NBA wRap: Harden drops 44, J-Smoove on the move
NBA wRap: Harden drops 44, J-Smoove on the move
Houston's James Harden records his third 40-point game of the season while Detroit surprises the league by releasing Josh Smith


MANILA, Philippines – The biggest NBA news of the day didn’t happen on the basketball court as the Detroit Pistons decided to waive veteran forward Josh Smith. That said, there was plenty of action on the hard court with James Harden dropping a league-leading third 40-point game and the Chicago Bulls exploding for 49 points in the fourth quarter to halt Eastern Conference leaders Toronto Raptors.

That and more on the Tuesday, December 23 edition of the NBA wRap.

Portland Trailblazers (22-7) 95 – 110 Houston Rockets (20-7)
POR: Damian Lillard: 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
HOU: James Harden: 44 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals

The Trailblazers had no answer for James Harden who recorded his third 40-point game for the NBA Season. LaMarcus Aldridge travelled with the team but was instructed by the coaching staff to stay in the hotel to rest.

Oh and Harden scored 31 of those 44 points just in the first half:

Denver Nuggets (12-16) 82 – 110 Charlotte Hornets (9-19)
DEN: Ty Lawson: 18 points, 4 assists
CHA: Al Jefferson: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists

Al Jefferson had a big scoring night but Kemba Walker also churned in a good game tallying 18 points and 9 assists. Walker has committed only one turnover over the Hornets’ past 3 games. Now that’s taking care of the rock!

Chicago Bulls (18-9) 129 – 120 Toronto Raptors (22-7)
CHI: Jimmy Butler: 27 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
TOR: Kyle Lowry: 34 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists

Jimmy Butler was brilliant, again, for the Bulls, but in Derrick Rose’s return to the lineup, he proved he still is Chicago’s go-to guy scoring 15 of the team’s franchise record 49 points in the final quarter.


Utah Jazz (9-20) 97-91 Memphis Grizzlies (21-7)
UTA: Alec Burks: 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
MEM: Marc Gasol: 24 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists

Memphis loses another close one as Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward combined for 44 points to lead the Jazz past the Grizzlies.

As consolation, Vince Carter turned back the clock and treated the home fans to this beauty of a slam over French man Rudy Gobert:

Atlanta Hawks (20-7) 105 – 102 Dallas Mavericks (20-9)
ATL: Dennis Schroeder: 22 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists
DAL: Dirk Nowitzki: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

Dennis Schroeder showed utmost respect for players he idolized by bringing his A game against them. Schroeder, a fan of Rajon Rondo and Dirk Nowitzki, made his third start of the season for Atlanta scoring a career-high 22 points to helpthe Hawks get a narrow win over the Mavericks.

Los Angeles Clippers (19-9) 118 – 125 San Antonio Spurs (18-11)
LAC: Chris Paul: 25 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds
SAS: Tim Duncan: 21 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist

Tony Parker makes a strong impact in his return to the Spurs lineup scoring 26 points to lead all scorers in the game.

Highlight of the day: Manu Ginobili tricks the defense with this fancy behind-his-head pass to Danny Green for the triple:

Sacramento Kings (12-15) 108 – 128 Golden State Warriors (22-3)
SAC: DeMarcus Cousins: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
GSW: Klay Thompson: 25 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists

It was another day in the office for the Splash brothers. Thompson top scored with 25 points while Stephen Curry added 12 points and 11 assists.

Pistons release J-Smoove

In a move that was a bit of surprise, the Detroit Pistons waived versatile forward Josh Smith. Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said it was due to the team’s “shifting priorities.”

Smith has 48 hours to clear waivers, after which, he comes a free agent and teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat, and others are already lining up to acquire his services.


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