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James Harden questionable vs. Pelicans with right toe sprain

Houston Rockets guard James Harden is questionable for Sunday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans with an apparent right toe sprain, according to the latest NBA injury report.

Harden has yet to miss a game for the Rockets this year. Russell Westbrook has already been ruled out for the contest, though Houston is merely giving the star point guard a day of rest.

“The Beard” remains one of the most controversial and polarizing stars in the NBA. He is averaging 38.3 points per game after hanging 44 on the Nets on Saturday, and he is evidently one of the greatest scorers of the modern era.

But some fans and former players are not too enamored with the way in which he gets his points. Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley have both made statements about Harden’s game, though the former MVP could care less about what his critics think (via Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports):

“People can overlook that, or want to talk about the negative things, or the things they feel like they can talk about to belittle what I’m doing,” Harden said. “But I’ll continue to do it because guess what? I’m not going to stop working.”

Harden’s tremendous offensive season has powered the Rockets to a 22-10 start, good enough for third place in the Western Conference. He’s averaging a career-high 38.3 points per game along with 5.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.9 steals.

Houston can hang with the best teams in the league, having defeated the Los Angeles Clippers twice and also beating the Miami Heat earlier in the season. Harden’s ability to impact the game in a number of areas is a major reason for the success.

Love him or hate him, you cannot deny Harden’s credibility as a winner in a loaded West this season.