Houston Rockets Overcome James Harden Absence

By Robert White
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Without All-Star guard James Harden, the Houston Rockets still managed a surprise-road win to close out a successful March.

The Rockets smashed the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night 98-81 thanks to a team effort absent in recent losses to Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers.

Harden, a revelation this season, missed the Clippers match up due to a sore right foot sustained in Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies. Harden still managed 27 minutes, but registered his first single-digit scoring output of the season.

Coach Kevin McHale told the Associated Press that Harden’s foot had been bothering him for some time and insinuated that the minor injury could result in the star shooting guard missing a couple more games.

Harden has sprained his ankle twice already this season. Both instances, Dec. 10 and Feb. 12, caused him to miss a game.

The Rockets found a way to win the important Clipper match up and halt a two game losing streak thanks to a number of solid contributions. Beleaguered guard Jeremy Lin broke out of his own mini-slump to score 15 points, while Francisco Garcia and Chandler Parsons also contributed 15 apiece. Omer Asik added 13.

Despite lacking Los Angeles’ inside size, Houston managed to outscore the Clippers 48-26 in the paint. Led by Patrick Beverley and Carlos Delfino, the Rockets’ bench also outscored the Clippers’ 39-31.

Houston’s win gave the team a two-and-half game advantage over eighth placed Utah Jazz and keeps them within a game and a half of the sixth seeded Golden State Warriors.

Robert White covers the Houston Rockets for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.

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