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Rockets’ James Harden knows defense must be better after giving up 158 points to Wizards

Rockets, James Harden, Wizards

Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden scored 59 points in Wednesday night’s 159-158 victory over the Washington Wizards. It was a historic night with regards to offense, but The Beard knows his team’s defense will need to improve going forward.

According to ESPN, Houston and Washington combined to score the most points in any NBA game decided by a single point. Harden logged 38 minutes, scoring a whopping 59 points on 18-of-32 shooting from the field (6-of-14 from beyond the arc) while also recording nine assists, three rebounds and one steal. The former Arizona State standout had 38 points in the second half alone and knocked down 17 of his 18 attempts at the free-throw line.

Clearly, the Rockets had no problem scoring, but neither did the Wizards. Washington finished Wednesday’s game with a 62.6 percent mark from the field and made 20-of-36 3-pointers. For comparison, Houston went 53.4 percent from the field and made 42.6 percent of their 3s.

To be a title team, Harden understands the defense must be better:

“The only to get to where we want to go is with our defensive efforts,” James Harden said, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “It has to be consistent. Right now, we’re not consistent and that’s why we go through tough times throughout the course of the game. That’s what the course of the year is for. We’re just trying to build those habits and continue to keep building them.

“Just stay with it, stay with it. We have to play even harder defensively. Offensively, we score so easy that we just relax at times. I think if we keep our focus on the defensive end consistently will be 15 points. We’ve been through that every game so far, so it’s a learning process, but just happy we can make the winning process.”

Bradley Beal had 46 points for the Wizards. It wasn’t enough in the end, though, as Harden sealed the game with a free throw in the closing seconds.

Harden and the Rockets will be back in action on Friday night, as they’re scheduled for a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. Tip-off inside the Barclays Center is set for 7:00 p.m. ET, with ESPN having live broadcast coverage.