For a lock-down defender, James Harden had things going offensively. Actually, for a high-scoring All-Star shooting guard, he had things going offensively. He finished drives, hit jumpers, made good decisions. He threw down a violent spike of a slam and finished with a 3-pointer. And no one seemed to care. Harden might have clanged his way through a 3-of-17 shooting game in Wednesday’s home loss to Phoenix, missing all 10 of his 3-pointers, but to many the greater shortcoming might have been on the defensive end. He seemed among that group. By Friday, when it was time for Harden and the Rockets to make amends, it was not about high-scoring and rapid-firing offense. He would measure himself and the Rockets would repair themselves with, of all things, defense. With a renewed devotion to defense, the Rockets blew out the high-scoring, sharp-shooting Warriors 105-83 by reducing them into one of that run of teams routed in Toyota Center last month. “If we don’t get after it on the defensive end it’s going to be tough for us,” Harden said. “Our mindset is to get stops and get out in transition. We did a good job early in the game putting pressure on their guards and got things going our way.” The Rockets held the Warriors to their worst shooting (35.5 percent) and worst 3-point shooting (12.5) game of the season, limiting them to season lows in 3s (two) and assists (10). The Rockets, who collected a season-high 14 steals while blocking nine shots, held the Warriors to a season-low 12 first-quarter points, fewer than any team has scored against the Rockets in any quarter this year.
Rockets’ defense steps up in win over Warriors
Houston Chronicle | Dec 7