Houston Rockets: James Harden must produce in the playoffs

Virginia Santiago
January 7, 2019

Morey talked at length about the Rockets' goal to bring home the franchise's first title since 1995, saying his job is to make sure he has the right players to go with the Rockets' key players, including Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon.

James Harden continued his historic stretch Thursday night with 44 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in the Houston Rockets' 135-134 win over the Golden State Warriors in overtime. Harden was 8-of-9 from the line, shooting two fewer free throws than he averages per game and one-third of the franchise-record-tying 27 he attempted during his 43-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist performance in Houston's previous game, a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The game went into overtime after Harden missed a 32-footer in the final seconds. He has 40-plus points in his last five games, and the Rockets are surging in the Western Conference after a sluggish start. He notched his second triple-double of the week and fifth consecutive 40-point game, but the impressive stats themselves don't tell the whole story. James is on a new team this season, so the group is working out the kinks, but he's still managed to remain a top candidate.

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With his recent play, Harden leads the league in scoring by a margin of 4.7 points per game.

This time, the Warriors watched Harden drill a 29-foot 3-pointer - which Warriors coach Steve Kerr described as an "impossible shot" - over Thompson and Draymond Green with 2.7 seconds left.

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In going 10-23 from beyond the arc, Harden became only the eighth player in National Basketball Association history to attempt at least 20 3-pointers in a game.

"He's been playing at a high level the last 11 games, so it is not surprising considering the roll he is on", Curry said of Harden. He has scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games. Harden wows the world with his regular season output, but his underwhelming postseason play invites a wave of criticism and a rethinking of his greatness both contemporarily and historically.

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