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James Harden dumps in 36 as Houston rocks Charlotte in New Years Eve victory

It took a couple of quarters for Houston to find their offensive rhythm against a short-handed Hornets team, but the second half was all-Rockets.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets allowed a Charlotte Hornets team, sans Lance Stevenson and Al Jefferson, to hang around for an entire half before throttling up the offense to put the bugs to bed.

Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker kept the game competitive early on, recording nine points and three assists in the first half.

The game went to break with a score of 47-45 in Houston's favor because of a late three by James Harden that would set the pace for the rest of the night. Harden ended up with a career high in three-pointers made in a single game, going 8-11 from behind the arc.

The second half was a clinic by Houston, beginning with two big threes from Patrick Beverley. Beverley's hot hand is a good sign from a guy that struggled early on in the season at shooting the ball.

On the opposite end of that spectrum was Trevor Ariza who shot a woeful 1-11 from the three-point land. For a player who focuses on defense and making threes, we've seen a shortage of quality shooting from him in recent weeks. Of course the quantity of threes attempted is going to effect numbers, but however you slice it, shooting at a rate of 32 percent, down from 2013-14's rate of 40.7 percent is not very swag.

New additions Corey Brewer and Josh Smith are still trying to find their rhythm in the Houston's offense. Each scored five points a piece on a respective 2-8 and 2-7 field goals made. One can only assume that with time and experience will come better production.

But enough picking of nits, Dwight Howard looked good on the inside, grabbing 8 boards and dropping in 11 points and The Rockets won by an almost 20-point margin. The extension of that lead was encouraged by a prodigious Harden who finished the game with 36 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Harden is undoubtedly the current front-runner for MVP and sustaining that campaign means you have to put up stats like the ones above against over-matched Eastern Conference opponents.

Houston looks another W on Friday evening when they attempt to tame The Brow and his New Orleans Pelicans.