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News

The Rundown: Five players, five triple-doubles

March 14, 2021, 2:48 PM ● Chuck Araneta

Household names and All-Star talent stuffed box scores across the league in record-setting fashion on Sunday.

Scoreboard

  • Knicks 119, Thunder 97
  • Nets 100, Pistons 95
  • Hornets 114, Raptors 104
  • Bucks 125, Wizards 119
  • Hawks 121, Kings 106
  • Trail Blazers 125, Timberwolves 121
  • Pacers 122, Suns 111
  • Mavericks 116, Nuggets 103

What went down

The race for this season’s MVP is tricky for several reasons. First of all, it’s a condensed 72-game season and not one team has had a normal offseason since the league suspended the season a year ago due to COVID.

The next reason is because of the staggering individual seasons the MVP candidates have been having. After all, how do you explain what Nikola Jokic is doing as a point-center for the Denver Nuggets, or the old-school anchor Joel Embiid has been for the Philadelphia 76ers before he went down with an injury? There’s also the immortal LeBron James, who has continued to fight Father Time to keep the Los Angeles Lakers afloat in the Western Conference without Anthony Davis.

The final reason why this MVP season is confusing, you may ask? It’s because James Harden has arguably looked like the best player on the floor for the past several weeks.

Consider the fact that Harden, after many have said that it would be difficult for him to co-exist with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, has been spectacular in his full-time role as point guard for Brooklyn, evidenced by his 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and three blocks in the Nets’ win against the Detroit Pistons. 

All fears that James would be unable to play “regular basketball'' after playing “Harden-ball” for several seasons in Houston continues to be put to rest after performances like this. The way that Harden has been playing as of late, people have no choice but to let him sit at the MVP discussion table.

Big-time ballers

Forget one big-time baller, would you be interested in five?

A record five players recorded triple-doubles in NBA basketball today. The five are as follows:

  • Julius Randle vs OKC: 26 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo vs WAS: 33 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists
  • Domantas Sabonis vs PHX: 22 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists
  • Russell Westbrook vs MIL: 42 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists
  • James Harden vs DET: 24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

Special mention has to go to Westbrook, the godfather of the modern-era triple-double, as he put up a staggering 42 points in the loss to the Bucks. 

 

What he said

“What I’ve been through the past couple of months, it’s just a blessing to be out on the court playing the game I love.” — Caris LeVert right after making his Indiana Pacers debut. 

LeVert was out for several weeks due to a mass removed from his kidney. In his first game back, he recorded 13 points and seven rebounds to help the Pacers take down the Suns. 

 

Did you see that?

 

I’m not sure which part of this play I loved the most.

Was it PJ Washington, who’s supposed to be a center for the Charlotte Hornets, leading the fast break and going behind the back? Was it his vision to find a wide-open LaMelo Ball in the corner?

Or was it Ball, already one of the most exciting players in the NBA who felt that your average sidestep was too old school, busting out a pirouette spin move to the side to launch a 3-pointer that hit nothing but the bottom of the net?

The Hornets have been must-watch this entire season, and it’s because of plays like this.

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