a row from 11/4-11/18, the Rockets have lost four of their past six games… Houston is 13-7 overall this season… the Rockets were 11-14 at one point last season before going 42-15 over the final 57 games. • Following tonight’s game, the Rockets will play four of six at home from 12/7-12/16… after that , Houston will play five of six on the road from 12/1912/29. • Houston is 8-2 at home this season, including six straight wins from 10/26-11/18… the Rockets went 31-10 at home last season and have won 30+ home games in five of the past six seasons after doing so five times the 22 seasons prior. • The Rockets have lost three straight on the road after winning four in a row prior… Houston is 5-5 on the road this overall season… the Rockets won 13 of its final 19 road games in 2018-19 after starting 9-13 on the road. • Houston has led by double-digits in 17 of the 20 games this season (13-4 mark)… the Rockets were 45-13 when leading by 10+ points in 2018-19. • The Rockets have trailed by double-digits eight times this season (3-5 mark)… Houston was 10-24 in games in which it trailed by 10+ last season… the Rockets never led at Miami on 11/3 or vs. Dallas on 11/24. • The Rockets are 11-3 when leading after three quarters of play this season (42-6 in 2018-19) and 2-4 when tied or trailing (11-23 in 2018-19). • Houston is 3-2 in games decided by five or fewer points this season, including 2-2 by three or fewer… the Rockets were 13-12 in games decided by five or fewer points last season, including 5-7 in games decided by three or fewer. • The Rockets are outscoring opponents by 5.4 points per game this season (fifth in NBA w/+4.7 in 2018-19)… Houston has won five games by 10+ points this season (29 in 2018-19), including four by 20+ (12 in 2018-19). • The Rockets have lost by double-digits three times this season, including 20+ once (29 at Miami on 11/3)… Houston lost 12 games by double-digits last season, including four by 20+ with the worst loss coming by 28 points at Philadelphia on 1/21/19. • Houston has lost four straight games against teams from the Western Conference after winning the its first eight (32-20 in 2018-19)… the Rockets are 5-3 against the East this season, including 1-2 on the road, after going 21-9 in 2018-19 (8-7 on the road). • The Rockets lost in double-overtime at San Antonio on 12/3, marking their first OT game of the season… since winning their first five overtime games under head coach Mike D’Antoni, Houston has gone 2-5 (all coming since the start of 2018-19). • The Rockets are 2-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season after going 8-4 in 2018-19… Houston has nine back-to-backs remaining this season with the next coming at Orlando on 12/13 and vs. Detroit on 12/14. • Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook are averaging 20+ points this season… the last time Houston had two players average 20+ points in a single season was 2007-08 (Yao Ming: 22.0 ppg; Tracy McGrady: 21.6 ppg).
NBA 2K HARDEN: James Harden had 50 points at San Antonio on 12/3 after scoring 60 vs. Atlanta on 11/30. It is the fourth time he has scored 50+ points in consecutive games in his career. Dating back to 2007-08, Devin Booker is the only other player to have scored 50+ in consecutive games. In NBA history, the only players besides Harden with multiple streaks of scoring 50+ are Elgin Baylor (twice) and Wilt Chamberlain (a lot). Harden has scored 50+ points three times this season. and 21 times in his career (4th most all-time; 3rd is Kobe Bryant with 25 in 561 more games played).
WE CAN ALL SLEEP BETTER NOW: The NBA added stats to the Rockets game vs. Miami on 11/27. James Harden now has an extra field goal attempt and the Heat have an extra block with Houston getting a team rebound. Because of the added missed shot, Houston no longer outshot Miami for the game. In other news, Harden’s dunk at San Antonio on 12/3 that was but wasn’t still isn’t.
THE SWISS WORM: Clint Capela has grabbed at least 19 rebounds in each of his past nine games played. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the longest streak by any player going back to 1969. Capela is second in the NBA with 15.1 rpg this season. He increased his rebounding by close to 2 boards a game in each of his first five seasons (+3.4 from Season #1-2, +1.7 from #2-3, +2.7 from #3-4, +1.9 from #4-5) and is averaging +2.4 more this season than he did in 2018-19. Capela has recorded 20+ rebounds seven times in 16 games played this season after doing so seven times in 295 games played over his first five seasons.
