After a rough second half of January, James Harden showed that he was well and truly back with his third straight high-scoring game in a third straight win for the Houston Rockets.
In this one against the Hornets, he finished one rebound shy of a 40-point triple-double, posting a stat line of 40 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, three steals, and a team-high +20 in 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Hornets dropped their fourth straight game and suffered their 12th loss from their past 13 games. Here are the biggest takeaways from this game:
Without Russ, Harden carries major load
With seven minutes left, the Rockets and Hornets were tied up at 103-103.
Harden checked in at the 7:01 mark of the fourth quarter and the Rockets cruised to a comfortable win as they sealed the game by going on a 22-7 run over the last seven minutes of the game.
The former MVP scored or assisted on 17 of those 22 points.
James Harden recorded his 42nd career 40-point double-double (40 pts, 12 assists) against the Hornets on Tuesday.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 5, 2020
That is the 2nd-most since the NBA-ABA merger (1976-77), trailing Shaquille O'Neal (43). pic.twitter.com/QemGXz81gx
In the final minute, with the game done, Harden nearly recorded a triple-double:
Austin Rivers stole the rebound that would have earned James Harden a triple-double 😅 pic.twitter.com/sQdHCd4HZ7- ESPN (@espn) February 5, 2020
House Jr. shines
Including Harden, the Rockets had six players in double figures. Danuel House Jr. was the pick of the supporting cast with a near double-double of 22 points (8-of-13 FG) and nine rebounds.
He also recorded three steals in his 42 minutes of action.
🎥 All 6 three pointers + a big time alley-oop tonight from @DanuelHouseJr. pic.twitter.com/Fd2ZwVp3kO- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 5, 2020
Hornets fight but fall short
The Hornets were competitive and battled hard in this one but they lost the plot in the last seven minutes.
Six players finished in double figures with Miles Bridges (20 points, 15 rebounds) and Devonte' Graham (16 points, 10 assists) recording double-doubles. The Hornets have gone 1-12 in the 13 games over the past month, ranking last in offensive efficiency (103.5) and 27th in defensive efficiency (115.9).
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