James Harden goes for another 40-point triple-double to help the Houston Rockets secure their ninth straight win against the Hornets.
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With less than 10 seconds reminding in the fourth, James Harden stepped to the line and hit two game-clinching free throws, as the Houston Rockets win a nailbiting victory over the Charlotte Hornets, Tuesday night, at the Toyota Center.
What started as a blowout quickly elevated into one of the most entertaining games of the season.
While missing their best perimeter defender in Nicolas Batum, the Hornets had a tough time defending the Rockets from deep. Despite playing without the league’s best three-point shooter in Eric Gordon, Houston still managed to shoot over 50 percent from the field during the first half.
With James Harden leading the way with 22 points, the Rockets held a 20 point (67-47) lead heading into the break. Although they were clicking on all cylinders on the offensive end, it was Houston’s defense that gave them the early advantage.
Against one of the league’s top premier point guards, Houston held Charlotte all-star guard Kemba Walker to nine first half points. Similar to their most recent struggles when up big at the half, the Rockets gave new life into the Hornets during the second half.
The Rockets gave up 32 points during the third quarter. As well as allowing the Hornets to go on a 22-2 run that put them ahead 111-110 with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
After watching an 18-point lead disappear, a timeout by Mike D’Antoni was enough for the Rockets to regroup. Following the timeout, Ryan Anderson came through with a huge clutch three. Harden then hit the go-ahead layup to take an 115-11 lead with just under a minute to play.
After a few defensive plays by Patrick Beverly and Montrezl Harrell. James Harden sealed the win for Houston scoring two clutch baskets from the charity line.
Player of the Game
The big reason for the Rockets’ win is no one other than James Harden. The last few games Harden did not shoot the ball to well but tonight was a different story. As a result of finding his mojo, Harden scored 22 points by half time. As well as shooting 50 percent from behind the arc. Which was needed in the absence of Eric Gordon. Although he had another high-scoring game, Harden did not forget his duties as the second best point guard in the league. Overall, another MVP-worthy performance by The Beard. 40 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists.
Following the win, the Houston Rockets will look to expand their winning streak Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.