Houston was able to fight off the Phoenix Suns last night, who had won their last four straight games until James Harden fought off defenders P.J. Tucker and Isaiah Thomas to deliver this impressive buzzer beater:
Harden tallied 33 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in 39 minutes; He made three of his six three-point attempts and went 14-for-17 from the charity stripe.
Donatas Motiejunas scored 15 points, while Patrick Beverley, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer each added 14 points.
What about Dwight Howard?
Howard rolled his ankle in the first quarter while trying to secure a rebound; He played eight total minutes.
Howard on his ankle: "It feels a little better. We’ll see how it feels tmrw. My foot just twisted. I couldn't put any pressure on it."— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 24, 2015
Without Howard, Motiejunas, Smith and Dorsey were the big men rotation. Smith did exactly what Good Josh Smith can do, shooting 7-11, cutting without the ball and finishing in transition. He didn't play excellent on-ball defense -- the Morris twins combined to shoot 14-23 for 33 points -- but he was a plus-nine and will like start at power forward if Howard has to miss any time going forward, with Donuts sliding over to the center spot.
The Rockets scored four three pointers in the first quarter, even one lucky one from Howard. Houston took a 12-point lead midway through the first, but that was primarily due to the Suns poor play.
"I don't know what we were doing that first eight minutes. It's a sign that you're not ready to play and you're not focused," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
With an eight-point lead entering the third quarter, Harden and company were able to pull away from the Suns, who found themselves down 102-86 with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Led by identical twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris, Phoenix went on a 14-4 run to tie the game with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Then Harden got the ball, and the rest is history.
And on that note, while we're still admiring The Beard, let's appreciate his Eurostep speciality:
If only Houston could have beaten the Golden State Warriors just once last week, Harden would be even closer to winning his first MVP award.