The Houston Rockets will have their star shooting James Harden back on the floor after a seven-game absence, but will appear in limited minutes, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Harden will likely play 24-25 minutes per a prior report.
Luc Mbah A Moute is expected to start for the suspended Trevor Ariza, as Harden soaks in the most of Gerald Green’s minutes, who is also facing suspension. Both players were banned for two games without pay for their part in a Monday night post-game locker room fiasco at Staples Center, where Rockets players infiltrated the home locker room, reportedly seeking out forward Blake Griffin and later guard Austin Rivers.
The Rockets are reportedly upset that only their players were suspended, as neither Rivers or Griffin merited even a slap on the wrist from the league office.
Harden, along with Chris Paul, and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan were viewed as the “peacemakers” on the scene, trying to de-escalate the situation, as tempers flew high.
The Beard hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring during a New Year’s Eve matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets have gone a mere 4-3 through that stretch, still holding onto second place in a heavily-contested Western Conference race.
Harden’s league-leading 32.3 points per game should provide a sure-fire scoring punch for this team, even if he’s being eased back into the fold due to the nature of his injury.
Houston will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves today before hosting the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at the Toyota Center.