There are only two things that can slow down James Harden and the Houston Rockets. In no particular order those two things are injuries and the Golden State Warriors. The former is currently hampering the Rockets’ star. James Harden is dealing with a knee bruise.
Heading into the Christmas season, just over one-third of the NBA schedule has been played, and the Rockets find themselves with the best record in the league. That is somewhat inconceivable with Chris Paul having only appeared in 10 games. The engine which kept the Houston Rockets going has been James Harden.
James Harden led the Rockets well in Chris Paul’s absence. An incredible thought is that the Rockets are undefeated with Paul running the offense.
James Harden and Chris Paul have played seamlessly together. However, with the potential of being slowed down by his knee bruise there is a fear that Harden may miss a few games.
James Harden has done what he can to quell any notion that he will miss time. According to ESPN, Harden will play through the pain.
While it is perhaps wise for James Harden to sit, the Houston Rockets could be helped by every win they can muster. Holding off the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference is important for Harden and the Rockets.
The Rockets currently are two games ahead of the Warriors in the loss column. The Warriors have been hobbled by injuries to both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Curry is much closer to a Warriors return than Green is, according to Yahoo Sports.
Curry sprained his ankle (courtesy of NBA.com) a couple of weeks ago and has been out ever since.
Draymond Green is dealing with a shoulder injury, which has him upset, according to the Mercury News.
The Warriors have not lost much ground with both Curry and Green saddled. The Rockets want to gain every edge that they can.
To do that James Harden must play.
Defensively is where James Harden may struggle the most. Primarily Harden’s lateral quickness will be hampered as a result of his bruised knee.
Eventually the Houston Rockets will sneak in a game or two for rest. After facing the Utah Jazz, the Rockets will play the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. It is possible that the Rockets can rest James Harden on one of those games.
The Houston Rockets must also avoid further injuries. The Rockets have a 24-6 record that can continue to improve if things go well.