Harden hits milestone as Rockets extend surge

By Daily Sports on December 26, 2018

Views: 104

James Harden strolled into the Toyota Center sporting a fluorescent green Grinch-colored suit and gifted MacBooks and Beats by Dre headphones to teammates before stealing away Oklahoma City’s holiday joy Tuesday by leading the Houston Rockets to a 113-109 victory.

On the way, Harden dropped 41 points, and in scoring 30 points or more in a career-high seventh straight game, he became the first player to do that since Russell Westbrook recorded eight consecutive 30-point games in November 2016. It was also the second most in a Christmas game among active players.

“We’ve got a lot of guys playing at a high level right now,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “So many guys contributed tonight. James, like I said, is up to another level that I don’t know maybe he’s been there before. It’s hard to tell once he gets to that altitude, but he’s playing great.” Clint Capela pulled down 23 boards to break Enes Kanter’s record for rebounds in a Christmas Day game (22).

“Clint has gone up a level I think from last year,” D’Antoni said. “We are a more complete team, and we can handle adversity with Chris [Paul] being out and James Ennis being out because now we have more of a slate of players – but we try not to get too ahead of ourselves – playing better.”

Still, the record that mattered most to Houston at the end of this one was its 18-15 mark, as the Rockets are now three games over 500 for the first time all season with a gantlet of upcoming opponents in serious contention for postseason berths, including some of the NBA’s best in the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks.

“[Our] record isn’t where we want it to be, but it’s getting there,” Harden said. “We’re preparing for a postseason. We’re not going to be at our tip-top right now, which is a great thing, so we’ve got something to build to. We’ve had that confidence all year though, man.”

That certainly showed against a Thunder squad that led by as many as 11 points in a game that featured 15 lead changes and 12 ties. (ESPN)

•Photo shows James Harden 

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 26, 2018

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