Time to Fear the Beard

"The Beard" is back and is on a hot streak. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
“The Beard” is back and on a hot streak. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Rodney Fisher

If you have been keeping up with my weekly Rockets report, then you know I have been critical of James Harden in the past for taking too much offense away from the other players. Mainly from Dwight Howard. Since we began 2014, the Houston Rockets have won 3-out-4 games, and James Harden is the main reason. Opposing teams need to “Fear the Beard”.

No other NBA player has been on a scoring tear like Harden. In the last four games he has averaged 31.3 points, and leads all scorers in all four. He is currently fifth in the league with a season average of 24.9, but not even league leader Kevin Durant has had a better stretch.

Harden’s scoring barrage can be linked to his better shot selection. This month he has shot an incredible 52.9% from the field. He has made improvement from the three point line also, making 12-of-25 (48%).

James has not just shot the ball well, but he is up in other categories also. His teammates are not complaining. With four players on the roster injured, including Chandler Parsons, they need all the scoring they can get.

In perspective, the teams the Rockets have played are a combined 64-82. The upcoming week features only one of the four games against a team with a winning record. That team is the Oklahoma City Thunder, which ironically can be argued as the reason for Harden’s stellar performance. On December 29th, the Rockets suffered their worst loss of the season 117-86 in Chesapeake Arena. Harden played 30 minutes in the blowout and scored eight points making two shots total from the field.

The next game Harden returned with 38 points in a loss to the Sacramento Kings on New Year’s Eve to start his scoring run. The Rockets will need to let “The Beard” continue this week.

Upcoming Schedule
1/13  @Celtics       6:30 PM
1/15  @Pelicans    7:00 PM
1/16  vs Thunder   8:30 PM
1/18  vs Bucks       7:00 PM