James Harden

In an ESPN Insider series projecting the top performers for the 2013-14 NBA season, analyst Bradford Doolittle has New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith as the No. 7-ranked shooting guard in the league.

Smith is the lone Knicks player to crack the guard rankings, and the front court players will be ranked throughout the rest of this week.

The sixth-ranked shooting guard in the 2012-13 season, Smith is listed behind Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Manu Ginobli, Kobe Bryant, Bradley Beal and Louis Williams, who rank first through sixth, respectively.

Tags: Bradley Beal, danny green, Dwyane Wade, j.r. smith, jamal crawford, James Harden, joe johnson, kevin martin, Klay Thompson, Knicks, Kobe Bryant, Louis Williams, Manu Ginobli, Monta Ellis, paul pierce, Sam Spiegelman
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Tonight at 7:30 p.m., ?Linsanity? returns to the Big Apple for the second time this season as the Houston Rockets head to Barclays Center to play the Nets.

The Nets are coming off a home-and-home sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks, using some late-game heroics to earn the victories.

Houston not only is coming off a come-from-behind win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the Rockets also beat the Nets soundly, 119-106, on Jan. 26. The Nets have lost 12 straight overall to the Rockets.

Tags: deron williams, james harden, jeremy lin, linsanity, Nets, nets, pregame primer, rockets, trade deadline
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On Saturday night, the Nets were defeated by the Houston Rockets by a final score of 119-106.

The Skinny: Deron Williams scored the first nine Nets? points of the contest on 3-of-3 shooting. But the rest of the team managed to hit just one of its first 10 from the floor. Williams did not miss a shot in the first quarter and finished with 20 points. James Harden though was active all over the floor with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Brooklyn led by one after one.

Houston took the lead on a 7-0 run to start the second quarter. Williams limped off early in the second quarter after appearing to roll his ankle. Once he went off, the Nets could not muster anything offensively, allowing the Rockets to open a 13-point lead. Even with D-Will back, the Rockets increased their lead to 18 points as part of a 25-6 extended run. Brooklyn cut the lead back to nine, but Houston closed out the half leading by 13.

Tags: Brooklyn Nets, deron williams, houston rockets, james harden, jeremy lin, linsanity, Nets, nets, rapid recap, rockets
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