Following the Houston Rockets' 18-game winning streak being snapped by the Toronto Raptors with Friday night's 108-105 loss at Air Canada Centre, the current No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoff race may not be with superstar guard James Harden for Sunday's contest against the Dallas Mavericks on the road.
According to a tweet on Saturday evening from Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Harden is listed as questionable for Sunday with a sore left knee.
James Harden is questionable to play Sunday at Dallas with a sore left knee.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 11, 2018
James Harden, who had a game-high 40 points on an impressive 15-of-22 shots made from the field, rallied the Rockets all the way back from a huge first-half deficit to tie the game at 102-102 with just over two minutes to go in regulation. Unfortunately, the star guard's heroic effort was not enough against the East's top-seed Raptors as Harden missed what would've been the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
“We all have to be better,” Harden said after the loss, via Faigen. “It’s not Chris (Paul). It’s not me. It’s the entire team together. I turned the basketball over with less than a minute to go.”
However, Harden will be the first to admit that the Rockets cannot afford to take their foot off the gas right now, especially with the Golden State Warriors nipping at their heels.
“We keep the pressure on,” Harden said. “We have a goal to reach. No matter who we play, just try to learn and not relax.”
There is still an official decision to be made before the game as to whether Harden plays or not, but this is certainly a game that the Rockets can afford to actually give the frontrunner for the NBA Most Valuable Player award some rest to recover from his injury.