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Houston Rockets: James Harden Steals the Show on Wiggins Birthday

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Feb 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13)backs into Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 113 to 102. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets: James Harden Nets Triple-Double in Win

Last night we got to see the future of the NBA on full display as Birthday boy Andrew Wiggins showcased his 20 year old athleticism. But, it was the savvy older and wiser James Harden who demonstrated to the youngster what a few additional years and wisdom will do for his game.

102. 86. . 113. 169

For the fourth time in his career James Harden completed a triple-double, but it didn’t come easy. The Rockets began the game cold shooting 1 of 15 from the field. Part of this could be attributed to the Rockets being cold and part in fairness is due to the improved defense of the Wolves given they have a healthier team available now.

Harden particularly was having an off night going 0 for 7 to start the contest but began to connect towards the middle of the second quarter.

In what would ultimately end up being another 30 point night for the NBA’s leading scorer who now has 25 thirty point (or more) games.

He ended the game with 31 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds. More impressive were the 4 blocks and one steal the bearded one delivered highlighting he was amped to do whatever was necessary to garner the victory.

At the break the teams were tied at 56 with Harden scoring 13 of his 31 points.

While the leading candidate for MVP had the last laugh, the night also showcased why probable Rookie of the Year Wiggins is receiving the much deserved hype he is. After Harden put Ricky Rubio on skates (a play likely to end up on Steve Smith’s: Smitty’s top 5 under the rim) it was Wiggins who forced James Harden into an air ball while defending Harden in a play that ended with a Wiggins dunk on the opposite end.

By night’s end Wiggins began the sojourn out of his teenage years by netting 30 points and  6 rebounds (3 offensive) plus a single assist, steal and  block. The youngster demonstrated clearly these Wolves won’t be in the bottom of the West for long if he has anything to say about it. Personally, I can’t wait to see what influence Kevin Garnett will have on the youngster who already has the best two-way game of all Rookies.

The Rockets were up by 9 entering the fourth quarter, but with the move to put Wiggins on Harden the Wolves were able to pull within one point with just 4 minutes remaining. Ultimately Harden was able to lead the Rockets to the victory, but the night offered what is sure to be a match-up between the bearded one and the youngster for years to come.

Notes:

  • Kostas Papanikolaou sprained his ankle in the warm-up and had to be carried off the court
  • Patrick Beverley was unavailable to play suffering from flu like symptoms
  • Kevin Garnett will officially be introduced back to the Timberwolves in a press conference Tuesday and should be cleared to play versus his old teammate Paul Pierce Wednesday when the Wolves host the Wizards
  • Besides Harden, 5 Rockets scored in double digits: Josh Smith: 17, Terrence Jones: 15, Donatas Motiejunas: 12, Corey Brewer: 11 and Trevor Ariza: 10
  • Terrence Jones secured a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. He is finally looking like the player we expected to see prior to the  nerve injury in his leg that held him out for 41 games
  • The Rockets outscored the Wolves 54-28 in the paint
  • The Rockets bench completely annihilated the Wolves bench outscoring them 36-10

Next: Can Beverley Be Rockets X-Factor?

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