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The league's newest old guy (A Min/Hou gamewrap)

The Wolves become just the latest stepping stone for James Harden's rise to super-beard-dom

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love has been out-beardeded.

Chris Webber put it perfectly on TNT: James Harden has an old man's game. It's not just the look, although The Beard certainly doesn't deter from the impression. In his first pro season away from Oklahoma, Harden has put to rest any notion that he rode the coattails of Westbrook and Durant. If anything (at least if you go by close fourth quarters), they were riding his.

Houston set out this year to get Dwight Howard. They failed, and pretty spectacularly as well, I might add. The Rockets spent the latter half of the '11-12 season and all of last summer converting everyone not named Chandler Parsons into 'future considerations' of some sort. Draft night, when the Rockets got Jeremy Lamb and Royce White, Kevin McHale's only real comment was 'Gosh, I wish we had gotten someone who could really help us out."

Well, White might be AWOL, but Lamb became part of a trade package that landed Harden in Houston. A consolation prize that is fast becoming first place. Gandalf is averaging 25-5-5 (and actually shooting better this year than last) and driving what would otherwise be a pretty desolate offense.

As for the Wolves....well, anytime you shoot a collective 38%, you're going to have a hard time winning games. Omar Asik has proven his worth as a defensive anchor, and did so again tonight. Pekovic and Love shot a combined 4-21, scoring just 9 total points. Of the starting 5, only the Serbian Unicorn was able to keep his head above water. The bench made a valiant effort of it...particularly Dante Cunningham, who once again delivered in a rainstorm. But the Puppy's advantage tonight needed to come from the starting paint players, and that clearly fell through on them.

Very little else can be said other than that James Harden is destined for greatness. The kind that gets your name on a shiny little plaque in Springfield. And a sponsorship from Gillette (or American Loggers. Really just depends...) There is an art form to the way the best basketball players play the game of basketball, and Harden is an artist; he let's the game come to him in a way where he can effortlessly dominate it.

A couple years ago, we (sort of) joked about the possibility of trading Love for Harden and Serge Ibaka. It was funny then. It's not very funny now.

  • What throws off your shot more? A bad hand or a bad eye?
  • I think anyone actually watching the game could sense trouble brewing when Pekovic started 0-4 and looked legitimately intimidated by Asik.
  • I can see why Parsons won the island. He's got a mini-KG/Kirilenko/Detlef Schremf sort of style. I thought Houston traded the better player away in Chase Budinger, but Parsons in McHale's system is turning into a revelation.
  • PS Chase Budinger: get healthy soon
  • Kirilenko probably feels like he just won a trip to Disneyland simply by not fouling out tonight (or just not fouling at all)
  • Jeremy Lin needs to be in a straight pick-and-roll system. Maybe the Lakers will trade Dwight Howard for him.
  • Corey Brewer scored 27 points tonight. He shot 6-7 from three. I feel like I should have something clever to say about that but all I can think of right now is "............"
  • Humor, where have you gone?
  • And Jared Dudley? 36 points. 5-8 from three. And Phoenix still lost to a vintage Jason Kidd performance (23-6-8)
  • Barea needs a nickname. Something that does his kamikaziness justice.
  • The Glen Taylor hug and standing ovation McHale got tonight is what Christmas is all about.
  • Is it too late to reconsider Love for Harden/Ibaka...?

No seriously, is it? No? Yes? Just sayin'....