ZERO TO SIXTY IN THREE QUARTERS: James Harden scored 60 points vs. Atlanta on 11/30 without playing in the fourth quarter. Here are some notes from that performance: • It marked the fourth 60-point performance of Harden’s career, tying him with Michael Jordan for the third-most in NBA history; only Kobe Bryant (6) and Wilt Chamberlain (32!!!) have more… it was also Harden’s 20th time scoring 50+ points (fourth-most all-time; third is Kobe with 25). • Harden scored all 60 of his points without playing in the fourth quarter… with 5:44 left in the third, Atlanta had 60 points and Harden had 51… according to ESPN Stats & Info, Harden became the third player over the past 25 seasons to have scored 60+ through three quarters of play. • Harden scored his 60 points in 31 minutes of play… that marked the second-fewest minutes played in a 60-point game (Klay Thompson w/29). • Harden scored his 60 points in 24 field goal attempts… that marked the fewest FGA in a 60-point game in NBA history. • Harden had a plus/minus rating +50 in his 31 minutes of play… dating back to 2000-01, he became the seventh player to recorded a plus/minus rating of 50 or better.
YIKES: James Harden has scored 789 points in 748 minutes of play this season and is averaging a league-high 39.5 ppg.. That is the highest total by a player through the first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain had 1,045 (!!!) in 1962-63. Harden led the NBA in scoring in each of the past two seasons (30.4 ppg in 2017-18; 36.1 ppg in 2018-19). His 36.1 ppg in 2018-19 was the highest scoring average by a player since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 ppg in 1986-87. Harden finished with 2,818 points in 2,867 minutes played last season.
BARNS WERE BURNED: The Rockets defeated the Wizards 159-158 on 10/30. Here are some notes from that defensive struggle: • The Rockets 159 points broke the franchise single-game scoring mark of 156 points set at Denver on 1/10/91. • Houston had 159 points while Washington had 158… it marked the 15th game in NBA history that both teams scored 150+ points and the sixth in a non-overtime game… the last time both teams scored 150+ points in a non-overtime game was San Antonio vs. Denver on 11/7/90. • According to ESPN, the 317 combined points by the Rockets and Wizards was the highest in game decided by a single point in NBA history. • The Rockets and Wizards combined for 317 points… that marked the ninth-highest scoring game in NBA history and the third-highest in a nonovertime game: (Golden State and Denver with 320 points on 11/2/90; Denver and San Antonio with 318 points on 1/11/84). • Houston hit 23 3-pointers while Washington hit 20… it marked the third time in NBA history that both teams hit 20+ 3FGM and just the second time in a non-overtime game. • James Harden scored 38 of his 59 points in the second half, marking the second-highest scoring half by a Rocket in franchise history (Harden w/39 in 2nd half vs. Brooklyn on 1/16/19)… the 59 points broke Harden’s own mark for the most by a Washington opponent in a single game.
CALIFORNIA LOVE: The Rockets have four players who were born in California, including three who went to high schools located south of Los Angeles. Tyson Chandler was born in Hanford near Fresno and attended Dominguez High School in Compton in L.A. county. James Harden was born in Bellflower in L.A. county and attended Artesia High School in Lakewood of that same area. Russell Westbrook was born in Long Beach which is south of L.A. and attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale in L.A. County. Austin Rivers was born in Santa Monica in L.A. county while his father, Doc, was playing for the Clippers, but went to high school near Orlando.
20K CLUB: Russell Westbrook needs 747 points to reach 20,000 for his career while James Harden is 584 shy of 20,000. Westbrook topped 7,000 assists for his career. LeBron James, Gary Payton, and Oscar Robertson are the only players in NBA history with at least 20,000+ points and 7,000+ assists in their careers. Westbrook is 100 rebounds shy of 6,000 for his career. LeBron and Oscar are the only players with career totals of at least 20,000 points, 7,000 assists, and 6,000 rebounds.
