James Harden Has Found His Form As Rockets Overcoming Slow Start

NBA

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Monday night saw James Harden and his Houston Rockets claim their fourth win in a row following a bumpy 11-14 start, with Harden dropping 47 of Houston’s 102 to beat the Utah Jazz. Harden has led his team in scoring 24 out of 26 games he has played, the best ratio in the league.

Harden is currently averaging a monster 33.4 points a game in the month of November, and the Rockets are looking more like the team from last year that won the Western Conference last year. Clint Capela has found his form in the pick and roll with his ball handlers, putting up 17 points per game so far. Harden’s season numbers look almost identical to his MVP numbers from last year, and key role players are starting to fill the holes left from Trevor Ariza, Joe Johnson, and other departed contributors from last year’s campaign. His 47 points is still only his second highest output of his last 5 days, falling short of his 50 point explosion at home against an ever-improving Laker team. Lately, Harden has had to pick up the slack for sharpshooter Erin Gordon. Gordon, who has a career 3 point average of 37% is shooting it at only 29% so far this year, and is trending below his career averages in points per game and assists. This year will expose how Eric Gordon handles the highest expectations that have been expected of him thus far in his career. Houston is considered a contender in a very tight Western Conference, and this season may be the last in which CP3 will be an All-NBA caliber guard. The Championship window is closing for Harden and the Rockets, and this year has been a trying time. Statistically, the Rockets are giving opponents 4 more points per game than last year, while also scoring 4 less per game. This 8 point swing has been challenging for the Rockets, who sit in 10th place in the West, looking up at surprise teams, such as a much improved Dallas Mavericks, and a defensively stifling Memphis Grizzlies.

Houston’s next 10 games... 

Wed, Dec 19   vs Washington           

Thu, Dec 20    @ Miami

Sat, Dec 22     vs San Antonio
           
Tue, Dec 25     vs Oklahoma City
           
Thu, Dec 27    vs Boston

Sat, Dec 29     @ New Orleans
           
Mon, Dec 31   vs Memphis
                       
Thu, Jan 3        @ Golden State

Sat, Jan 5         @ Portland

Mon, Jan 7      vs Denver

With Golden State, OKC, and Denver all in the next 20 days, look for James Harden and the Rockets to make a couple needed statements in the last stretch of 2018. With a record of 15-14, improvement is needed if this team wants to contend with the beast that is the Western Conference.

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