1-on-1 with James Harden after win over Knicks
The Rockets first opportunity in 2014 to turn over a new leaf and really come out with their best effort came and went on Friday night against the Knicks.
Their effort was more of the same that saw them lose each of their last two games, with one significant difference. They won. They beat the Knicks 102-100, with a couple of key stops late and a pair of free throws from Aaron Brooks.
James Harden led the Rockets with 37 points, including 27 in the second half. Chandler Parsons added 17 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The Rockets were down 81-73 after three quarters, but they held the Knicks to just 5-of-20 shooting in the fourth quarter and outscored them 29-19 in the period. It’s just their third win in 12 games when trailing heading into the fourth quarter.
“It an ugly game, we didn’t play good, we didn’t shoot the ball well, I’m just glad we one,” Chandler Parsons said. “We’re scratching and we are fighting right now and not a lot is going our way, but that’s a good, tough win with a great home crowd.
“I’m happy to come out of there with a win,” Parsons said. “We can definitely learn from this and get better, because it wasn’t pretty.”
Houston fell behind in the third quarter as the allowed the Knicks to make 13 of their 22 shots. Houston forced just one turnover and the Knicks Iman Shumpert made three of his six 3-pointers in the third quarter. Shumpert nearly posted a second consecutive career high in points, after scoring a career-high 27 last night in the Knicks win over San Antonio and followed it up tonight with 26 points.
The eight-point deficit opening the fourth quarter was quickly wiped out and the Rockets took back the lead in less than three minutes. Aaron Brooks and Francisco Garcia hit back-to-back threes to complete a 10-1 run and give the Rockets a one-point lead.
Harden scored 11 of the Rockets final 19 points to carry them to the finish. He hit all three of his shots from the field and all four of his free throws.
“That’s what superstars do, they take over and they put their team on their back,” Jeremy Lin said about Harden’s performance. That’s what he did for us tonight. We’re lucky to have him.”
Harden has 75 points over his last two games, with 53 of those points coming in the second halves of the two games.
“He’s one of the best scorers in the league and I used to hate guarding him,” Parsons said. “I know how difficult he is to guard. It’s fun to have him on your side at the end of games because he’s such a good closer.”