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Rockets Roundup: 12/12/14

A quick and digestible look at the most top-of-mind Rockets news of the past few days. 

ESPN.com. James Harden scores 44 points, including 10 in OT, to lift Rockets over Kings.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Although he struggled to hit shots in regulation, James Harden demonstrated in overtime why he’s the NBA’s leading scorer. Harden scored a season-high 44 points, including 10 in the extra period, and also had eight assists to lead the Houston Rockets over the Sacramento Kings 113-109 on Thursday night.

Houston Chronicle. Five things we learned in the Rockets’ 113-109 road win over the Kings on Thursday.

James Harden began the road trip questionable to play at all with back spasms. By Thursday, he sat for just 43 seconds in the second half, playing 83 minutes in the back-to-back before heading to overtime. Once there, Harden demonstrated again how unstoppable he can be, taking the ball to the basket to complete not just the Rockets’ comeback to the win, but his top-scoring game of the season under particularly difficult circumstances.

ESPN.com. Dwight Howard aims for Sat return.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Injured Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard said Wednesday that he’s aiming to return for the team’s game Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. Howard missed his 10th consecutive game with right knee soreness in Wednesday’s 105-93 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

ESPN.com. The real stars of the season so far.

Harden’s new commitment to defense appears to be real — and it makes him a legitimate MVP candidate. James Harden’s matador defense is the stuff of legend, not to mention viral YouTube videos. According to RPM, his reputation for atrocious D last season was fully justified: His defensive RPM value (minus-2.84) was among the league’s worst. Even his brilliant offensive play couldn’t completely offset the damage, as he was nowhere to be found among last season’s total RPM leaders.


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Houston Rockets 113, Sacramento Kings 109: Once more unto the breach, Harden. Once more.