James Harden, Damian Lillard named NBA Players of Week

The NBA announced today that Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week and Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 21.

The honor is Harden’s second as a Net and the 26th Player of the Week award of his career.

Harden led Brooklyn to a perfect 4-0 week, registering averages of 31.8 points on 55.0 percent shooting from the field, 48.6 percent shooting from 3-point range and 80.8 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 9.0 rebounds, 10.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 37.4 minutes per game. He notched four double-doubles (tied for the most in the Eastern Conference for the week), including one triple-double, and ranked second in the East in assists per game, sixth in points per game and was one of just two players in the East to average 30.0 or more points and 10.0 or more assists. Harden began the week by recording his fifth triple-double as a Net (tied for the second-most in franchise history) with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists in 35 minutes in a 136-125 victory at Sacramento on Feb. 15. He followed up that performance by tallying 38 points (his most as a Net), seven rebounds and 11 assists in 37 minutes on Feb. 16 at Phoenix, as Brooklyn erased a 24-point deficit, capped by Harden’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 31.4 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, to earn a 128-124 victory over the Suns. Harden totaled 23 points, five rebounds and 11 assists in 38 minutes in a 109-98 road win over the L.A. Lakers on Feb. 18, and rounded out the week by posting 37 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in 41 minutes in a road victory over the L.A. Clippers on Feb. 21. The four straight wins propelled Brooklyn to a 5-0 record on its West Coast trip, representing the longest undefeated road trip in franchise history. Brooklyn is 13-5 in games Harden has appeared in this season and is currently a half-game back of Philadelphia for first place in the East.

Harden is one of 27 players in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honors and one of two this season, joining Kevin Durant, who captured the award on Jan. 18. Harden is the first Net to earn Player of the Week honors twice in the same season since Brook Lopez in the 2014-15 season.

In his 12th NBA season, Harden has appeared in 26 games this season, including 18 with Brooklyn. In those 18 games as a Net, he’s registered averages of 24.9 points on 50.2 percent shooting from the field, 41.0 percent shooting from 3-point range and 87.8 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 8.3 rebounds, a league-leading 11.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 38.4 minutes per contest.

The Trail Blazers, who have won six of their last seven games, went 2-1 on the week with Lillard posting averages of 36.3 points (43.4% FG, 40.4% 3-PT, 94.7% FT), 5.7 rebounds, 12.7 assists and 1.33 steals. He led the league in scoring for the week and ranked second in assists.

This marks the second time this season and 11th time in his career that Lillard has been named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week. His 11 Player of the Week honors are the most in franchise history (Drexler – 10).

Lillard began the week with 31 points (12-25 FG, 5-14 3-PT, 2-3 FT), seven rebounds and 10 assists at Oklahoma City on February 16. Portland trailed the Thunder by five points with 4:48 remaining in the fourth quarter before closing the game on an 18-2 run that featured Lillard making four three-pointers and assisting on two others. On February 17 in New Orleans, Lillard scored 43 points (14-28 FG, 7-16 3-PT, 8-8 FT) while matching his career high of 16 assists. With 16.5 seconds remaining, Lillard completed a three-point play on a driving layup to deliver a 126-124 Trail Blazers victory. He closed the week with 35 points, six rebounds and 12 assists against Washington on February 20. Lillard has recorded at least 30 points, 10 assists and five three-pointers in each of his last four games, which ties his own mark for the longest such streak in NBA history.

For the season, Lillard is averaging 30.0 points (44.5% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 93.5% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.07 steals. He leads the NBA in 30-point games (18), ranks third in scoring and is tied for eighth in assists.

Author: Inside Hoops

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