Skip to content

Fear the Beard II: Harden drops 37 and 12 in Rockets win

Nov 1, 2012, 12:39 AM EDT

In case you thought James Harden only looked like he could ball because he was playing next to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook… honestly, if you thought that what guy have you you watching? Harden has been fantastic the last few years. The guy didn’t make the Olympic team because Coach K liked his beard.

One game does not prove a player a No. 1 option, an alpha dog, an elite superstar on a team. But Harden, unleashed from OKC, sure looked the part in his Rockets debut.

Harden put up a monster line — 37 points on 25 shots, plus 12 assists — and led an 11-point fourth quarter comeback as the Rockets beat the Pistons 105-96.

What you want your alpha dog to be is a closer — Harden was that in leading a 33-15 fourth quarter win and comeback by the Rockets. He hit a couple threes, he attacked off the pick-and-roll and got in the lane, he set up his teammates, he was everything you would want.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey had to look at Harden’s shot chart and just grin like a Cheshire Cat — stats tell you the most efficient shots are at the rim or beyond the three point arc, and of Harden’s 25 shots on the night 10 were threes and 11 were in the restricted area.

It was a masterful performance, and frankly we knew Harden had it in him — we saw flashes of this when he played for the Thunder. Watching him in this game, it was clear he reined in some of what he could do to fit in along side Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. We knew he sacrificed. We understood he had more game.

What we didn’t know — what we still don’t know — is if he can do this consistently. Defenses are going to target him, game plans will be drawn up to stop him, and Harden has to produce like this consistently. Jeremy Lin can help — good things happened when he was on the floor for the Rockets and he was a game high +23 on the night and had 8 dimes — but this game showed the Rockets are now Harden’s team. He is the man. The face and beard of the franchise. He is their alpha dog.

And for a night at least, he looked fully up to the task.

Latest Posts
  1. Lakers work out seven NBA veteran free agents beyond Michael Beasley

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, Daniel Orton, Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee try out

  2. Robbie Hummel to release hip-hop album. Wait. What?

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    Robbie Hummel Robbie Hummel

    NBA news you definitely didn’t expect to read today

  3. Jerry Colangelo on James Harden leading Team USA: ‘He’s the one’

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Puerto Rico v United States Getty Images

    Rockets guard continues to draw praise after offseason of petty comments

  4. Dion Waiters: Kevin Love ‘thinks I’m underrated’ and ‘knows I pass the ball’

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    Dion Walters, Kevin Love Dion Walters, Kevin Love

    Waiters on the possibility of playing with Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving: ‘I’ve got to destroy my opponent’

  5. Michael Beasley gets second Lakers workout

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Former No. 2 remains unsigned after disappointing season with Heat

  6. Doc Rivers got PAID

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    New contract with Clippers makes Rivers the NBA’s highest-paid coach

  7. Russian guard Dmitry Kulagin, with Kings interest, considering jumping to NBA

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    Adidas Eurocamp - Day 3 Getty Images

    Kulagin, 22, went undrafted and is now an unrestricted free agent

  8. Cavaliers sold Kyrie Irving on contract extension with LeBron James-Kevin Love plan

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

    Go back to July 1 and consider the possibility of LeBron James and Kevin Love playing for Cleveland this season

  9. Kevin Love says Timberwolves owner should focus on his own team following trade to Cavaliers

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    Minnesota’s owner tried to point out some of Love’s flaws once the deal was done.

  10. Doc Rivers signs contract with Clippers through 2019

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

    Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer

    Clippers owner Steve Ballmer calls keeping Rivers ‘one of my top priorities’

  11. Donald Sterling doesn’t appeal, basically throws in towel on owning Clippers

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling will try to embarrass the league going forward, but he will not ever own the Clippers again.

  12. Iman Shumpert excited to play in triangle offense because he won’t just have to stand in the corner

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Shumpert and other Knicks will love an offense with player and ball movement… if ‘Melo shares the rock.

  13. Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Sam Hinkie

    Sixers value a pick in next year’s draft more than they do Bennett at this time.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3779)
  2. D. Rose (3214)
  3. T. Young (2539)
  4. K. Bryant (2479)
  5. L. James (2459)
  1. K. Irving (2335)
  2. A. Davis (1930)
  3. G. Hayward (1848)
  4. R. Allen (1782)
  5. E. Bledsoe (1724)