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Rockets Bag Pelicans

Beard Beats Brow

NBA: Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden continued to dismiss MVP doubters by dropping 32 points, 7 assists, and 11 rebounds in a 107-101 Houston over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Houston almost let the game slip away like an undergraduate watching their dignity, pride, and stomach contents spill onto Bourbon Street. A double digit lead was winnowed to just four in the game’s final minutes, but Houston held the line to secure their 55th win.

Chris Paul kicked in 21 points as the duo produced just under half of the Rockets total points. The bench pulled a disappearing act by producing just 15 points between 4 players. The underwhelming bench performance included the return of Ryan Anderson, who hadn’t played since February. In 11 minutes he produced no points on 0-2 shooting, both from three, and pulling down 3 boards.

Anderson’s unsteady appearance probably indicates the cemented presence of P.J. Tucker in the starting lineup.

Houston also broke expectations by out-pacing New Orleans. The teams got up 92 and 81 shots respectively, New Orleans has been one of the league leaders in pace since their phoenix like rise into the playoff picture in the last two months.

Don’t call the MVP-eccentric intro to this recap an eccentric attempt to create controversy. During the game the Pelicans handed out #AD4MVP shirts to fans who shaved their beards.