In the second outing for the Houston Rockets and James Harden in preseason, things went a lot smoother, beating a depleted Dallas Mavericks team 109-82, but at least there’s now one good game behind the man who declared himself to be the best player in the NBA.
Harden scored 19 points to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists on a not so impressive shooting night once again, but Harden has never been about efficiency. The Rockets like him taking shots and getting to the line. They’re willing, or forced to, live with the rest that comes with it, good and bad.
Harden didn’t have too much talent around him. With Dwight Howard, Ty Lawson, Trevor Ariza and Terrence Jones resting, having Patrick Beverley with him in the backcourt was more or less the only familiar face he had. Sam Dekker (12 points) was in the lineup next to him, and so was Clint Capela and Marcus Thornton. Off the bench, Corey Brewer had a good game with 16 points and K.J. McDaniels added 13 points. Beverley and Capela also added 12 points each.
But the Mavericks really didn’t send anyone to put up a fight in the second loss of their preseason. Not that Dallas are expected to do too well this season, but without Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, this was basically a tryout for guys to make the team, nothing else. John Jenkins led them with 19 points, J.J. Barea added 14 off the bench and Charlie Villanueva scored 10 points.
Harden got a little bit motivated during the game when Mavericks rookie Maurice Daly Ndour guarded him a bit too aggressively for Harden’s taste. Harden was almost delirious after making a 3-pointer over Ndour, shouting a “boom” that could be heard quite well. If it gets him going, than why not? Harden was 2-of-7 from beyond the arc in the win.