Posted November 01, 2012 on AP on Fox
James Harden paid immediate dividends for the Houston Rockets. The new-look Atlanta Hawks hope their offseason moves will give them the financial flexibility to move in a more successful direction. Harden will look to build on an impressive team debut Friday night when the host Hawks kick off their 2012-13 season. Just four days after being acquired from Oklahoma City in a surprising deal that sent Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-rounder to the defending Western Conference champions, Harden poured in 37 points and added a career-best 12 assists in Wednesday's 105-96 victory at Detroit. "That was an awesome performance," said point guard Jeremy Lin, who began his second stint with the Rockets with 12 points, eight assists and four steals. "We just let him go to work and played off of him and it was really nice." So was the five-year, $80 million contract extension Harden signed earlier in the day. "I think I just wanted to get out there and play," Harden said after fellow newcomer Carlos Delfino hit four fourth-quarter 3-pointers to help Houston rally from an 11-point deficit. "All the talking and all the craziness that has been happening this last week - I just wanted to go out there and play basketball." Danny Ferry, the Hawks' new president of basketball operations and general manager, understands the challenge his team faces with Harden now the focal point of the Rockets' offense. "James is one of the really good young shooting guards in the NBA. He'll really make them a better team," Ferry told the Hawks' official website. "It was a trade based off the new CBA and how teams have to make some more financial decisions going forward. Certainly Oklahoma City did that in this situation." The Hawks still have a major decision to make regarding Josh Smith, who enters the final year of his deal after averaging career highs of 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds last season when Atlanta finished 40-26. Ferry, though, has already shown he's not afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal. Trying to lead the organization in a new direction - the Hawks have failed to advance to the Eastern Conference finals despite making the playoffs each of the last five seasons - Ferry traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in separate deals this summer. The Hawks acquired Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, and a second-round pick from Brooklyn for Johnson, who has four years and $90 million left on his contract. Atlanta sent Williams and the two years left on his deal to Utah for point guard Devin Harris, whose contract expires after this season. "It's definitely going to be a challenge because we're semi-rebuilding," said Smith, one of five returning Hawks. "You hate to see those guys leave. But we're going to be playing with different teammates now, so we've got to try to make things work." The Hawks will employ a new up-tempo approach, but their guard-heavy roster which includes Jeff Teague as well as newcomers Kyle Korver, Lou Williams - second to Harden in last season's Sixth Man of the Year voting - and rookie John Jenkins could present problems on the defensive end. "When you look at us on paper, everybody says we're a team that has some good players, can make shots, will be able to get up and down the floor, will be able to score," said coach Larry Drew, whose team was sixth in scoring defense last season at 93.2 points per game. "But will we be able to defend? That will be the big question." The Hawks have two-time All-Star center Al Horford back after he missed most of last season with a torn pectoral muscle. Smith gives Atlanta one of the top shot blockers in the NBA - he's averaging 2.2 since entering the league in 2004-05 - but the undersized Hawks will need solid minutes in the post from Zaza Pachulia and Ivan Johnson. Rockets coach Kevin McHale has to feel good about his team's frontcourt after newcomer Omer Asik and second-year center Greg Smith combined for 22 points and 14 rebounds in the opener.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

James Harden Was Traded From Oklahoma City Thunder Due To Him Cozying Up To Teammates Girlfriend

According to a report, former Oklahoma City Thunder star (now Houston Rockets star) James Harden was traded from O.K.C. because of something he did with a teammates girlfriend in Los Angeles.The source says that Harden caught up with R&B singer Keri Hilson last week, at a Los Angeles nightclub. The source claims that one of the Oklahoma City Thunder executives took a photo of...

James Harden's Stellar Rockets Debut Generates Excitement, Regret From Fans

For Rockets fans, James Harden's outstanding debut with the team on Wednesday was reason for excitement. For many Thunder fans, it was reason to regret the breakup of a potential championship dynasty. Harden's 37-point, 12-assist, four-steal performance in Houston's victory over the Pistons confirmed what many people have suspected for years -- that...

James Harden, Rockets Agree to Five-Year, $80 Million Contract Extension

HOUSTON -- James Harden has agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets acquired the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in a stunning trade with Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Harden is expected to start when Houston opens the regular season in Detroit on Wednesday night. Houston also picked up the options for forwards...

Harden scores 37 in Rockets debut

James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a stirring debut for Houston, and Carlos Delfino made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Rockets to a 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Detroit led 83-72 early in the fourth, but Harden and Delfino brought the Rockets back. Houston acquired Harden on Saturday night in a trade with Oklahoma City...

James Harden agrees to 5-yr, $80 mil extension with Houston Rockets

Tweet The Houston Rockets traded for James Harden hoping to get a cornerstone player for their rebuilding franchise. The Rockets now will have Harden around for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a five-year, $80 million max contract extension with the lefty reigning Sixth Man of the Year. Harden was dealt to the Rockets over [...]

Starting 5: Harden blasts off

Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1: Harden ready for lift off OK, I am done with the Rockets puns for now. The story of the day in the NBA though was James Harden's debut in a Rockets uniform. It was only four days ago that Harden was surprisingly traded from the Thunder to the Rockets. He has barely had time...

Hawks fall to James Harden's 45 vs. Rockets

ATLANTA (AP) -- James Harden continued to shine at the start of his Houston career, scoring a career-high 45 points to lead the Rockets to a 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Harden, traded to the Rockets from Oklahoma City on Saturday, topped 30 points for the second time in his first week with his new team. Jeremy Lin had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven...

Day 2: Where James Harden Goes Nuclear

Line of the Night: James Harden (3.56 WARP) makes a STATEMENT and tells the Thunder where they can shove their puny contract offer and subsequent trade. In his first game with the Rockets, Harden went absolutely nuclear for 37 points (going 4-10 from three), adding 6 rebounds, a career high 12 assists and 4 steals. This blows away even the highest expectation anyone had for Harden...

The Thunder Made a Mistake

44 minutes, 37 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block. Those numbers have to hurt the Thunder at least a little bit.  Yeah it was only one game, but that one game was indicative of what they will be missing out on moving forward. There was James Harden, a central cog in the Thunder’s run to the Finals last year and a figured future cornerstone of the franchise, dropping...

Former Mizzou star Kim English makes solid NBA debut

James Harden stole the spotlight in the Houston Rockets 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, but Mizzou hoops fans will be happy to know a former Tiger also had a good night in his NBA debut. Former Mizzou star Kim English, who was selected in the second round of this past season's NBA draft, made his NBA debut for the Detroit Pistons and played well in...

Pistons blow 11 point lead and fall to the Rockets 106-95 opening night

Finishing games is something this young Pistons team will have to grasp after blowing a second half 11 point lead en route to a 105-96 loss to the Houston Rockets opening night from The Palace. The Pistons will also need to learn how to limit the open looks beyond the arc. Recently acquired James Harden was 4 for 10 beyond three-point range to finish the night with 37 points and...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.