HOUSTON — James Harden splashed 3-pointer No. 3 in the second quarter, subsequently turned to Torrey Craig and told me what the remainder of the Denver Nuggets would soon learn Monday in a 125-113 loss to the Houston Rockets.
“You can’t guard me,” he said.
It was not for lack of trying. Denver attacked Harden ancient with double and traps teams on nearly every possession, causing the point guard putting up only one shooter in the forthcoming quarter.
Gerald Green also chipped in 21 points, as the Rockets connected on 2-2 3 pointers to snap Denver’s five-game winning series.
“It seems just like each and every match I see that a double club or 2 on the chunk mostly every possession. Therefore I’ve got to find out ways to impact the match; figure out ways not to only score, but get guys involved.”
Harden certainly did this following having a relatively rough beginning in which he scored four points in the first quarter — all from the free-throw line.
Harden produced his 10th match with 30 points and 10 assists this season, which ranks as the many from the NBA, as no additional player in the league has received more than three such outings. Perhaps Harden’s most shameful order came near the conclusion of the second quarter.
Harden didn’t connect on his first field goal attempt until there was only 1 minute, 49 seconds remaining in the opening half, and he did it in dramatic manner. Remember the Harden crossover last season that delivered Wesley Johnson stumbling to the ground before Harden hit a 3? He produced a reboot of that show on Monday, this time with Jamal Murray functioning as prey of the 27-foot step-back 3 which led in a foul shot which the MVP would create.
James Harden goes contrary to the back to split down Jamal Murray and follows up by splashing a 3-pointer.
Harden scored 10 of his 18 points in the first half over that previous 1:49.
“He had a boatload of points, and so they double teamed him every play, which is incredible,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni explained. “Plus, at halftime, I presume he had 18 points on six photos. His efficacy has been off the charts. Anything that throw at him, he will come across the best play. He will also find a method to score. He will find his manner, but he will get everyone involved.”
After thumping his first basket, then Harden hit the next 3 on Houston’s next trip down the court before creating another with 16.8 seconds left in the half over Craig.
The Nuggets hard-trapped Harden over the perimeter in the first half, and he adjusted by making lots of pinpoint bounce passes inside, cross-court extends to the corners along with lobs from the lane. Tucker and Capela, Harden’s primary screeners, together for 34 points in the opening half, together with Tucker hitting 5 from deep, mostly on corner 3s.
Clint Capela gets the entrance pass and climbs upon the baseline to mash home a potent twohanded jam over Trey Lyles.
Once Capela started rolling, Houston was in total control, as Denver didn’t understand whether to keep on guarding the perimeter collapse indoors to help the Rockets big man.
“I like the fact that when Clint Capela gets there down, in the place of sometimes kicking it back out, person be competitive and go get a bucket as you’ve got to guard which,” Green explained. “And that wears on you through the course of the match, and now was a prime case. They didn’t understand whether to help Clint Capela and also leave the 3 open. I think this is exactly why I have plenty of shots. As soon as we’ve got all cylinders clicking, we’re tough to beat.”
Meanwhile, Capela has scored 20 points or more in 14 games this season, and the Rockets are 23-3 since last season when he scores 20 points or longer.
Capela’s career landmark took on extra meaning having achieved it going face to face to Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who headed Denver with 24 points yet added a season-high eight turnovers.
“From the defense that they gave , whenever I am under the rim, and now you put a little on me, what’s likely to occur is that 99 [to] 100 percent of the time, I am gonna dunk the ball,” Capela explained. “So that is what happened tonight. I have done a good job of completing competitive under the rim. That’s the type of game which I WIShed to have. This means that a lot.”