Pacific Notes: Harden, Leonard, George, Booker, Wiggins, Thompson

Kawhi Leonard‘s absence didn’t hold back the Clippers in Game 1 against the Mavericks, in part because James Harden ramped up his scoring, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN notes. Harden scored 28 points, including 20 in the first half as his team built a 26-point halftime lead en route to a 12-point victory.

“I can score with the best of ’em,” Harden said. “Still can score with the best of ’em. My role for this team is just generating really good shots and making guys’ jobs easier. And then when my number to score is called, then you score the basketball. Obviously, Kawhi is out, so my play-making and my volume is going to go up a little bit more, and took advantage of it.”

Harden will be hitting the free agent market after the season and performances like the one on Sunday should help him land another lucrative contract.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers believe they can more than hold the fort until Leonard’s knee is healthy enough for him to play, Paul George told Janis Carr of the Orange County Register and other media members. “I mean, we still have more than enough,” George said. “Obviously Kawhi puts us well over the top, but we still got more than enough. So, I think we still got experience. We still, like I said we got enough to win games. Obviously, we want Kawhi back when he’s ready, but I still think we have enough confidence to continue to push forward and win games when we need to. We’re going to hold it down until Kawhi comes back. Honestly, he is the piece we do need if we plan on winning it all and getting to where we want to get to. But we’re going to hold it down for him until he’s ready to return and we feel comfortable with where we’re at.”
  • It’s time for the Suns to regroup after a 25-point loss to Minnesota in their first-round series. Devin Booker shot just 5-for-16 from the field and believes his team needs to match the Timberwolves’ physicality, he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “We all just need to adjust to the playoffs, the physicality,” Booker said. “They’re being ultra-physical with me and I had three early fouls and went to the bench. Just trying to find a rhythm from there.”
  • The Warriors are likely to pursue upgrades via the trade market this offseason, with Andrew Wiggins among the players they’ll be willing to deal, according to Marc Stein in his latest Substack post. Stein notes the Warriors made unsuccessful attempts to create a market for Wiggins during the season. Stein also believes Golden State will find common ground with free agent Klay Thompson, though the veteran guard will have other suitors despite his 0-for-10 clunker in the Warriors’ play-in tournament loss.
View Comments (7)