James Harden finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 14 assists to lead the Rockets with his 23rd double-double on the season, which is as many as he had all of last year. He was also 5-11 from beyond the arc in much better shooting night from deep for Houston.
One night after shooting 6-38 against San Antonio, they were 18-38 versus the Suns, with Eric Gordon leading the return of the three point barrage with 7 triples and 24 points.
This game was a little closer than most would have liked for a while, with the Rockets up 11 in the first half and 13 in the second, only to see both leads slip away. But they turned on the gas in the fourth quarter with back-to-back treys from Gordon and two from the Beard to finally vanquish a very game Suns squad. The Rockets then cleared the bench with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the game.
Houston featured an extremely balanced scoring attack, as they also got a season-high 18 points from Patrick Beverley to go along with 7 rebounds and 9 assists, and they also got 15 from Ryan Anderson, who helped carry the Rockets in the third period with two sweet, Dirk-style, one-legged jumpers and a patented Ryno long-range bomb.
Montrezl Harrell had his first start of the season, and despite an uneven beginning that saw him miss a defensive rotation and look a bit out of sorts offensively, he eventually settled into a nice game once he overcame the initial jitters. Trez finished with 17 points and 3 blocks, and he combined with Nene, who finished with 12 points and 2 blocks, for an effective inside presence.
Harden’s fantastic season continued with a striking achievement. He became only the second player in NBA history (John Stockton is the other) to rack up at least 7 dimes in each of the first 30 games of the year. Quite an achievement for the Beard and definitely rare company. He’s also now hit at least one three-pointer in 51 consecutive games.
The Suns were lead by Devin Booker’s 28 points and 7 assists, and they also got 19 from TJ Warren, 17 from Brandon Knight and 16 from Eric Bledsoe. It was a good night scoring the basketball for Phoenix, but they just didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Houston.
The Rockets move to 22-8 on the year with the victory, and they are also now 6-0 on the second night of back-to-backs and 8-0 on the year following a loss. They are off tomorrow, but then head to Memphis on Friday night for an important showdown with the 19-12 Grizzlies. It’s not officially a win streak until you get two in a row, so that’s what we’ll be looking for on Friday.