In Dwight Howard’s Big Houston Rockets Debut, James Harden Struggles
Dwight Howard’s debut for the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night to start the team’s 2013-14 NBA season was productive on a number of levels. For starters, the Rockets were able to open up their season with a 96-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats and, though they didn’t look exceptional, starting off with a victory is certainly the ideal way to begin the year with their new look.
On an individual level, Howard was impressive as well, setting a career-high with 26 rebounds in addition to 17 points on 8-14 shooting, two assists and two blocks. Though it was against Charlotte in the almost-always-crazy first game of the season, Dwight certainly looked like he’s ready for an enormous year in his first season in Houston.
One of the big reasons that it was so exciting for Howard to join the Rockets is because he would be playing alongside one of the best and most talented guards in the NBA in James Harden. However, as the Rockets notched their first win of the season and Howard impressed in his debut, Harden had a less-than-stellar showing.
Sure, Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 21 points on the evening, but he didn’t have a great game overall. He shot a decent 7-16 from the floor, but hit on only one of his six three-point attempts. Moreover, Harden contributed only five assists and three rebounds outside of his scoring and turned the ball over five times over the course of the game.
Harden’s performance isn’t a cause to overreact about his outlook for the season, but is more of a sign of how good this Houston team will be when everything is clicking. Charlotte isn’t a great team by any stretch, but they also aren’t a walk-over this season, either. For the Rockets to handle them by 13 points with Harden not playing incredibly well is undoubtedly a great sign for this team moving forward. If this is how well they can play with Harden not at his best, just think how good they can be as a team when he is.