Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – Before the game Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brent Brown said the numbers James Harden is putting up this year is down right crazy.
“James’s numbers are daunting,” Brown said. “They are completely sort of intimidating.”
Hours later Brown was forced to see Houston’s superstar destroy his team’s defense while he racked up 33 points as the Houston Rockets beat the 76ers in a rout 115-88.
Coming off a tough loss to the San Antonio Spurs just days before, the Rockets Monday night brought their A+ game and wasted no time establishing themselves.
Harden in the first quarter was unreal scoring, without missing a field goal or free-throw he put on 23 points.
“No one can guard James, but on a night like tonight, he just doesn’t miss, he’s incredible,” Ryan Anderson said.
The 76ers in the quarter used defender after defender, but it didn’t matter to Harden. Former Rocket Robert Covington along with Gerald Henderson, and TJ McConnel all spent time trying to slow the beard down but nothing worked.
Harden’s 23 points would help put the team up 38-26 after one, and it didn’t get much closer after that as the Rockets would keep adding to their lead at one point pushing it to a 29 point game.
Harden’s offensive outburst is nothing unusual to the Rockets, but the defensive had their own A+ game as they held the 76ers to 37 percent from the field.
The biggest defensive star Monday came from Clint Capela. After a few early buckets by Joel Embiid, Capela woke up and became the rim defender the team has been looking for.
Capela would change shot after shot, while he also had a career-high five blocks to go with his 13 rebounds.
“That’s the type of effort were going to need from him no matter who we play,” Harden said of Capela’s night. “If he plays like that were going to be really good.”
The offense put up a lot of points, but the team seemed happier at the way they defended and were locked in for a full game. The 76ers made a few runs, but the Rockets would answer each run and extend the lead even more.
“I thought they came out with the right intensity, they came out the way we should of,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said.
It may have been just a win over the 76ers, but games like this gave the Rockets a lot of trouble last year. This year the Rockets took care of business from start to finish.