Christmas Day belongs to the NBA – in terms of sports that is! With several marquee matchups on the 2018 NBA Christmas Day schedule, the Houston Rockets were one of the teams in the national spotlight on Tuesday afternoon. The red-hot Rockets found themselves in a tough battle, but in the end, they did not let the hometown folks down.
According to a Houston Chronicle report, Rockets guard James Harden played the role of Santa Claus for the Houston faithful as he poured in 41 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 7 assists in the Rockets 113-109 come from behind victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Thunder fans would not be referring to Harden as Santa, more like the Grinch, as the former Arizona State standout was a key part in stealing the victory away from the Thunder on this Christmas Day.
Harden has now scored 30 or more points in a career-high seven games in a row and he has helped the Rockets recover from a horrible start to the 2018 season. After starting the year with a 1-5 mark, Tuesday’s victory gave Houston it’s seventh win in their last eight outings and improved their record to 18-15 on the season.
Harden wasn’t the only player for the Rockets to play the Grinch role on this day. Eric Gordon scored 17 while center Clint Capela contributed 16 points and a whopping 23 rebounds in the win.
For OKC, Paul George and Russell Westbrook did their best to help the Thunder pick up the road win, but in the end, they fell just short. George led the Thunder with 28 points and 14 rebounds while Westbrook chipped in 21.
While the Rockets surely enjoyed their home court win this holiday season, they won’t have much time to bask in its glow as they prepare for another tough opponent, the surging Boston Celtics. The Celtics will invade the Toyota Center on Thursday, December 27 with hopes of cooling off the Rockets, but it won’t be easy.
Like Houston, Boston has won seven of their last ten outings, including their last two against the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics are starting to look like the team many experts predicted would capture the top spot in the East this postseason.
Thursday’s game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. ET.