Sports

James Harden leads Rockets past Hornets, 118-113

Wednesday night’s NBA action included a return to the basketball court for Houston Rockets star James Harden. In his first game back since missing several with an illness, Harden achieved another game with at least 30 points.

As reported by ESPN, Harden had a 30-point night after shooting 10-for-29 from the field. He also gave out seven assists to teammates, hauled in three rebounds, and had two steals in the effort. That helped Houston hold off the Hornets by a final of 118-113. Also contributing in the victory were Clint Capela and Chris Paul. Capela scored 23 points and collected 17 rebounds, while Paul scored 20 points to go with 10 assists.

On the other side, it was NBA All-Star Kemba Walker leading the way. Walker scored a team-high 35 points in a losing effort. Teammate Jeremy Lamb came in from the bench to score 18 points and also grabbed 14 rebounds. Even though Charlotte out-rebounded the Rockets 48-37 and shot 47 percent for the game, it wasn’t enough. Houston also had 15 points off the bench from Gerald Green.

After the game, Chris Paul admitted that Kemba Walker was a tough defensive assignment for him. “I would rather not (guard Walker) as much as possible, but I also like playing defense,” the Rockets’ guard said. Walker shot 12-for-22 for the game and is considered tough to guard due to how quickly he can change his pace. Still, Houston was able to hold him and the rest of the Hornets off to preserve a win.

The latest victory pushed the Houston Rockets’ record to 36-25 for the season. They’re currently No. 5 in the Western Conference and trailing the Portland Trail Blazers by two games for the fourth spot. Next up, they’ll host the Miami Heat on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Eastern Time).

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets are still battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They fell to 28-33 with the latest loss and are sitting in the No. 8 spot in the East with Orlando just a half game behind them. They return to action on Friday when they visit the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.