Player grades from the Rockets’ OT thriller win over the Dallas Mavericks

James Harden Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
James Harden Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

A +. From the start of the game, it was clear that the Mavericks were in for a tall order, as it pertained to trying to stop James Harden. The Beard got off to a 23-point opening quarter, and had 15 points within the first seven minutes of the game, compared to the Mavs, who had 17 points as a team. Harden finished the game with 49 points on just 20 shots, as he made 70 percent of his attempts, which is unimaginable. Harden also got to the charity stripe at will, as he went 18-of-21 from the free throw line. Harden nearly had a triple-double, as he added nine rebounds and eight assists, compared to just one turnover. Harden averaged 1.14 points per minute, which was also a game-high. The Beard also had a true shooting percentage of 83.8 percent, which is simply unreal. But Harden’s defense was every bit as important, as he added three steals and three blocks, and made life miserable in the post for the Mavs.. Guard. Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN

Guard. Houston Rockets. RUSSELL WESTBROOK. A. Russell Westbrook had his share of struggles throughout the game, as he was clearly rusty in his first game back. Westbrook missed layups, struggled to get his patented mid-range shot to fall, and had six turnovers, which was a team-high. But Westbrook added 11 rebounds, which was tied with Robert Covington for a team-high, and his five offensive rebounds was a game-high. <p>Westbrook’s overall energy and tenacity impacted the game positively, and his defense was especially key in the overtime period. Russ used his freakish athleticism to get back on defense and stop a fast break following a James Harden turnover late in the game, which proved to be pivotal.</p> <p>Westbrook also narrowly missed a triple-double, as he finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. Westbrook went 13-of-30 from the floor (43.3 percent) and added two steals. All in all, the Rockets were 12 points better with Russ on the floor, which was also a game-high. Aside from the turnovers, one area of concern was Westbrook’s free throw shooting, as he went 4-of-8 from the charity stripe (50 percent).</p>

B +. Robert Covington struggled to get his shots to fall, as he went 4-of-14 from the field. Covington especially struggled from 3-point land, as he went 1-for-9 from deep. But Covington made the biggest play of the game in the waning seconds of a presumed Rockets loss, as he tied the game up 139-139. The lone 3-pointer that Covington was able to land was also clutch, as the Rockets led 147-146 in overtime prior to RoCo getting the trey to fall. Covington also added 11 rebounds, but his defense was stellar, as he recorded two steals and four blocked shots, which was a number that could have been higher, were it not for questionable officiating. Covington finished with 13 points, and the Rockets were seven points better when he was on the floor.. Forward. Houston Rockets. ROBERT COVINGTON

B+. P.J. Tucker’s statline doesn’t fully explain his impact on the game. Tucker had seven points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block. But Tucker made two of his three triples (66.7 percent) and served as the usual defensive ace we’ve known him to be. Tucker was also pivotal in Robert Covington’s final tip-in, as he was able to box out Kristaps Porzingis, which allowed Covington to free himself to the ball. Tucker finished with a true shooting percentage of 90.2 percent, which was highest among all starters. The Rockets also averaged 186 points per 100 possessions with Tucker on the floor, which was the second-best offensive rating on the team.. Forward. Houston Rockets. P.J. TUCKER

A. Danuel House was given the starting nod heading into the Rockets’ game against the Mavs, which was a move that Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni was forced to make, due to the injury to Eric Gordon. House played terrific, as he had 20 points on just 13 shots, leading to a true shooting percentage of 76.9 percent. House made six threes, which was a team-high, and made 50 percent of his 3-point attempts. House also poured in five rebounds and two steals.. Small Forward. Houston Rockets. DANUEL HOUSE

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