The Houston Rockets didn't get much bench scoring on Saturday night, but when three starters pour in at least 20 points, it doesn't usually matter.
That was the case for the Rockets, who knocked off the Charlotte Bobcats 109-95 despite only getting 12 points from their bench. It was quite the opposite for the Bobcats, who got nearly 40 points from their bench, but the final score was all Houston in this one.
Behind 24 points a piece from Patrick Patterson and Chandler Parsons and a 21-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double from James Harden, the Rockets built an early lead and coasted down the stretch to post a convincing win over the lowly Bobcats.
Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin finished with 19 and nine points, respectively.
Kemba Walker had 24 points to lead the Bobcats, while Ramon Sessions had 20 off the bench in the loss. Charlotte gave up 58 points in the paint as the Rockets shot over 50 percent from the floor on the evening.
It was a scary night for Bobcats rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had to be carted off the floor in the third quarter after an apparent head injury left him clearly in pain. He finished with four points before leaving with the injury.
Houston moves to 26-23 with the win while Charlotte drops to 11-35.
Player of the Game: Houston Rockets G James Harden
Sixth man no more, Harden continues to prove his worth after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in an offseason deal prior to the 2012-13 season.
Averaging close to 26 points and two steals per game, Harden is getting it done on both ends of the court. That was on display on Saturday night as he compiled his first career triple-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Houston fans will hope it's the first of many, as Harden is turning out to be worth every asset the Rockets surrendered in the trade for the gun-slinging shooting guard.
Up Next for the Bobcats
The Bobcats don't have the league's best record, but they will travel to Miami to prove they can contend with the league's best on Monday. The Heat will await after returning from their most recent road trip, and it will be a good test for Charlotte to see where this team sits after over half of the season is now in the books.
Up Next for the Rockets
The Rockets will have a long weekend and stay in Houston until their next game, a Tuesday night showdown against the Denver Nuggets. The Rockets continue to stay in playoff position with wins like this one over Charlotte, but Denver will be a much more telling test of how Houston will fare down the stretch.