NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: The Beard was cooking tonight

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets

NBA results, November 6, 2017

Atlanta Hawks 117 – Cleveland Cavaliers 115

Miami Heat 104 – LA Clippers 101

Boston Celtics 104 – Orlando Magic 88

Washington Wizards 107 – Toronto Raptors 96

Houston Rockets 137 – Utah Jazz 110

San Antonio Spurs 112 – Phoenix Suns 95

New York Knicks 108 – Indiana Pacers 101

Minnesota Timberwolves 112 – Charlotte Hornets 94

Portland Trail Blazers 103 – Oklahoma City Thunder 99

LA Lakers 107 – Memphis Grizzlies 102

Five things that happened in the NBA today

1. James Harden lit up the Jazz

James Harden was cooking tonight. A few days after LeBron James dropped 57, Harden replicates the feat with 56 points. Fifty six. Five. Six. That’s a number just as absurd as LeBron’s.

But Harden’s 56 was more impressive because of two additional statistical facts. Besides the 56 points, he also had 13 assists and scored all of his points at a 76% clip. Harden was a perfect 8/8 in the first quarter and continued to torch a very good defensive team in the Utah Jazz throughout the game.

He joins an elite group that’s put up 50+ points on 75% shooting with 10 assists. In fact, there’s only two of them in that group.

The Beard accounted for 91 of his team’s 137 points. He basically manufactured 66% of his teams output in their win against the Jazz. Harden was on fire so his team decided to douse him in their post game interview.

James Harden was literally Rocket fuel tonight.

2. The Legend of Lordzingis continues to grow

Kristaps Porzingis goes by many names. Unicorn, Latvian Gangbanger but probably the most apt is Lordzingis. Ever since Melo left New York, Kristaps has been left to rule the Big Apple. His reign got off to a shaky start with three losses. But that wasn’t a surprise to many. A lot of people had the Knicks as a rebuilding team that would rack up losses this season.

But Porzingis isn’t playing to that narrative. He’s led the Knicks to five wins in their last six games. In that stretch he’s been putting up MVP numbers (32.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks).

Their latest win against the Indiana Pacers just added to the lore. The Knicks were down by 17 points midway through the third quarter. Porzingis led a crazy Knicks comeback in the final 13:26 of the game. He scored 22 points in that stretch and finished with 40 points. More importantly, New York won their fifth game in nine outings to get to above .500.

Porzingis was doing crazy things in the game. He was snatching alley-oop passes from outer space:

He was dishing off to shooters:

And he was also demoralizing the hell out of his opponents:

Remember the name. It’s Kristaps Porzingis, scorer of 40, blocker of shots, ruler of the new Kickstape, Latvian Gangbanger and the great hope of New York.

3. OKC continues to struggle

The Thunder can’t seem to get it together. They’ve now lost back-to-back games and have fallen below .500. After starting the season with so much promise, they’ve now fallen flat on their faces in the past few games.

They had a terrible collapse against the Boston Celtics in the game before and couldn’t execute in the clutch against the Portland Trail Blazers. Their composure was put to the test and they failed miserably.

Carmelo Anthony was ejected for a flagrant foul when he stretched out his arms in an attempt to hit Jusuf Nurkic in this drive.

Then the Thunder gets hit with Dame Time for the dagger.

To further rub salt on the wound, the Trail Blazers big three without the branding outplays the OK3 or the Thunder’s Big Three (with the branding).

Maybe the Thunder can borrow the panic button from the Cavs? 4. Celtics are the best team in the NBA The last time the Celtics were the best team in the league was 2009.

Back then, Kyrie Irving was still a High School Senior, Al Horford was still in the Hawks and Brad Stevens was still coaching Gordon Hayward in Butler.

The 2017 Celtics have won eight straight games after dropping their first two. They’re winning with the same share the wealth, defense-first mentality that the 2009 team had. In their latest win they held the Magic to just 88 points and had six players in double figures.

With the Cavaliers struggling, it seems like the Celtics have taken over as the top dog in the East.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have won five straight games. Not that anyone outside of Minnesota has noticed. They’re now at 7-3, just behind the Houston Rockets in the West.

The Timberwolves have slowly figured it out and have gotten big games from their superstars. Jummy Butler and Andrew Wiggins are hitting clutch shots while Karl-Anthony Towns is dominating offensively. Their latest win was a total team effort against the Charlotte Hornets.

Just like Wolves, Minnesota has is stealthily one of the best teams in the NBA.

Did an NBA jersey rip today?

This has been an epidemic throughout the league since the preseason. It started off as something funny. Now it’s becoming increasingly noteworthy. So, The Daily Dribble will highlight if an NBA jersey has ripped.

For today, yes, a jersey did rip. It was Kevin Love who messed around with his jersey and ripped the collar as he was putting it back on.

Photo from Getty Images

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