The Rockets started slow on Wednesday night in Houston when a banged up Lakers team came to town. But after going down by five entering halftime, James Harden scored 17 third-quarter points and the Rockets out-scored LA 33-15 before coasting to the victory. Harden had another big game, scoring 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting, which was enough to make the history books. But it was a devastating Euro-step move on Ryan Kelly that has everyone talking today.
We know some NBA players get away with traveling on occasion, but no matter how much Ryan helplessly mimes the traveling call, there’s no getting around the fact Harden Euro-stepped him into infamy here on the break.
Not only did he abuse Kelly with the Euro-step and helped Houston to the win, but Harden’s game-high 38 points marked the first time a Rockets player scored 37 or more points in three consecutive games since Hakeem Olajuwon did so in the 1994-95 season.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 9, 2014
Despite the three-game scoring outburst, Harden was demure about the points when talking after the game. He told the excellent Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle, “The five steals, definitely,” when asked what he preferred about his game. “The steals got me the points. Defensively, just picking up the intensity. If we play defense, our offense is going to be more effective.”
In case you forgot, Harden was â€” we feel, fairly â€” criticized for his lackluster defensive effort earlier in the year, so it’s nice to see he’s buckling down more on that end. But it’s the scoring that puts the fans in the seats, and the Rockets need all of his offensive brilliance, plus his continued effort on the defensive end, to stay in the thick of a tight Western Conference playoff race.
What do you think?
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