The Houston Rockets grabbed another win and are now preparing for their next game.
Check out the latest news and rumors below.
Howard Not Coming Back Soon
Dwight Howard isn’t expected to come back from injury soon.
Coach Kevin McHale said after Saturday’s win that Howard, along with guard Isaiah Canaan (ankle sprain), forward Terrence Jones (left leg nerve inflammation), and forward Kostas Papanikolaou (knee strain) won’t be coming back “anytime soon.”
“It would be nice to get everybody else back, but that won’t be happening any time soon,” he said.
That update came several days after McHale indicated that Howard could be ready to play the Golden State Warriors on December 10.
Howard told the Houston Chronicle on December 2 that he’s making progress but doesn’t want to rush back.
“It’s basically the second day I was able to get out and do some sprints on the floor. Other than that, it’s just been on the treadmill and doing some court work,” he said.
“So, today was a lot better than the past couple of days. A lot of the stuff is going away. We have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. The trainer (Jason Biles) has been doing a great job trying to get rid of the pain that I’m having around my knee and we’ll go from there.”
“I don’t think it is smart for me to try to rush anything,” Howard said. “When I’m 100 percent or close to it, that’s when I’ll play. I don’t want to give my teammates and the city nothing but the best, so I’m not going to get out there until I’m ready to do everything I can do.”
Harden Will Win MVP
A number of blogs and analysts are pegging James Harden as the early MVP favorite.
Bleacher Report listed some reasons.
“Harden has done some phenomenal things with a not-so-great supporting cast for Houston this season. He has kept up the scoring but has added the passing, rebounding and most importantly, the defense. He has made a great case for himself to earn MVP honors for 2014-15,” it said.
“Harden is still as good a scorer as there is in the NBA. He can shoot with the best of them and get to the free-throw line at will. It’s his other contributions that deserve all the attention. Harden has improved as a facilitator this season. His 6.5 assists per game are far greater than his career average. Even with all of the injuries, Harden is still able to get his teammates involved. His patience with the ball in his hands and his keen ability to see the open man when drawing a double-team have been the entire offense for Houston.
“Without Harden in the game, the Rockets offense is historically bad, but his presence changes everything. The most impressive improvement to Harden’s game by far is his defense. He is clearly refocused on that end, averaging 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Believe it or not, despite all of those videos of his lazy defense, Harden currently leads the league in defensive win shares. I can’t make this stuff up!
“The Beard is fifth in the league in offensive win shares, but it’s his defense that’s winning games. With 75 percent of his starting mates on the sidelines, he is continuously leading his team to victory on both ends of the floor. If that doesn’t deserve MVP, I don’t know what does.”
Harden is averaging 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game in 36.9 minutes.
He’s shooting 41 percent from field goal range but is also getting to the free throw line almost 10 times a game.