A pair of NBA All-Stars had a bit of a duel of Monday evening in Houston with one outscoring the other in a rare sight. Kemba Walker showed his skills with 40 points as the Hornets’ leader but ultimately the game went in favor of James Harden’s Rockets.
Per ESPN’s report, Kemba Walker put up 40 points for the night on 14-for-20 shooting. The Hornets All-Star also had seven assists along with 10 rebounds but in a losing effort. Meanwhile, James Harden wasn’t having the best of shooting nights, finishing 7-for-21 with 28 points. Harden also had 10 assists, six rebounds, and three steals in his team’s 118-106 victory.
Harden had a bit of help from several teammates too. Eric Gordon shot 7-for-14 in the game and recorded 22 points, while Clint Capela came up with another double-double. Capela tallied 19 points, 15 boards, and two assists.
The Rockets took control of the game from the start as they surged to a first-quarter lead, 38-19. By halftime, the Hornets were down 71-43. Charlotte mounted a bit of a comeback in the third quarter, as they won it 36-22, but the Rockets pulled away to keep the lead in the final quarter.
The Hornets had 15 points off the bench from Frank Kaminsky, as well as 13 points from rookie Dwayne Bacon, and 12 from rookie Miles Bridges. Both players could be integral pieces of a Hornets’ starting lineup next season, depending on how the Hornets’ draft goes.
The Rockets have been on an impressive win streak, as Monday’s victory was their ninth-straight. The team started the season at 11-14 after 25 games, which had them outside of the West’s top eight teams early on. However, James Harden has stepped up his performances over quite a stretch of games. His scoring and leadership have been front and center during the team’s surge in the standings.
As of right now, Charlotte (30-37) is out of playoff contention, but by just 1.5 games in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, Houston continues to hold a top three spot in the West with their record of 42-25.
Next up for the Charlotte Hornets is an away matchup against the Washington Wizards on Friday (Mar. 15). That game is slated to begin at 6 p.m. local time (7 p.m. Eastern Time). The Rockets have a big matchup on Wednesday (Mar. 13). They’ll host the Golden State Warriors on ESPN starting at 8:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. ET).