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Home / Sports / James Harden and Houston Rockets answer questions, but the real test is yet to come | Bleacher Report

James Harden and Houston Rockets answer questions, but the real test is yet to come | Bleacher Report



  HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 13: Houston Rocket's James Harden # 13 reacts after a three-point shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter at the Toyota Center on November 13, 2019 in Houston, Texas. NOTICE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that he / she will accept the terms of the Getty Images License Agreement by downloading and / or using this photo. (Photo by Bob Levey / Getty Images)

Bob Levey / Getty Images

When James Harden takes on a game, he scores 1

7 of his 47 points in the fourth quarter and hauls the Houston Rockets to victory over a Los Angeles Clippers team , which is considered by most to be higher in the candidate hierarchy, would like to draw far-reaching conclusions.

You want to see Houston's filthy victory of 102: 93, won without rotation racks like Eric Gordon and Danuel House Jr., as a harbinger of what's coming. As proof that Harden and the rockets can defeat the best of the best, that their extreme style of play – from the selection of punches to the overwhelming dependence on one player – works in shootouts as well as in battles with poor results.

And look, Harden was masterful.

He navigated through switches and traps. He split in the doubles and gave up the ball if he had to. The reigning top scorer continued his season-opener as never before, as the NBA was a nine-man league in which three chain-smoked cigarettes were acceptable pick-them-up at halftime.