NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: The West keeps streaking

Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA results, March 7, 2018

Philadelphia 76ers 128 – Charlotte Hornets 114

Toronto Raptors 106 – Atlanta Hawks 90

Washington Wizards 117 – Miami Heat 113

Houston Rockets 122 – OKC Thunder 112

Dallas Mavericks 118 – Denver Nuggets 107

Portland Trail Blazers 111 – New York Knicks 88

Golden State Warriors 114 – Brookyln Nets 101

New Orleans Pelicans 121 – LA Clippers 116

Five things that happened in the NBA today

The top four teams in the West (and the top team in the East) continue their winning streaks of five games or more

1. The Houston Rockets won their 16th straight game

There’s no other way to put it. The Houston Rockets are rolling right now. In previous sections of the season, they’ve had to rely on the heroic performances of either James Harden or Chris Paul to deliver the Ws. Now that Paul and Harden are at full strength the team is humming. Their win against the OKC Thunder ties the longest winning streak of any team this season at 16 games. This is also the second-longest winning streak of the franchise.

The Rockets took a double-digit lead in the first half thanks to the efforts of Harden and Paul. The two teamed up to run the Houston offense that finished the game with seven players in double-digits. Harden had 23 points and a team-high 11 assists while Pail led the team with 25 points.

OKC was able to cut the lead down to three points at the start of the third quarter but Houston went on a quick 8-0 run to establish order. They cruised to the win from that point on. The Rockets stay on top of the NBA at 50-13. But they’re only half a game in the lead because…

2. The Golden State Warriors won their 6th straight game

Early in the game, it looked like the Golden State Warriors would run away with the win over the Brooklyn Nets. They went on one of their patented world-destroying runs as they turned a 14-10 deficit into a 35-14 advantage.

But in the second quarter, the Warriors’ ammo ran out as they only mustered 13 points. That allowed the Nets to take 53-48 halftime lead and stick with the Warriors for much of the third quarter. Unfortunately for them, Golden Stat found their offense in the final period and pulled away for a comfortable win.

Steph Curry came back from an ankle injury to lead the Warriors to the win. He didn’t look bothered by the tweaked ankle as he erupted for 34 points and six treys in the win.

The Warriors keep in step with the Rockets as they’re only half a game back in the standings.

3. The Portland Trail Blazers won their 8th straight game

IF February belonged to Anthony Davis, as the Brow vaulted into the MVP discussion, then Damian Lillard is making an early case of owning March. After sinking the Lakers with an incredible fourth quarter run, Lillard continues his hot shooting against the New York Knicks.

He dropped 37 points and eight three-pointers made on the hapless Knicks to lead the Blazers to their eighth straight win.

If the Blazers can keep hanging with the big boys at the top of the west and Lillard can have more incendiary nights like this, then maybe he vaults into the MVP discussion as well.

4. The New Orleans Pelicans won their 9th straight game

Speaking of MVPs, Anthony Davis has another monster game to add to his resume. This time around, the numbers arent’ alone to validate this performance. Davis left the game in considerable pain after colliding with DeAndre Jordan in the second quarter of their game against the LA Clippers.

But Davis returned in the second half and dominated to lead the Pelicans to their ninth straight win. He finished the game with 41 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

He had a lot of help from Jrue Holiday who had 19 points and 17 assists.

The Pelicans stay at solo fourth place, a half a game ahead of the always-dangerous San Antonio Spurs.

5. The Toronto Raptors win their 5th straight game

Out in the East, the Toronto Raptors continue to pace the conference. They won their fifth straight game with an easy victory over the Atlanta Hawks. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 25 points and four assists.

The Raptors are now a full two games ahead of the Celtics for the best record in the East.

Did an NBA superstar get ejected today?

MKG Got ejected for getting two technical fouls six seconds apart.

But the bigger story of the day was how Kevin Love came out with an honest piece about mental health in the Player’s Tribune today. The reflection entitled Everyone Is Going Through Something details his panic attack during a game and the steps he took to address his feelings about it afterwards.

Here’s an excerpt:

After halftime, it all hit the fan. Coach Lue called a timeout in the third quarter. When I got to the bench, I felt my heart racing faster than usual. Then I was having trouble catching my breath. It’s hard to describe, but everything was spinning, like my brain was trying to climb out of my head. The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk. I remember our assistant coach yelling something about a defensive set. I nodded, but I didn’t hear much of what he said. By that point, I was freaking out. When I got up to walk out of the huddle, I knew I couldn’t reenter the game — like, literally couldn’t do it physically.

Photo from Getty Images

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