James Harden hoping to keep ‘head above water’ until Chris Paul, Clint Capela return
The Houston Rockets were dealt their biggest loss of the season during a 121-93 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. James Harden scored 37 points in three quarters, but sat during the fourth quarter with the game already out of hand. “The Beard” is hoping his recent scoring barrage can help him keep his team afloat until All-Star backcourt mate Chris Paul and center Clint Capela are able to return from their injuries.
“A rough stretch,” said Harden, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Chris goes out. We get Austin luckily. Clint goes out. We get Kenneth luckily. Lose D-House. As long as we can keep our head above water until these guys get back,… we’re good. We know as a healthy unit, we can beat anybody.”
The Rockets have been plagued by injuries and inconsistencies throughout the whole season, going from a franchise-best 65-win campaign to once again fighting to remain in the playoff picture with a 26-20 record. Despite being fifth in the West Houston isn’t short in competition, being merely a game away from falling out of playoff contention.
Harden’s surreal scoring run now has him owner of the best scoring average since Michael Jordan won the scoring title in 1987-88 with 37.1 points per game. Yet the Rockets have gone a mere 5-5 this calendar year after closing out 2018 by winning 10 of their previous 11 games.
The Rockets are in a dire situation and have tried to patch the hole in the boat with as many free agents as they can get their hands on. They have burned through Danuel House’s 45 days with the team, and recently signing Kenneth Faried to a deal.
Assuming the Carmelo Anthony trade finally goes through, the Rockets will be looking to make one more addition soon to give them enough bodies to trot out the next few weeks.