Yet another Houston Rockets win can be chalked down as a ‘James Harden show’ as the team’s MVP and maybe the league’s leading contender for the award scored a buzzer beating jumper to cap off another great performance in a 113-111 win over the Phoenix Suns.
The Rockets were left with one possession after the game was tied at 111-111. Harden is actually the best player in the NBA when it comes to ‘last shots’ and there wasn’t anything complicated about this one. He dribbled down the clock with P.J. Tucker guarding him, faked to his left and ignored the pitiful attempt at help defense from Isaiah Thomas to hit a little fade away from just inside the arc and leave 0 seconds for the Suns to try and tie it up again.
Harden made life very difficult for Tucker in general, including a brutal ankle breaker that ended with a posterizing dunk. Harden scored 33 points, and according to ESPN is 13-for-23 on game-tying and go-ahead field goal attempts in the final 24 seconds in his career. That’s 56.5% shooting — the highest field goal percentage of any player with at least 20 attempts since Harden entered the league in 2009-10. The league average over that span is just 28.7%.
He also had 10 assists, scoring 14 (out of 17 shots) points from the line. Dwight Howard lasted only 8 minutes that included a surprising 3-pointer. Patrick Beverley helped out with 14 points, 12 of them from three-point range, with Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Donatas Motiejunas (15 points) adding considerable scoring help as well. After the recent drubbings they got from the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets needed a pick-me-up in the form of a dramatic win.