It wasn’t exactly aesthetically beautiful, but the Rockets pulled out a victory nonetheless, turning the juice on in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game, and then holding on down the stretch to beat the Washington Wizards 114-106.
James Harden scored 32 points, dished out 15 dimes and snagged 6 rebounds, and despite also committing 8 turnovers (including 5 in the first period) he becomes the first player since Michael Jordon in 1989 to have at least 4 straight 30-plus point, 10-plus assist games. He also has 30-plus points and 15-plus assists in four out of his first seven games this season, a feat Stephen Curry has achieved just five times in the last five years and Chris Paul has done four times in the past five years. Is it too early for MVBeard talk?
Harden has 30+ points & 15+ assists in 4 of his first 7 games.— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) November 8, 2016
Curry has 5 such games in the last 5 years.
CP3 has 4 in the last 5 years.
Ryan Anderson also had his best game thus far as a Rocket, putting in 23 points, including going 5-8 from downtown, to go along with 7 rebounds. He helped the Rockets to 17 total team threes, which also included 4 from Trevor Ariza (who had 15 points), 3 from Eric Gordon (11 points) and 3 from Harden.
Clint Capela also had a fine night, as he went for 14 points, 6 rebounds and a new career-high 4 blocks. His rim protection was a pleasant sight tonight, and helped give the Rockets a slight 44-42 edge in points in the paint.
The game definitely wasn’t without it’s blemishes, however. The Rockets started off extremely sluggish, falling behind by as many as 11 in the first half before rallying with a 21-6 run to close out the second frame. And this was a back-and-forth affair featuring 25 lead changes before the Rockets stepped on the gas in the fourth.
Even then, the Rockets gave up back-to-back turnovers off of in-bounds passes which both ended in Washington baskets with under a minute left to bring the Wizards to within six points, but Harden was able to close things out as the final seconds ticked away.
The Wizards were led by John Wall’s 21 points and 8 assists and also got 20 each from Otto Porter and Bradley Beal, while also getting a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double from Marcin Gortat, but couldn’t keep up with the Rockets down the stretch.
Houston shot 51.8 percent from the field, which overcame 18 turnovers, and held the Wizards to just 41.5 percent shooting, and that was the difference in the game.
The Wizards drop to 1-5 on the year, while Houston moves to 4-3 and 2-2 on the current road trip. The Rockets close out the 5-game away swing on Wednesday night in San Antonio.