BIG OH: Russell Westbrook recorded his first triple-double as a Rocket, and the 139th of his career, with 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds vs. New Orleans on 10/26. That moved him past Magic Johnson for the second-most triple-doubles in NBA history. Westbrook now has 142 career tripledoubles, trailing only Oscar Robertson’s 181. James Harden has the ninth-most triple-doubles (42), needing two to surpass Fat Lever for eighth place.
CREEPING UP: James Harden needs 1,329 points to surpass Calvin Murphy (17,949) for the second-most in franchise history. Harden has scored at least 2,191 points in each of he past five seasons, including 2,300+ four times, and a career-best 2,818 points in 2018-19.
GET OFF THEIR LAWN: Tyson Chandler is in 19th NBA season while Nenê is in his 18th. Nenê turned 37 on 9/13 while Chandler turned 37 on 10/2. The only players currently on NBA rosters who were older heading into the season were Vince Carter (42), Udonis Haslem (39), Pau Gasol (39), and Kyle Korver (38). The only player currently on an NBA roster with more experience than Chandler is Carter (21); Gasol is also in his 19th season. Nenê has the fourth-most experience.
THE BEARD AND BRODIE: On 7/16, the Rockets acquired eight-time All-Star Russell Westbrook from Oklahoma City. James Harden was teammates with Westbrook in Oklahoma City during Harden’s first three NBA seasons from 2009-10 through 2011-12. Their last game together with the Thunder was in the 2012 NBA Finals. Here are some notes from this historic pairing:
• Harden (2017-18) and Westbrook (2016-17) have won two of the past three MVP awards… this marks the fourth time a duo has played together after both players won an MVP award within the previous three seasons: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant for Golden State (2016-17), Julius Erving and Moses Malone with Philadelphia (1983-84), Bob Cousy and Bill Russell with Boston (1958-59 and 1959-60). • Westbrook and Harden both finished top-10 in MVP voting in each of the past five seasons, with both placing in the top-five in the same season three times over that span. • Harden and Westbrook entered 2019-20 joining LeBron James as the only players to have averaged at least 25.0 points, 8.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds over the past five seasons (2014-15 through 2018-19). • Westbrook and Harden are two of the five players in NBA history to have led the league in scoring and in assists at least once during their careers, joining Tiny Archibald, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson. • Harden and Westbrook won two of the past five scoring titles… this marks the fourth time teammates have played together after both already led the league in scoring multiple times (Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1957-58 and 1958-59 (Johnston’s final two seasons), Arizin and Wilt Chamberlain with the Warriors in 1961-62 (Arizin’s final season), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob McAdoo with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1981-82 through 1984-85 (both won all of their scoring titles prior to 1976-77).
SCHEDULE NOTES: Here are some noteworthy items from the Rockets 2019-20 regular season schedule:
• From 11/13-12/16, Houston will play 10 of 17 at home… following that stretch, the Rockets will play eight of 12 on the road, including a Christmas Day game at Golden State. • The Rockets have a season-high four-game homestand from 1/15-1/22… Houston then plays four straight on the road before hosting five of seven at Toyota Center heading into All-Star break. • Post All-Star break, Houston will play 12 of its first 20 games on the road, including a season-long five-game road trip from 3/23-3/31… the Rockets close out the regular season by playing six of their final eight games at home. • Houston has 11 back-to-backs this season, eight of which come prior to All-Star break… the final two back-to-backs occur in April when the Rockets close out the season by playing seven games in 11 days. • The Rockets will face every NBA team at least once at home and once on the road, including Western conference opponents twice both home and away, except for the following: L.A. Lakers (1 home, 2 road), Okla. City (2 home, 1 road), Sacramento (2 home, 1 road), and Utah (1 home, 2 road).
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There is great, there is good, there is bad, there is really bad, and then there is Manhattan’s asshole, the New York Knickerbockers.The Catastrophe That Is David Fizdale’s Knicks — It’s My Opinion
Mike Soroka wins Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award
St. Marys, Ont. – Calgary native Mike Soroka has been named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2019 Tip O’Neill Award.
Canada’s baseball shrine presents this honour annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
Soroka, who finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the Cy Young Award voting, is a first-time winner of the award. He staved off strong competition from last year’s winner James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) to secure the honour.
