The Daily Blast – February 4, 2013

Stat Sheet Stuffer – James Harden put up his first career triple-double on Saturday night against the Bobcats. He had 21 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, one block and one steal. That’s a legit triple-double, as opposed to the JaVale variety. Fortunately, someone distilled every one of his buckets, boards and dimes into one video.

Stay classy, YouTube.

After the break: a breakdown of the Beard’s postgame interview, Patrick Patterson owns the 4th, and PED’s might be everywhere.

Both Teams Played Hard(en) – I was simultaneously amused and infuriated watching Harden’s post game exchange with reporters on Saturday night. Why? Because the clear headline from this virtually meaningless mid-season contest (aside from MKG’s injury) is that a rising star just earned his first career triple double. It takes the press corps five questions to get there. Here’s my paraphrase of the video:

Q1: “How about that Patrick Patterson?” A: “Patrick did a great job.”

Q2: “What was working so well for the offense?” A: “Guys are making shots and fighting hard.”

Q3: “What does it say about this team that you withstood a run from the Bobcats?” A: “We gave them confidence when we got stagnant in the third quarter.” (Note: the real answer should be, “Nothing.” Harden is too polite. Hold that thought.)

Q4: “How hard is it to focus when you see a player go down like MKG did tonight?” A: “It’s tough.”

Q5: “Does the triple double mean anything to you?” A: (Direct quote) “Yeah! It means a lot to me! It’s my first time ever.”

Harden is too polite to shout “duh!” in that reporter’s face, but the way he chuckles during his answer gets the point across. When an athlete hits one of the most difficult single-game achievements in pro sports, he’s earned the right to skip the inane drivel of praising his teammates and respecting his opponent and go straight to talking about how awesome he was that night–end of story.

PPatt – For all you Patrick Patterson fans out there, here are all 14 of his fourth quarter points on Saturday.

He Went There – Bill Simmons addressed performance enhancing drugs in an unusually serious column this weekend. I highly suggest carving out 10-15 minutes to read it. Here’s one provocative NBA-related clip:

NBA players get tested up to four times during the course of a season. The fourth time can happen at any point from October to June, but once it happens, that’s it. So if your fourth test occurs after your 71st game, you’re clear the rest of the way. It’s a running joke within NBA circles, something of a get-out-of-jail-free card: Once you pee in that fourth cup, you’re good to go. Put whatever you want into your body. Feel like smoking enough weed to make Harold and Kumar blush? Knock yourself out. Feel like replacing your blood with cleaner blood so you have more endurance for the playoffs? Knock yourself out. Feel like starting a testosterone cycle because you might have to play 25 grueling playoff games over the next 10 weeks? Knock yourself out. Remember how competitive these guys are. What would they do for an edge? How far would they go? And why are we giving them the choice?

Punk’d -  Disclaimer: this does not relate to the Rockets in any way, but if you want to see Caron Butler fake a high-five to Jonas Valanciunas in order to steal the ball and pad his stats at the last second, click here. I love this game.

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