In a battle of two of the NBA's worst defensive teams, the Houston Rockets snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Monday afternoon by a score of 100-94 in Time Warner Cable Arena.
Although Houston still had difficulty on defense against an inferior foe—particularly with Charlotte's Kemba Walker, who led all scorers with 35 points—it was nonetheless huge for this squad to pull out a road victory.
Despite a terrible day shooting from the floor, Rockets SG James Harden keyed a comeback from an 11-point halftime deficit by getting to the rim repeatedly. Harden wound up with a team-high 29 points on 19-of-21 from the line, including key shots down the stretch when Charlotte began fouling.
Emerging forward Marcus Morris also put forth a strong performance, scoring 21 points and snagging seven rebounds.
The Rockets ultimately cranked up the defense in the decisive fourth quarter, limiting the Bobcats to just 13 points.
Player of the Game: James Harden, G, Houston Rockets
It has been a troublesome stretch for Harden recently, as he has failed to find his stroke from the field. That has been a big reason for the Rockets' recent troubles.
The story was similar against the Bobcats, but Harden ultimately did his job—which is to score. It wasn't pretty, as he was just 5-of-20.
But that's what the star player has to do sometimes to pull a game out. Harden also had seven boards and dished out seven assists to get his teammates involved, then scored 12 of the team's 26 points in the final quarter.
Up Next for Rockets
Houston sits just above .500 with a 22-21 record, clinging to the Western Conference playoff race. The Rockets will look to keep the momentum going in a home contest with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday evening in the Toyota Center.
Up Next for Bobcats
This extremely young team plays far better at home, but needs to figure out how to put games away. Charlotte will get another shot at doing just that when they take on the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.