Highlights: Harden, Rockets blow out Kings
On this week's edition of Rockets Scoop, NBA analyst Damon Jones suggested the game against the Kings on Tuesday night could be a trap game, since Houston was nearing the end of a long road trip and were set to play the Clippers the following night. If it was a trap game, then it was the Rockets setting the traps and the Kings stumbling into them at every turn.
James Harden caught fire in the first quarter and the Rockets coasted to a dominant 129-103 victory. Harden scored 22 points in the first quarter and had a season high 43 points in the game without playing a second after the third.
Houston took the lead for good less than two and a half minutes into the game and simply blew past the Kings from that point on. The Rockets were up ten points less than halfway through the first quarter and were up 25 when it was complete. Harden scored the final 18 points of the quarter for Houston over the final 3:45 of the period and the rout was on.
Dwight Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, despite an injury scare. He banged knees with DeMarcus Cousins just over seven minutes into the game. He stayed on the ground briefly, then limped to the bench and locker room. He would return shortly after with a compression sleeve on his right leg and showed no signs of being slowed down.
Jordan Hamilton saw his first action with the Rockets and scored 12 points in 24 minutes, hitting 4-of-7 shots, including 2-of-3 from beyond the 3-point line.
The game was over when
The Rockets took advantage of their great defensive rebounding in the first quarter to get out and run the Kings out of the building. They did not allow a single offensive rebound in the first quarter to the Kings and scored 18 fast break points in the quarter to establish a lead that was never threatened.
Highlight of the night
The last of Harden's 18 consecutive first-quarter points came on his second 3-pointer of the quarter and gave him 22 points in the quarter. That's the most points by a Rockets player in a quarter this season and tied him for the third most points by a Rockets player in a quarter in team history.
Numbers of the night
Houston's season high point total entering their five game road trip was 126 points, scored against Portland on Jan. 20. Tonight was the second time in the first four games of the road trip they surpassed that total. They scored 134 points to open the trip in Los Angeles, when they beat the Lakers 134-108.
Houston will finally finish their longest road trip of the season on Wednesday night in Los Angeles to face the Clippers. The Rockets have been beaten by the Clippers in both meetings, 137-118 in Los Angeles and 107-94 in Houston. They will meet one more time in Houston on March 29. Houston is currently the third seed in the west, with the Clippers the fourth seed.