James Harden's Rockets close out Thunder
Harden was easily outplayed by Russell Westbrook tonight, who hit 15-of-34 shots and 5-of-18 3-pointers for 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but the Rockets were able to hold on for the win, helped by a 14-4 start to the fourth quarter in a close game. Most of Harden's help came from Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Nene and Clint Capela, while Westbrook didn't have the same support system in place, which was the case for most of the season. Harden's Rockets will advance to face the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies series, and it looks like the Spurs will take a 3-2 lead tonight, as of this writing. Either way, Harden's arch nemesis (Westbrook) is out of the way and he can now focus on trying to lead his team to a championship, without all the triple-double and MVP talk getting in the way of his ultimate goal.
James Harden (ankle) says he'll play in G5
"Got some treatment and I'll be ready to go tomorrow," Harden said before Monday's practice. "It's the playoffs, everybody is banged up so you just got to find a way to fight through it and find a way to help your teammates win games. For me, it's not necessarily scoring, I don't have to score a certain amount of points as long as I'm making the right plays and guys are getting shots everybody is in a good rhythm that's all that matters."
James Harden struggles, HOU still wins Game 4
Harden struggled with his shot for most of the game, going 5-of-16 from the field, and he summed up his play as "terrible" during his postgame interview. He also said that he tweaked his ankle during Game 3, which may have factored into his less-than-stellar stat line, but considering the Rockets are off until Tuesday and he still managed to get on the floor for 39 minutes, it would be shocking to see him miss any time with this minor injury. We're expecting a bounce-back performance in Game 5.
James Harden scores 44 points in loss to OKC
With the Rockets down two on the last possession of the game, Harden attempted a 3-pointer before the buzzer and couldn't get it to fall. It did look like he was trying to draw a foul on the play, and it's hard to blame him after he went 18-of-18 from the line in this loss. Harden's consistent scoring to start a postseason has been like nothing we've seen in quite some time, becoming the first player to start a postseason with three consecutive 35-plus scoring games since Michael Jordan in 1990. You can pencil him in for another one in Game 4 on Sunday.
James Harden hits 18-of-20 FTs, scores 35 pts
The showdown between Harden and fellow MVP candidate Russell Westbrook was as-advertised tonight. Westbrook scored 51 points while posting yet another triple-double, and Harden's big line was bolstered by super-subs Lou Williams (21 points) and Eric Gordon (22 points). Patrick Beverley was also terrific, notching 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, six boards, four assists, two 3-pointers and one steal in 34 minutes. The Rockets are a handful, to say the least.
James Harden and Trevor Ariza both take part in shootaround for Houston; expected to play tonight
Harden has been battling an illness while Ariza missed Houston's last game due to a death in the family. Both appear to be on track to play today after taking part in the morning shootaround. Harden is an obvious top play facing the woeful Nuggets defense and Ariza is also an option given the match up. In other Rockets news, Ryan Anderson has been ruled out for the Rockets and Troy Williams will continue to start ahead of Eric Gordon.
James Harden (illness) officially ruled out tonight
Harden has officially be ruled out for tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns after previously being listed as doubtful on the Rockets' injury report with flu-like symptoms that caused him to miss the Rockets' morning shootaround. Additionally, Trevor Ariza was also been ruled out earlier in the day as he tends to a personal matter. In their absences, Troy Williams and Sam Dekker will receive the starting nods for Houston at small forward and power forward respectively. Realistically, with all the usage now available in the starting unit, a case can be made for any of the Rockets starters in any format on tonight's slate. However, Eric Gordon (25.2%) and Lou Williams (31.2%) stand out far above the rest, as they each own at least a +5.4% usage rate differential with Harden, Ariza, and Ryan Anderson off the court since the All-Star break. This will be the first game Harden has missed this season, so it will certainly be interesting to see how the Rockets' production is dispersed among the starters and other prominent role players.
James Harden (illness) downgraded to doubtful tonight
Harden has officially been downgraded to doubtful for tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns after he missed the Rockets' morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms, while Trevor Ariza has been ruled out as he deals with a personal matter. Harden hasn't officially been ruled out but is clearly highly unlikely to play, meaning Troy Williams and Sam Dekker will receive the starting nods for Houston tonight at small forward and power forward respectively. Realistically, with all the usage now available, a case can be made for any of the Rockets starters in any format on tonight's slate. However, Eric Gordon (25.2%) and Lou Williams (31.2%) stand out far above the rest, as they each own at least a +5.4% usage rate differential with Harden, Ariza, and Ryan Anderson off the court since the All-Star break. This will be the first game Harden has missed this season, so it will certainly be interesting to see how the Rockets' production is dispersed among the starters and other role players.
James Harden states he is fine and will play tonight for Houston
No big surprise here just confirmation that one of the league's MVP contenders will play tonight against Portland in a game that has the highest total on the slate. He's a top option as usual, especially against a porous Trail Blazers defense.
Patrick Beverley (groin) questionable for tonight
It appears that Beverley re-aggravated an existing groin injury on Thursday. If he's unable to play tonight, Eric Gordon is expected to get the start. Lou Williams, who scored 27 points in his first game with Houston, would see increased opportunities off the bench and would be an excellent target. The Rockets have an implied team total of 119 points against Minnesota, which is 4.6 points above their season average. According to our CourtIQ tool, James Harden's numbers remain pretty consistent whether Beverley is on the floor or not.