The Houston Rockets were incredible in their Game 1 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. This was thanks in large part to another awesome performance by Rockets superstar James Harden, who himself was quick to deflect the praise back to his teammates.

According to Harden, it was Houston's defense that proved to be the key factor in their win in the opener:

“Our defense. That’s what’s going to get us where we want to go. I keep preaching it, but defensively, if we’re engaged … this is the best team in the West. If we can hold them under 100 points defensively, we got something. Just keep that same mindset,” Harden said, via Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports.

And hold LA below 100 they did on Friday. The lopsided contest finished 112-97, with the Lakers, not the Rockets, looking like the over-matched team here.

Harden was excellent in this one, finishing with a game-high 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting, to go with two rebounds, five dimes, two steals, and a block in 34 minutes of action. The former MVP was pretty much unstoppable for the Rockets in Game 1, with the Lakers unable to find an answer for him.

As Harden expressed above, however, much credit has to be given to Houston's very impressive defense on Friday against one of the best offensive teams in the league right now. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis started relatively strong in this one, but the Rockets clamped down on both stars, deeming them relatively unproductive, particularly in the fourth period.

The Rockets are in a great position to upset the top-seeded Lakers, with Game 2 of this series scheduled for Sunday.