Players of the week: DeMar DeRozan & James Harden

The Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week.

DeRozan paced the league in scoring (33.3 ppg) and added 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals as the Raptors went 3-0 for the week, extending their winning streak to five and clinching a playoff berth for the fourth straight season.

Harden led the Rockets to a 3-0 record for the week, averaging 33.0 points, 13.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.00 steals while shooting 48.5% from the floor.  He had at least 20 points and 10 assists in all three games for the week and has done so 46 times this season.

The tandem of prolific guards have been rewarded for their work over the course of the last seven days from Monday, March 20 through Sunday, March 26. It is also worth noting that both the Raptors and Rockets are headed to the postseason, thanks mostly to the play of DeRozan and Harden.

The 27-year-old DeRozan has made 66 appearances for the Raptors this season en route to 35.4 minutes per game. During that span, the veteran two-guard has averaged what would be a new single-season career-high 27.1 points per outing. He has also managed 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals per contest in 2016-2017..

On the other hand, another 27-year-old in Harden most recently led the Rockets to a perfect 3-0 record last week while averaging 33 points, 13.3 assists and 6.3 rebounds. Harden notably recorded at least 20 points and 10 assists in all three games during the latest week-long stretch and has now done so a whopping 46 times this season.

In 2016-2017, the first-year point guard is currently averaging 29.4 points, 11.3 assists and an even eight rebounds per game. Over the course of his 73 appearances thus far, Harden has averaged 36.5 minutes per contest as well.

 

Dirk Nowitzki earns and joins 30,000-point club

pic via foxsports

pic via foxsports

If I were to ask you to name me your top 20 NBA players of all time, you would probably say 

Jordan, Kareem, Bird, Magic, Oscar, Wilt, Kobe, Bill Russell, Duncan, Shaq: Those ten are the ones that would leap out for a lot of fans. Others might toss in LeBron, Barkley, Hakeem, Moses, Garnett, Stockton, Malone. Historians of the game will make sure to include West, Baylor, Dr. J, Pettit, Havlicek.  

But outside of the Dallas area, how many people are putting Dirk Nowitzki on that list?

Forward Dirk Nowitzki on Tuesday became the sixth player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain on the list.

It didn't take long for the NBA to acknowledge Nowitzki's milestone, which he achieved with a familiar face-up jumper during a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

There couldn’t have been a better way for Dirk to score his 30,000th point. 

“You look at the guys ahead of him. They're all gifted athletically in some amazing way. That's not Dirk. He made it through effort. And then when he got knocked down, he got up, he made it through effort, he worked harder and harder and harder. That's what makes him special."

Nowitzki scored all 25 of his points during the first half of the Mavericks’ 122-111 victory over the Lakers.

Nowitzki, a virtual lock to one day join the Hall of Fame, garnered compliments from those already enshrined there. The Mavericks also published a tribute video that included messages from fellow German athletes and the NBA released a statement from commissioner Adam Silver. Everyone praised and applauded him. 

The atmosphere, the 30K t-shirts that awaited fans in every seat, the buzz leading to his historic basket, and the instant explosion of noise were just the start of a nightlong celebration of the milestone and Nowitzki’s career.

“Obviously every milestone makes you reflect a little bit, reflect on people who helped you, who have been with you all this way, from all the coaches to Cuban and all the teammates I had and fans who went with me through thick and thin,” Nowitzki said.

Not only that, he influenced players in the moment. When Kobe Bryant decided he needed to add a post-up game to his arsenal late in his career, and started draining all those fall-away 17-footers, where do you think he got that move? That was Dirk. It was all Dirk. He showed NBA players new ways to create shots, and shot it better than anyone. His work ethic in crafting a shooting motion became the norm. He showed guys how it was done.

“It's been an amazing ride and hopefully a couple more baskets coming and then it's time to ride off into the sunset."

What an amazing moment...Meanwhile Carmelo Anthony plans on sticking around long enough to make a run at the same exclusive club that welcomed Dirk Nowitzki this week.

Anthony revealed on Wednesday that his goal is to play 20 NBA seasons before calling it a career. Whether he spends his twilight years with the Knicks is debatable, but if Anthony plays six more years he could challenge the 30,000-point barrier that Nowitzki eclipsed against the Lakers on Tuesday.

"That's the goal," said Anthony, who is currently in his 14th season. "I would love to get 20 in. I would love (to play) six, seven (years). I could do 20. I could do 20. I think I do a great job of taking care of my body. I'm going to continue doing that. Lord willing, no injuries, no severe injuries, I could see myself going for 20."

WATCH: Vince Carter's historic Dunk 17 years later

On January 26th, Vince Carter became the oldest active NBA player in the game today.  He's evolved from being a high flying human highlight reel to a humble role player.  Through it all, his passion has kept him in the game for 19 incredible seasons. 

The young T-Mac gave us goosebumps, but Vinsanity set the trend for our generation. For those who doubt, witnesses can show you why. 

Green makes 4 point triple-double NBA History.. Wait what?!

pic via scout.com

pic via scout.com

Draymond Green’s triple-double was like no other in N.B.A history.

Green scored only 4 points but finished with 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals as the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 122-107, on Friday night.

His greatest asset is his defensive instincts, a trait no faulty contacts could hinder. Green was at his do-everything best while others handled the scoring load. In powering the Warriors to their first win over Memphis in three tries this season, he became the first NBA player ever to record a triple-double without double-digit points

“That’s as dominant a performance as I’ve ever seen from someone who scored four points,” head coach Steve Kerr said.

On a team stocked with elite scorers, Green is content to facilitate and defend. His ability to guard all five positions affords Kerr extreme flexibility with his lineups. Green is so proficient at everything other than making shots that he recently was tabbed for his second straight All-Star Game despite averaging 10.7 points per game.

"I didn't know I was that close to a triple-double," Green said. "I just try to play the game the right way and try to impact the game however I can. But it's definitely something you can appreciate. Being the only one in something, or being up there with the greats in something, I think is pretty amazing."

His 10 steals, seven of which came before halftime Friday, broke the franchise record of nine shared by Rick Barry and Micheal Ray Richardson. They fell one shy of Kendall Gill’s NBA record set in 1999. The last time a player had 10 thefts in a game was eight years ago, when Portland’s Brandon Roy did it in a game against Washington.

“Anytime you can be the only one in the NBA for something good, I think it’s amazing,” Green said. “I didn’t even know the entire game that I was even that close to a triple-double. I just try to play the game the right way and make an impact any way I can.”

Green guarded positions 2 through 5. He was a shutdown beast.

"Draymond dominated the game," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We had a lot of great individual performances ... but that's as dominant of a performance as I've ever seen from somebody who scored four points."