Posted November 07, 2013 on
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James Harden and Dwight Howard have given the Houston Rockets the prolific combo they were hoping for.
The Los Angeles Lakers envisioned a similar situation after acquiring Howard before last season, though things didn't work out that way.
Howard will face the Lakers for the first time since leaving via free agency in July when the high-scoring Rockets look to extend their best start in six years Thursday night.
After one disappointing, injury-plagued season in Los Angeles, Howard has teamed up with Harden to give Houston (4-1) one of the most talented duos in the NBA.
Despite being paired with 15-time All-Star Kobe Bryant, that never happened with the Lakers (2-3) last year. Howard and Bryant never seemed to get on the same page during a 45-37 season that ended with a first-round playoff loss to San Antonio after Bryant tore his Achilles on April 12.
"There's no need to talk about what the Lakers could have done. I made my decision and I'm living with it," Howard said. "I'm happy where I'm at, I'm in a great place. Everybody should move forward. It's over with."
Harden finished with a game-high 33 points and Howard added a season-best 29 points and 13 rebounds as the Rockets continued their strong start with a 116-101 victory at Portland on Tuesday.
Howard's numbers are up slightly at 17.4 points and 14.6 rebounds per game, and with him patrolling the paint the Rockets rank second in the NBA with a plus-10.2 rebounding margin after finishing at plus-1.8 in 2012-13.
Harden, who averaged 25.9 points last season, has picked up where he left off with a 25.2 average in the first five games. He's totaled 61 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in his last two against the Lakers.
"Dwight makes the whole game so much easier for each teammate," Harden said. "He draws double teams. He's a great passer. He dominates the post and he can score it. He does everything."
Considering their defensive struggles, the Lakers will have their hands full with the surging Rockets, who haven't won five of their first six since a 6-1 start in 2007-08.
Los Angeles, which hardly resembles the team Howard played for last season, ranks near the bottom of the league in opponent field-goal percentage (47.9), scoring (109.0) and turnovers (13.6) per game.
Following a 123-104 loss at Dallas on Tuesday, the Lakers have dropped their two road games by a combined 50 points.
"You can't get blown out and then think now we need to learn to win," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "No, we need to learn how to play. We're not playing right now."
Paul Gasol is averaging a team-best 14.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, but was limited to a season-low 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting by the Mavericks.
In the most recent meeting with the Rockets on April 17 in Los Angeles, Gasol posted his seventh career triple-double with 17 points, 20 boards and 11 assists in a 99-95 overtime win.
Houston's Chandler Parsons had 23 points in that contest, including a 34-foot, line-drive 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime. He averaged 20.0 points on 54.4-percent shooting as the Rockets split the four games with the Lakers last season.
Houston has won four straight over Los Angeles at Toyota Center.
BEST OF MAXIM
On Monday, the Los Angeles Clippers put on an offensive clinic, throttling the Houston Rockets by the score of 137-118 at Staples Center. The Clippers scoring a whopping 78 points in the first half alone, a team record. A pretty impressive showing, indeed. Or, it could be argued that the Rockets put on a clinic […]The post James Harden plays defense about as well as he sings (which...
Dwight Howard is an interesting character. And if you read between the lines in these statements, he seems to be basically admitting that the spotlight in Los Angeles was just a little too bright for him. D.Howard on life after the Lakers: "Fans are very passionate about their team & unfortunately the Lakers have the […]
Dwight Howard has been through this before.
Last season, his one and only in Los Angeles, he faced the hype and emotion of facing the team that employed him for the first eight years of his career. This time, when Howard suits up for the Rockets against the Lakers on Thursday night in his new home, there is considerable hype but not much emotion associated with Howard's latest...
Last season, Dwight Howard donned the Lakers’ purple and gold for the first time and became the heir apparent to a franchise that Kobe Bryant reigned over for more than a decade. As Bryant slowly—very slowly—approached the twilight of his career, the franchise looked for one last run at a title as the franchise began its ...The post Is Dwight Howard a “Coward” for Leaving...
It wouldn’t be a week here on That NBA Lottery Pick without a notable video moment from Houston Rockets guard James Harden and during tonight’s Rockets/Lakers affair, James had a nice slam dunk.
It happened in the first quarter of play and watch as James rises for the two-handed slam dunk:
Harden image courtesy of Getty Images
The Rockets had lost all of one game in a row, but felt like they were reeling.
They were blown out in Los Angeles. They needed a big second half comeback in Utah. They had a still tough schedule ahead to finish the week.
The Rockets had reached the sort of occasion that James Harden and Dwight Howard are supposed to do what they did Tuesday in the Moda center. They would not let...
The Lakers took on the Rockets Thursday night in Houston. Of course, all the pregame dialog was about Dwight Howard leaving the Lakers and his relationship with Kobe. Dwight has indicated that he’s done discussing his reasons for leaving LA – and I’m personally over the topic too. Most didn’t give the Lakers a shot to win this game without the Black Mamba in the line up....
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard told UFC president Dana White and teammate Chandler Parsons before UFC 166 that he’d be willing to step into the cage for $10 million. From FOX Sports: “If I get knocked out, I get knocked out,” said Howard, who signed a four-year, $88 million deal with the Rockets in July. “I’ll get back up one day.” Never one to pass up a huge payday...
Here's a humorous moment from last night's Clippers-Rockets game that actually doesn't involve Dwight Howard missing a dunk. Clippers analyst Michael Smith shares his frustration with Doc Rivers over a call going against Los Angeles by mouthing "no f*%#ing way" to the new coach. While that homerism will probably endear him to Clippers fans across the nation...
The Magic, supposedly planned to be a bottom feeding team, has now a record of 3-2! Yes, thats right. They beat the Clippers 98 to 90, and they couldn’t have done it without rising all-star Nik Vucevic. Nik Vucevic was just suppose to be a throw-in for the Dwight Howard deal, and now he’s proving ...The post Nik Vucevic: “The Clipper Killer” appeared first on The League News.
Dwight Howard played against his former team…again. His team, Houston Rockets almost won the game, but the Los Angeles Lakers were not giving up and Steve Blake made a 3-point shot with 1.3 second to go to give his team a valuable 1-point lead. Here is the video of Blake’s big shot which brought a ...The post VIDEO: Steve Blake’s Game-Winner Against Houston appeared first on The League News.
Kevin McHale’s low-post lessons for Dwight Howard have only just begun, but the coach started close to home — his home. The dedicated Minnesota Vikings fan cited the play of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson.
“Just staying low,” Howard said of McHale’s direction. “He always refers to Adrian Peterson and how he runs through different holes in the game. He runs real...
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers played Dwight Howard and his new team for the first time since he left the team in free agency and it ended in Hollywood fashion. The Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 off a big shot by Steve Blake with one second remaining.
The Lakers had a great first half leading by 14 points and shot 11 of 14 from the three but they could not keep...
LOS ANGELES -- DeAndre Jordan was all alone Monday night -- at least in the sense that guarding Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was going to be a one-man job.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers told Jordan that he would have to defend Howard on his own, without the help of a double-team, and Jordan accepted the challenge.
Howard was limited to fewer than 26 minutes because of foul...
The Los Angeles Lakers practiced in "The House that Dwight Chose" on Wednesday, preparing for their upcoming game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center that now features a giant poster of Dwight Howard on the front of it, complete with the tag line, "A new age."
A little more than four months ago, it was Staples Center that had Howard's photograph...