We don’t know for certain if it’s this week. Or the…

We don’t know for certain if it’s this week. Or the next. But we do know this: The Nuggets (37-18 entering Monday night’s game) aren’t turning the screws on the rest of the Western Conference without big brother Isaiah pushing his younger teammates, be it in the locker room, in practice, or from his seat at the end of the bench. “We probably wouldn’t be this high along in the West if he wasn’t in our locker room,” point guard Monte Morris, one of the franchise’s — and the league’s — great narratives of 2019, said of Thomas. “(He’s) giving us tips on guys he played and just knowing how to pull through. I look up to him a lot, not just because he’s at my position, just what he’s been through and everything. So we’re looking forward to having him back. Everybody knows what he brings to the table, and when you add that on top of what we’re doing right now, we should be really, really good.”
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October 15, 2019 | 2:39 pm EDT Update
So begins the give and take of a radical experiment. Matchmaking mere superstars is passé. The Rockets, like the Warriors before them, landed an MVP to accompany their MVP. It’s not exactly the subtlest of moves; both Harden and Westbrook have big, loud games, inarguably bigger and louder than when the two began their careers together in Oklahoma City a decade ago. Only through separation did they fully become the anchors their respective franchises needed them to be. By reuniting, they hope to now find security in each other. “We’ve accomplished a lot of accolades, individually,” Harden says. “Now it’s time to accomplish something that we haven’t accomplished before.” It’s a long way to June. Yet through the very fact of being on the same team, Harden and Westbrook have already engineered one outcome that never should have been possible in the first place.
October 15, 2019 | 1:41 pm EDT Update