3. James Harden was in his bag
James Harden arguably played his best overall game since the NBA restarted. His game was on fire on both sides of the ball. His offensive game was no surprise. The subtraction of Westbrook allowed him to be more free and creative on the offensive end, and instead of going back to his old way of taking over a game with iso ball, he chose to get his teammates involved by bringing out their strengths and exposing all of the Lakers’ weaknesses.
On the defensive end, Harden is turning into a solid defensive threat. He’s visibly improving in every aspect, and it has also helped his teammates gain more confidence in their defensive game also. When they see their leader giving it all he has, it makes them want to do the same, and it brings out the best in the entire squad.
Coach Mike D’ Antoni spoke about how Harden has stepped up since the Rockets have returned to the floor.
“His commitment to defense is number one, D’Antoni said. “He stays locked in and is trying to win whatever it takes, by accepting the double teams and trying to bust it through to other guys. So there’s a lot of good things to marvel about.”
The Rockets will have two days off before hitting the floor Sunday for a matchup with the Sacramento Kings. Tip-off is set for 8 PM ET on Sunday, Aug. 9.