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James Harden’s career-high 45 leads Rockets to 2-0 start

Nov 3, 2012, 11:40 AM EDT

If James Harden continues to play like he’s played in his first two games with the Rockets, the trade that brought him to Houston may eventually be seen as one of the most one-sided in NBA history.

It’s early, of course, and finances were the motivation in Oklahoma City, where Harden didn’t (and wouldn’t) have nearly the value he would on a team like the Rockes. In Houston, he could be the primary ball-handler and scoring option for a team that didn’t already have, say, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook taking up the bulk of those opportunities in the starting lineup.

Still, Harden has been fantastic in his first two starts, and his new career high of 45 points in Atlanta came on just 19 (!) field goal attempts.

Harden is in a perfect situation as a Rocket, playing alongside capable point guard Jeremy Lin, who put up 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out seven assists. Lin and Harden both played 40 minutes, which you’d think can’t be a regular occurrence over the course of an 82-game season, But early on, as the team is still forging its identity, why not?

Harden has the luxury of playing on or off the ball with Lin by his side, so when defenses eventually start throwing doubles at him to get the ball out of his hands, head coach Kevin McHale can design some sets to find other ways to get him the rock.

That’ll likely come sooner rather than later. For now, the Rockets went from a team that unconscionably blew up its competitive squad of a season ago to one that might be even better this year — and with Harden in the fold, a lot more fun to watch.

[Video via ClutchFans]

  1. money2long - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    the thing is..kmart, at this point, has become the player he is. and we can sorta gauge his ceiling.
    harden on the other hand still has that potential to become a player we have yet to see.

  2. philly803 - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    This might end up being a steal for the rockets i am a thunder fan to see him leave hurts like hell. The idea of him and lin in the backcourt is kinda of scary its huge potential there

  3. BigBeachBall - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    damn OKC, who else you sitting on over there…

  4. pistol7pete - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    After seeing him play as a starter I think OKC will be the one regretting the trade

  5. rajbais - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Kevin McHale behind a good trade?

    Irony is swirling in Houston.

  6. bleedburgandyandgold - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    The beard is on fire in his first two games lol

  7. spthegr8 - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I was 1 of the FEW people on this site, saying that James Harden was a max-contract player. It’s only been 2 games……..BUT, DAMN he is ballin. I don’t think he will continue to score 30 and 40 plus a night, but who can. James Harden is the 3rd best shooting guard in the league. Behind Kobe and D Wade. Hate to say I told ya so……………….. BUT I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. danielcp0303 - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Too bad Houston fans can’t see the game. CSN Houston isn’t available on any provider other than Comcast. Less than 40% of Houston get the channel.

  9. rj2323 - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    SUPERSTAR

  10. asublimeday - Nov 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I was 1 of the FEW people on this site, saying that James Harden was a max-contract player. It’s only been 2 games……..BUT, DAMN he is ballin. I don’t think he will continue to score 30 and 40 plus a night, but who can. James Harden is the 3rd best shooting guard in the league. Behind Kobe and D Wade. Hate to say I told ya so……………….. BUT I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ———/

    What? It’s long been a consensus that harden would get max money.

  11. spthegr8 - Nov 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Correct, but alot of people on this site were saying he isn’t good enough too get a max-contract or wasn’t deserving of one. I said he was deserving and so far he has proved me right. Which is why I said ” I told you so”!!!!!

  12. misterdreamer119 - Nov 3, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    The best 2 guards are Wade, Harden, joe Johnson then Bryant. Kobe is old folks its 2012-2013 season.

    • money2long - Nov 3, 2012 at 7:04 PM

      u were hacked, right ?

    • urodaddy07 - Nov 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      LMFAO ….Joe Johnson!!!?? That’s some funny stuff dude

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