Line of the Night: 3.4.14

Kawhi Leonard was on pace for a 5x5 game last night, but was pulled out of the game early once the Spurs build up a lead.

Kawhi Leonard was on pace for a 5×5 game last night, but was pulled out of the game early once the Spurs build up a lead.

After posting 6 consecutive games with 30 or more points, and going off for a career-high 61 points, LeBron James looked almost human last night as he posted a relatively meager 22 points.  Though James had a solid game, the Heat were not able to top the Rockets.  James Harden and Dwight Howard both posted 20/10 games for Houston.  Kawhie Leonard might have been able to posted a 5X5 last night, but Greg Popovich brought the bench out early to mop up the floor with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Spurs won the game: 122-101.  Spencer Hawes posted a 20/10 game with only 9 field-goal attempts.  Paul George had a 20/10 game, but the Pacers were unable to top the Golden State Warriors as Klay Thompson hit a game-winning shot in the winding seconds of regulation.  The Pelicans and Lakers decided not to play defense all night as they combined for 257 points in regulation, with the Pelicans coming out on top.  Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans both came away with 20/10 games for the Pelicans, and Paul Gasol did the same for the Lakers, posting a game-high 29 points.  The Thunder hosted the 76ers and were kind enough to put on a show for the visitors, giving them a lesson on how to blow out an opponent.  The Thunder won by over 30 points, and Scott Brooks too his starters out early, but somehow Kevin Durant still managed to posted 42 points for the tenth time this season (he leads all players in 40 points games).  Durant did not play in the 4th quarter.  Not to be entirely outdone by his teammate, Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double in less than 21 minutes of playing time.  And finally, the Clippers downed the Suns; Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes and DeAndre Jordan each had solid all-around games, dropping numbers in each of the stat columns. 

Kevin Durant scored 41 points in 3 quarters.

Kevin Durant scored 41 points in 3 quarters.

When deciding Line of the Night, I seldom give credence to how many minutes a player logged.  If somebody with more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks get more than somebody else that played a fewer minutes, I’ll go with them even if the per-minute averages of the other player are slightly better.  Last night is an exception.  Looking strictly at the totals, Kevin Durant is the clear choice for Line of the night.  Pau Gasol was the next highest scorer and he posted 13 fewer points than Durant.  But Russell Westbrook’s triple double in less than 21 minutes of play is unbelievable.  Had Westbrook received starting minutes and maintained his pace, he would have recorded a 20x20x20 game, an accomplishment that has not happened in any of the last 4 decades (it is rumoured that both Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson have accomplished this, but the box scores are not always available to corroborate such rumours).  Scott Brooks did the right thing for the long-term success of the team to pull Westbrook and Durant out early with the game already won, but still, as a fan, part of me wanted to see what these two could have pulled off.  I’m forced to choose between a triple-double in 20 minutes, and 40 points in three quarters, and I cannot choose, so both players will share Line of the Night honours.   

To see how the readers at ProSportsDaily voted, go here, and cast your own vote.  And be sure to follow me on Twitter @JasonJHorn. 

Top Performances:

Russell Westbrook posted  a triple-double in less than 21 minutes.

Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double in less than 21 minutes.

Dwight Howard: 22 points (8/13), 16 rebounds, 1 assist

Pau Gaols: 29 points (10/15), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block

P. J. Tuckers: 18 points (8/11), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

Dwyane Wade: 24 points (8/15), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals

James Harden: 21 points (9/15), 11 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal

Anthony Davis: 28 points (10/16), 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block

Blake Griffin: 22 points (9/18), 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

Russell Westbrook: 13 points (4/9), 14 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals

Matt Barnes: 28 points (12/17), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Tyreke Evans: 24 points (8/17), 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

Paul Georege: 27 points (8/23), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Spender Hawes: 20 points (7/9), 13 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Kevin Durant: 42 points (14/20), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

DeAndre Jordan: 10 points (4/8), 17 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist

Kawhi Leonard: 18 points (7/10), 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 3 assists

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