Rockets step up games in Harden's absence

Rockets step up games in Harden's absence
March 31, 2013, 12:45 am
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Rockets pull together without Harden

As their superstar looked on from the bench while resting a sore foot, the rest of the Rockets came together and played like superstars as a team in a 98-81 win over the Clippers.

The team found out shortly before Saturday's tip-off that James Harden would miss the game with a sore right foot. It was a flare-up of the same injury suffered Feb. 13 against the Warriors when Harden stepped on David Lee's foot as he drove to the basket.

The team still managed to rally without the league's fifth-leading scorer at 26 points a game, who also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

"It was a total team effort," said Chandler Parsons, who was one of three Rockets with 15 points. "When you've got a guy that goes down as good as James and how much impact he has on our team, it gives chances for other guys to step up. Francisco (Garcia) played unbelievable. James Anderson, we didn't miss a beat with him in the starting lineup. Patrick Beverley was great again. Everybody just chipped in and played their role and played so unselfish."

"Everybody chipped in," said Jeremy Lin, who also scored 15. "If you look across the board, there's no one who did anything spectacular. It was just everybody doing their role, their job. That's what you need. We lose our best player. Everyone else has to rally and pitch in a little bit here, a little bit there, to fill in the holes."

One of the key guys who stepped up with his increased role was Francisco Garcia. Off the bench, he tied Lin and Parsons for the team lead with 15 points.

"When your best player's out, everybody's got to step up," Garcia said. "That what we did tonight. We stayed together. We played as a team. We got the win as a team. And that's what we've got to keep doing."