Houston Rockets: Player grades from narrow loss to Toronto Raptors

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) /
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The Starters

Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN. A +. Another day, another A+ for The Beard. James Harden was once again ultra-efficient in his 27 minutes, finishing with 34 points and seven assists. Even better, this was Harden’s best game defensively, as he was strong in the post specifically. James recorded a block and steal, showing quick hands inside and excellent position defense, contrary to the myth about him.. Guard

A +. This is the Eric Gordon Houston will need if they want to finish towards the top of the Western Conference this season. As usual, Gordon didn’t hesitate from far beyond the 3-point line, only this time he buried four out of five. He hit from both corners, which is always a huge positive in a Mike D’Antonio offense. E-Money also finished with four assists in his 25 minutes.. Guard. Houston Rockets. ERIC GORDON

A. Strong first quarters have been a habit so far in the preseason for Clint Capela, and Tuesday was no different. Now with two stellar passers to work with, Clint feasted inside in the first half, finishing at the basket off perfect feeds from Harden and Westbrook. Capela used his finishing strength to help him create three separate and-one opportunities, converting on two of them. The 6-10 center could have done slightly better on the glass during his 20 minutes, which is the only reason he doesn’t get an A+ this time.. Center. Houston Rockets. CLINT CAPELA

PJ TUCKER. D. It was an off night for P.J. The 6-6 forward couldn’t get anything going offensively, as he missed all four of his shot attempts, all from beyond the arc. Even when trying to make things happen, Tucker threw the ball away or committed an offensive foul. When the highest number on your box score is your five personal fouls, you had a tough day at the office.. Forward. Houston Rockets

B. In his highly anticipated debut, Russell Westbrook showed flashes of why Rockets fans are so excited to see him this season. Russ only played 21 minutes but showed excellent court vision and the offensive aggressiveness you’d expect from him. While he seemed to have no problem finding teammates, he struggled to find the bottom of the net from the outside, finishing just 1-for-6 from downtown. The Brodie’s five turnovers led the team, but he also finished with six assists to go along with his 13 points. Not a bad first outing for Westbrook.. Guard. Houston Rockets. RUSSELL WESTBROOK

Next: The Bench