Three things to know: On night of returns Harden rusty, Leonard hits game-winner Ben Simmons targeting Friday vs. Hawks to return from calf strain Suns, Hawks reportedly show interest in Kuzma trade, Wizards see him as cornerstone Magic send Jonathan Isaac to G-League for practice, rehabilitation Antetokounmpo talks about plans for his 28th birthday while holding Simpsons plush


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one) James Harden was rusty Joel Embiid foul, 76ers lose to Rockets in 2OT

Philadelphia picked a soft spot for James Harden’s return on the road against his young and struggling former Houston team, after which he returned home seven straight times.

It was not what Doc Rivers and company imagined.

For example, remember that Harden had a minute limit? Rivers had 38 minutes with him in the double overtime game, throwing him back into the fire in overtime because he had no choice.

Harden made four 3-pointers but was understandably rusty after missing 14 games with a right hamstring strain and he was 0-8 inside the arc. He missed out on an open potential game winner at the end of the first overtime. However, he made a few passes and a couple of shots that reminded everyone what he can do when he gets his feet back and why the 76 needs him.

Combine that with Joel Embiid feasting on the undersized Rockets inside early on, and Sixers fans could see a path to a comfortable victory.

However, the main problem that killed them loomed: Houston was attacking the ring, making fouls and living off the line. The Rockets hit 15 free throws in the first quarter and that trend will continue for most of the night.

The Rockets hung out and hung out, scoring 27 points from Jalen Greenbye Kevin Porter Jr. added 24. And they kept drawing fouls, eventually fouling Joel Embiid in the first overtime. When the Rockets hit a pair of 3-pointers to open up the second OT, they took control and went on to win, 132–123.

Harden’s return should ultimately bolster the bottom 10 76ers offense, but what this team really needs is to get healthy (Tyrese Maxi dropped out of the game with a leg injury) and win several victories. On Friday, they start a seven-game game against the Lakers (not the best time to catch Anthony Davis and company) and it will be a chance to fix the ship. And get out of the level of the game where they are now.

2) Kawhi Leonard looked rusty in his return until the game was on the line

The Clippers followed suit with the 76ers, bringing back their stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both returned to the roster against an injury-plagued and struggling Hornets team. Nice soft landing spot…

It wasn’t as soft as it seemed.

As expected, having played just his sixth game of the year, Leonard looked rusty in his comeback, starting the night 5-for-13 shots, 0-3 from three.

He then hit two last-minute goals to give the Clippers the win.

The first was created by the impressive performance of Paul George, who saved an out-of-bounds ball to Leonard under the basket for a shot that equalized.

Then, after the stoppage, the Clippers got what they wanted, went overboard and let Leonard handle the winning game. It’s a vintage Leonard using his strength to get to the right place and then quietly blending the frame.

If you’re looking for the positives in Los Angeles, the Clippers have shown some resilience and tenacity in winning. Leonard finished with 16 points and George looked sharper with 19 points on 8 of 15 from the floor. Clippers role players stepped up.

The Clippers need their stars to stay healthy and on the court and build chemistry. Traditionally, after 20 games in a season, we know who the team is, but this year the Clippers are the exception to that rule. Their role players and strong defense keep the team afloat (14-11 on the season), but they need to get their stars back to turn around their 29th offensive spot. Then we can see if they can pose a threat to the West or not.

3) Rookie Pacers Andrew Nembhard duels Stephen CurryPacers win

Yes, you read it right.

Bye Benedict Maturin was the Pacers rookie with the most attention (and some early talk of rookie of the year), Andrew Nembhard has shown up lately. On Monday night, he had 31 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and some key shots late to bolster the Pacers’ disappointing 112-102 victory over the Warriors.

FROM Tyrese Haliburton (groin injury), Nembhard — a four-year-old college player from Gonzaga who was drafted 31st overall in last year’s draft — has shown he knows how to manage a team and knock down a 3-pointer (he’s shooting 42.9% from deep this season). .

The Pacers also won because Stephen Curry was out of his element: 12 points on 3 of 17 shots overall and 2 of 10 of 3 shots. game – Halliburton, Miles Turner, Chris Duarte, TJ McConnell, Daniel Theis, James Johnson – as well as thought they would come to victory. Do it against NBA players and you will pay the price.

Because guys like Andrew Nembhard can play to their fullest.

BONUS THINGS TO KNOW: Today Giannis Antetokounmpo28 years from the date of birth. What does he want? What are his plans? And why is he holding a post-match press session with Homer J. Simpson? There are many questions.

Ben Simmons missed the Nets’ last three games with knee pain related to a left calf sprain, and he also won’t be out on Wednesday when Brooklyn faces Charlotte.

However, he plans to return on Friday (December 9) against the Hawks.

Simmons was adjusting to his new role in Brooklyn. In Philadelphia, he was a ball point guard. Joel Embiid (at least at first), but in Brooklyn, the ball had to be in the hands Kevin Duran as well as Kyrie Irving in a half court. Simmons is more of a five-man smallball player and is asked to be aggressive and attack when he gets the ball, rather than throwing jumpers and pushing a rock in transition. It took some time for Simmons to settle into that space, but he seemed to succeed in games against Philadelphia (11 points, 11 assists), Toronto (14 points, 6 assists) and Indiana (20 points). . Then the injuries followed.

Brooklyn is 13-12 with an average offense and defense this season. While there are doubts about the ceiling for this team, it has a level of talent that should be better than this record, it has just been beset by injuries, controversies that saw Kyrie Irving miss time and a change in coach. The Nets haven’t reached their success yet.

But they could have a clean injury record on Friday night and maybe that could be the start for this team.

Kyle Kuzma was the kind of quality two-way role player the Lakers needed. LeBron James as well as Anthony Davis to win a 2020 NBA title (the type of player the Lakers would love to have now).

In Washington, his role has risen – he scores 20 points per game (to be exact, 20.6 points per game this season), which plays a key role in forming an attack, and not just playing with the stars Bradley Beal as well as Kristaps Porzingis. As he told Shams Charania of The Athletic:

“As soon as I was traded, I was ready for more,” Kuzma told The Athletic.

That was enough to draw the attention of several teams looking for a trade, adds Charania. However, Wizards are not necessarily interested in moving on.

According to league sources, several teams such as the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns have expressed trading interest in Kuzma. In addition, the Wizards have shown interest in the Hawks forward. John Collinsand the parties were seriously discussing a potential deal in the off-season, league sources added…

However, the Wizards front office, led by general manager Tommy Sheppard, has made it clear that they see Kuzma as a cornerstone…