Best Backcourt? Harden, Paul Making Case It’s In Houston

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Author

The talk has stretched from coast to coast and all the best way as much as Canada.

On the subject of the NBA’s greatest backcourt, Golden State, Portland, Washington and Toronto can all make an excellent case.

But when James Harden and Chris Paul maintain this up, the reply goes to be deep within the coronary heart of Texas.

The All-Star guards have the Houston Rockets on prime of the Western Convention with a sixteen-four document, rolling to 5 straight victories heading into their recreation Wednesday towards Indiana.

“We simply hoop,” Paul stated. “We spent plenty of actually good time with one another in the summertime, you already know what I imply, to attempt to construct a few of that chemistry.

“Now we simply play.”

Harden leads the NBA with 31.6 factors per recreation and his 9.eight assists per night time additionally lead the league — however solely as a result of Paul isn’t eligible. He’s averaging 10.eight assists, however hasn’t performed sufficient video games to qualify due to a knee damage.

He’s been terrific within the six video games he has performed, all Rockets wins. After a 14-help, no-turnover night time in a victory over Brooklyn on Monday, Paul not solely has the most effective help-to-turnover ratio within the league, but in addition has almost twice as many steals (thirteen) as turnovers (7) for the season.

Regardless of their resumes, there have been questions on how the tandem would work when the Rockets acquired Paul from the Clippers over the summer time. Harden flourished final season when Mike D’Antoni moved him to level guard, which is Paul’s place.

There’s no drawback but, as Harden has picked up proper the place he left off when he was runner-as much as Russell Westbrook for MVP honors final season. He has scored 20 or extra in all 20 video games to open a season, becoming a member of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the one gamers to try this during the last 10 seasons.

The Rockets solely just lately obtained Paul again from his lengthy layoff after their season-opening victory at Golden State, so issues might get even higher when Mike D’Antoni figures out how greatest to most his dynamite duo.

“So we’ll see precisely how we would like the rotations to go because it goes on,” D’Antoni stated, “however I’d also have a onerous time messing this up.”

Marc Gasol couldn’t get off the bench within the fourth quarter of his final recreation in what turned David Fizdale’s ultimate act as Memphis coach.

When Gasol will get again on the ground Wednesday, will probably be towards his brother.

Marc and older brother Pau will face one another in San Antonio, making the Gasol matchup the…

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