Breakfast Special: The Quest for 3,000 Points

In the entire history of NBA basketball, only two men have scored 3,000 points in a season.

One is Wilt Chamberlain (who scored a ludicrous and unbreakable 4,029 points in 1961-62 and topped the 3,000 mark three years in a row from 1961 to ’63). The other is Michael Jordan (3,041 points, 1986-87.)

And while it is vanishingly unlikely that James Harden will get there (you’d have to average 36.6 points a game and play all 82), he might get as close as anyone has since Kobe Bryant scored 2,832 points in 2005-06, seventh all-time and the most by anyone not named Michael or Wilt in NBA history.

Harden has missed three games, but he’s averaging 34.8 points per after going bonkers against Memphis and scoring 57 points in the Rockets’ 112-94 win over the Grizzlies at home.

If he plays the rest of the games this year and keeps up that scoring average, he’ll end up with 2,749.

Even if he played all 82 at that clip, he’d land at 2,853, just seven three-pointers better than Kobe and still over a game’s worth of total team points shy of 3,000.

Scoring 3,000 points in a season will never happen again, but that won’t stop Harden from trying.

Speaking of the Rockets-Grizzlies game, Memphis shot 50.7 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three…and only scored 94 points.

How? Well, they committed 24 turnovers, for one thing. They shot just 12-of-22 from the line for another. But on the bright side, they assisted on 31 of their 36 makes. And the game was played at a relatively slow 96.1 pace (what a world we live in where 96.1 possessions is considered slow!)

Houston committed just 13 turnovers, shot 20-of-22 from the field, and had Harden. That’s why they had a 116.6 offensive rating (and 97.8 defensive rating) in this one.

Feast your eyes on Harden’s monster game:

This Is What “Upstaged” Means

Anthony Davis scored 46 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as the New Orleans Pelicans marched into Staples Center and stole one from the Los Angeles Clippers 121-117.

Davis, who is scoring 29.4 points per game and posting a 31.5 PER, actually lost ground to Harden in the scoring race.

The NBA has gone mad, and madness is fun.

Davis shot 16-of-34, made all 12 of his free throws, and powered a solid overall team performance that saw New Orleans overcome some terrible shooting (43.8 percent as a team, including a putrid 8-of-24 from Jrue Holiday) and weather some amazing shooting from the Clippers (who made 18-of-36 from three) to get the win.

How, you ask? Turnovers. New Orleans committed just six. The Clippers gave it away 16 times.

Throw in a 15-8 offensive rebounding advantage and boom, you give any team 17 extra possessions and what should’ve been a 15-point loss (assuming a typical Offensive Rating on those possessions) turned into a four-point win.

The Triumph of Tony Parker

Tony Parker and San Antonio go together like tacos and Tuesday.

So it was just plain jarring to see Parker at AT&T Center in a Spurs game…wearing a Charlotte Hornets uniform.

Even stranger in its own way was the Spurs playing the Hornets close before utterly collapsing in the fourth quarter and losing 106-91.

Parker had just eight points (on 4-of-12) off the bench in a stinker, somewhat spoiling the moment.

Kemba Walker, on the other hand, scored 33 points on 12-of-27 to lead the way for the ultimate makes-no-sense team that wins big, loses close, and sucks.

Lightning Round!

The Celtics continue to be a complete mess, as they are now mired in fifth place, 2.5 games back of Philadelphia for fourth but just three games up on Miami in the “Easy First-Round Playoff Outs” tier.

Boston went into Brooklyn and got smacked by the Nets 109-102, a 24-point deficit after three quarters simply too much to overcome despite a 36-19 fourth-quarter scoring advantage.

D’Angelo Russell powered the win for the team Danny Ainge set back half a decade, a sweet bit of revenge for Nets fans; if they don’t have beef with Boston, they’re not paying attention. Russell had 34 points to lead all scorers in the win.

Jayson Tatum had 34 of his own to tie for that lead, and who doesn’t love a good duel in a highlight reel?

Don’t look now, but the Utah Jazz are hitting all the high notes, as they beat the collapsing Detroit Pistons 100-94 to move to 24-21 on the season and officially knock the Lakers out of the top 8 in the West.

Rudy Gobert made Andre Drummond look like a little sister trying to ball with big brother, as the Pistons’ vaunted rebounding ace got flat-out abused on the boards.

Gobert had 25 rebounds, 22 of them on the defensive end, added 18 points, and claimed man of the match as the Jazz just keep winning:

And finally, speaking of teams trying to outshine the Lakers, the Sacramento Kings got up to 23-21 with a home win of their own, handing Portland a 115-107 result to move into a tie for ninth just half a game back of Utah and the top eight.

Sacramento had six guys in double figures and all ten guys who played scored at least four points.

Portland had 35 from Damian Lillard and a fat bag of nothing from everyone else.

Buddy Hield (19 points on 7-of-10 shooting plus seven rebounds) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (18 points on 8-of-10) led the scoring for Sacramento, while Marvin Bagley came off the bench and notched 13 points and 11 rebounds of his own.

Give it up for Buddy, your man of the match:

Pacers Tuesday coming later, featuring a discussion of Bojan Bogdanovic, J.J. Redick, and national media bias. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!