“Mike Soroka put together one of the best rookie seasons by a Canadian pitcher in major league history,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “He not only had an outstanding regular season with the Atlanta Braves, but he was also dominant in his first post-season start. He’s definitely a worthy recipient of the award.”
In his first full major league season, Soroka posted a 13-4 record and a 2.68 ERA, while striking out 142 batters in 174-2/3 innings in 29 starts for the Braves. His ERA ranked third in the National League, while his road ERA (1.35) was the best in the circuit and the fifth lowest in major leagues since 1913 (minimum 15 games started).
Among National League rookie hurlers, Soroka had the best ERA, was third in wins and fourth in games started, innings pitched and strikeouts. For his efforts, he was named to the National League All-Star team and a starting pitcher on Baseball America’s MLB All-Rookie team.
The Canuck right-hander was also masterful in his first post-season start, limiting the St. Louis Cardinals to one run on two hits, while striking out seven, in seven innings in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Selected in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft, the PBF Redbirds and Junior National Team alum made his big league debut on May 1, 2018. In five starts for the Braves last season, he registered a 2-1 record and a 3.51 ERA.
On top of his strong on-the-field performance in 2019 , Soroka has also been active in charitable and community endeavors. He worked with a number of charities that the Braves Foundation supports, including the Dave Krache Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He also worked with CHOA’s epilepsy unit during the season to host a number of children and their parents at a game. Back in his home province, he serves as an ambassador for KidSport Calgary.
“When I had been told I would be the recipient of the 2019 Tip O’Neill Award, it really did put me back in a sense of awe,” said Soroka. “Having had the opportunity to grow up through the Canadian Baseball Program (Junior National Team), I have always felt a sense of pride when there are Canadians excelling in this game. I am always sure to mention to anyone watching other games in the clubhouse when a Canadian is at the plate or on the mound. I am beyond humbled to have the honour of sharing this award with some of the greats of not just Canadian baseball, but Major League Baseball period. This sense of pride has stemmed from others who represented Canadian baseball so well before me, and is something I hope to carry on as well.
“I am extremely thankful to have been considered for the Tip O’Neill, as it will be something I carry with great pride.”
Details about the presentation of the 2019 Tip O’Neill Award will be announced in the coming months.
The Hall’s Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James “Tip” O’Neill, who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars. With the American Association’s St. Louis Browns in 1887, O’Neill set big league records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage and total bases, while compiling a major league record .492 batting average. Walks were counted as hits in 1887, but if O’Neill’s average was calculated by today’s standards, it would be .435, the second-highest in big league history to Hugh Duffy who hit .440 in 1894.
To determine the winner of the Tip O’Neill Award, the Hall takes into account a number of criteria, including each candidate’s on-the-field performance, contributions to their team, community and charitable endeavors and support in fan voting. Starting on November 15, the Hall had encouraged fans to vote for their top three candidates and they responded by casting their votes via e-mail and on the Hall’s website.
Past winners of the James “Tip” O’Neill Award:
1984 – Terry Puhl
1985 – Dave Shipanoff
1986 – Rob Ducey
1987 – Larry Walker
1988 – Kevin Reimer
1989 – Steve Wilson
1990 – Larry Walker
1991 – Daniel Brabant
1992 – Larry Walker
1993 – Rob Butler
1994 – Larry Walker
1995 – Larry Walker
1996 – Jason Dickson
1997 – Larry Walker
1998 – Larry Walker
1999 – Jeff Zimmerman
2000 – Ryan Dempster
2001 – Corey Koskie
2001 – Larry Walker
2002 – Eric Gagné
2002 – Larry Walker
2003 – Eric Gagné
2004 – Jason Bay
2005 – Jason Bay
2006 – Justin Morneau
2007 – Russell Martin
2008 – Justin Morneau
2009 – Jason Bay
2010 – Joey Votto
2011 – Joey Votto
2011 – John Axford
2012 – Joey Votto
2013 – Joey Votto
2014 – Justin Morneau
2015 – Joey Votto
2016 – Joey Votto
2017 – Joey Votto
2018 – James Paxton
2019 – Mike Soroka
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