The Houston Rockets just won their first game of the season without James Harden.
If they can get another balanced effort Monday night at home, they might be fine even if their best player doesn't return to face the lowly Orlando Magic.
Coming off back-to-back losses, Houston (40-33) didn't have Harden - the team leader with 26.0 points per game - in uniform Saturday against the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers due to a sore right foot. His absence proved not to matter as five Rockets scored in double figures and the team regrouped from two sub-par defensive efforts to hold the Clippers to 31 second-half points.
Houston had gone winless in two previous games with Harden unavailable due to injuries.
"We had a lot of guys play well,'' said coach Kevin McHale, whose team can move within a game of idle Golden State for sixth place in the Western Conference. "The ball was really moving tonight, and it was good to see that. Everybody was in tune.''
That included rookie b...