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NBA ? James Harden skyrockets in Houston


PhilBoxing.com




?Beardsanity? James Harden, the new Houston Rockets main man, is now ranked number four in NBA scoring with an average of 25.2 points per game behind Kobe Bryant (27.5 ppg), Kevin Durant (25.7 ppg), and Carmelo Anthony (25.3 ppg). He is ahead of No.5 scorer LeBron James (24.8 ppg).

Kevin Love actually has the highest scoring average of 29.0 ppg but he just returned from a hand injury and played only two games so far for Minnesota Timberwolves. The six top scorers were all teammates in the gold-winning 2012 US Olympic basketball team.

Harden also averages 4.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game in 38.4 minutes per game. He was traded to the Houston Rockets, after failing to agree on a contract extension. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey described Harden a "foundational" player for them to return as a championship contender. His contract for the Rockets is a whooping $80 million for five years.

He played college basketball for the Arizona State Sun Devils, where he was named an All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009.

Harden was drafted 3rd overall by the Thunder in the 2009 NBA Draft. In his rookie season, he saw action in 75 games averaging 9.9 points ppg. He was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In his second year, he played all 82 games of the 2010-2011 regular season, averaging 12.2 ppg.

Harden started only in seven games in his three-year stay with the Thunder and only played as a backup for Durant and Russel Westbrook (No. 9 in league scoring with 21.2 ppg). They entered the NBA Finals last year losing to the Miami Heat, 3-2. He averaged 16.8 ppg in his third and final season at Oklahoma City, winning the NBA Sixth Man Award, and only 12.7 ppg in three seasons as a reserve for the Thunder.

He immediately drew an impact on his first game with Houston garnering impressive statistics ? 37 points, 12 assists and four steals. It was the most exciting performance of a Rocket player since Hakeem Olajuwon. He scored a career-high 45 points over the Atlanta Hawks last November 2, 2012.

Harden scored 33 points when the Rockets easily defeated the New York Knicks, 131-103 in Houston. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 31 and Jeremy Lin added 13 points in his first game against his former team.

New York suffered their third loss and their first back-to-back thrashing this season while Houston only has a 6-7 win-loss slate so far, same as that of the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, which is good for 10th place at the Western conference team standings.

Harden?s lowest output was 6 points when he felt sick with a fever and upper-respiratory infection before the game with the Utah Jazz on the road which they lost 102-91 on November 19.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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