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Overall Grade: A
For those concerned about James Harden's sudden decrease in production, temper your fears. The Bearded One returned to his All-NBA caliber form against the New Orleans Hornets.
After New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis had held down the paint throughout the first quarter, Harden stepped up in the second period of play.
Harden attacked with no fear, setting the tone for the rest of his teammates. On his own, Harden finished the first half with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, with most points coming off of the drive.
Such led to 4-of-5 shooting from the line during the first half, as well.
During the second half, Harden and the Rockets abandoned ball movement and began to play isolation basketball. As a result, they allowed the Hornets to outscore them 31-21 in the third quarter and get back into the game.
Fortunately for Houston, The Beard was strong.
Harden continued to produce at a high level, even as their offense entered isolation mode. He'd score 11 second half points and dish out key assists down the stretch, further establishing his status as the team's leader.
For the game, Harden would finish with 30 points, four assists, three rebounds and one block. A pleasant change from what Harden had been doing in recent games.