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Harden’s 17 fourth-quarter points spark Rockets’ comeback win (VIDEO)

Mar 9, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT

That is what James Harden brings to the table — elite level scoring. He can flat out knock it down.

That three gave Harden 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets came from 13 back to force overtime on the shot above, then in OT Harden and Jeremy Lin (9 points in the fourth, six in OT) pushed Houston to a 118-113 win over Portland. Harden finished the night with 41 points, Lin added 26.

Houston again largely did it with offense over defense (the Trail Blazers still had an offensive rating of 103.2 points per 100 possessions) — actually they really did it with threes. Houston started the game 4-of-19 from three and nothing seemed to fall, but they made 5-of-10 3-from beyond the arc to close out the game and close up the gap the Trail Blazers had made.

This week the Rockets beat the Heat, Pacers and now Trail Blazers — they have passed this test with flying colors and look every bit the contender in the West.

Portland faced another tough loss — early in the season these close games went their way, but things have a way of leveling out. LaMarcus Aldridge had another big game with 28 points, 12 rebounds, Wesley Matthews added 26 points and Damian Lillard had 21 points despite a night of foul trouble.

  1. bhunter1995 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    The Rockets have looked like a legit championship contender, putting together a win streak against three great teams (and two not so great teams) and they have maintained the best record in the league since the break. Harden is shooting a much better % and the chemistrey of the team has finally come together. They made the Heat and tge Pacers look like a bunch of scrubs and they scrapped their way to a win against arguably the most clutch team in the league. As a Laker fan it was hard to see Howard go, knowing he was such a beast. Unlike most LA fans I am not blinded by the hate. D12 made the right move financially and the right move in terms of winning. As fans we always ask that players care about winning so I don’t understand the hate considering that LA was clearly a sinking ship with a head coach that doesn’t play to the post. Its good to see him succeed with the Rockets and they are one of my favorite teams in the League in terms of watchability and the fact that their team is made up of good guys who play team ball and care about winning.

    Now if they beat OKC and Miami again, I might put some money on them.

    • bjswoosh805 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      I agree they do look “like” a contender. But those games against the Heat and Pacers are statement games or confidence booster nothing more,these games dont mean anything til playoffs. Rockets is a jumpshooting team, long 2s or 3s and I just dont see them winning over the Heat, Spurs, or Pacers in best of 7.

      • simonsays05 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:09 AM

        You’re not watching the Rockets too closely if you think they’re just a jump shooting team. They are top 5 in Points in the Paint and they take the fewest amount of long 2’s in the league.

      • term3186 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        Rockets don’t shoot the long 2. Ranked dead last in the NBA last year by 2.5 attempts per game. I doubt they take many more this year.

      • dualprime - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        Rockets do take a lot of threes because the have good shooters. BUT… Lin, Harden, Chandler all get to the rim in that offense and Howard/Jones can post up. They’re tough to stop. Ask the Pacer!

      • au1978 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        Not quite understanding why they need to take long 2’s. But Harden, Lin and Parsons do take them rather frequently and make them (Lin being the exception since AllStar break).

    • apkyletexas - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:19 AM

      Pretty amazing that Dwight Howard can pour in 17 points, grab 12 boards and block 3 shots in a monster win, and not even be worth a mention. I guess all the people saying that he just needs to play hard and win games and all the critics would disappear were correct.

  2. unxpexted1 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I was asked in the beginning of the year who is better Paul George or James Harden. I say Paul George……I was wrong

    • moseskkim - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      Hardens a bit on fire, George is a bit cold but had a solid Sunday game. Overall harden and George are similar offensive players. Hardens amazing free throw prowess helps him score a lot. Harden has the edge offensively but not by much. George however beats hardens defense by a mile and a half and half. George is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. George is the better overall player in my opinion.

  3. imakcds - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I do not hate, I understand reality, and the reality I pointed out since he left LA is that Dwight is NOT a Superstar, NOT capable of being THE MAN.
    He IS a very capable athlete, and a great component to have on a winning team.
    The Rockets are becoming a very good team, Dwight DID make the right decision, made because he also realized he could not handle being The Man.
    Harden is filling that role nicely.
    I also noted, from Day 1, that J Lin is a very capable Backup PG, NOT a starter.

    • dualprime - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      You’re correct! Lin can dazzle you with great offense and then you hate him for his stupid, unforced turnovers. Howard has settled into his “role” as center and is arguably best in the league. I wouldn’t bet against the Heat yet but the Rockets are going in the right direction.

    • bhunter1995 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      He was the #1 guy on a finals team, the second best player at the time was Hedo Turkaglu, the problem is that when he is your #1 guy you need to build a team that is perfectly suited for him (4 shooters on the floor and a coach who plays the post AND the pick & roll).

    • au1978 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      You must not have seen many games b/c there have been several times that the Rockets have “rode the big horse” as McHale calls it, when D12 is just unstoppable on the inside and Harden and the other guards are strugling.

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