Houston Rockets Can't Afford To Have James Harden Miss More Games

By John Raffel
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets proved Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers that they can win without superstar James Harden.

But they would just as soon not have to prove that again for the rest of the regular season.

Harden was sitting out because of a sore right foot. The Rockets posted a huge 98-81 win with Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin scoring 15 points apiece. The Rockets ended a two-game losing streak and are 12-3 in their last 15 games.

Coach Kevin McHale said afterwards that Harden’s status remains uncertain. He’s been battling the foot problem for awhile, had a shot in his foot a few weeks ago and played through it. He wasn’t able to play on Saturday but the Rockets came through nicely and picked up a critical victory.

McHale is just hoping Harden gets over it since he obviously is the key behind Houston’s 40-33 record and drive to the NBA West playoffs. A healthy Harden gives Houston a chance to have a strong post-season.

Harden’s numbers continue to be impressive. He’s at 26 points, 5.8 assists and 47 rebounds a game.

He’s shooting 44.4 percent from the floor but Harden’s excellent 85.8 percent clip from the free-throw line makes him even more valuable if he can keep driving hard to the basket and draw fouls.

The Rockets just need to make sure Harden comes back with a healthy right foot. Taking a chance with it and risking further injury would be insane. But as the playoffs draw near, the Rockets definitely need him in the lineup regardless of how they did Saturday without Harden.

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