Posted November 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
James Harden has put on quite a show in each of his first two games with the Houston Rockets. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is only starting to get comfortable. Harden looks to continue his remarkable play Saturday night as the undefeated Rockets open their home schedule against the Portland Trail Blazers, who haven't experienced much success during their last several visits to Houston. The Rockets (2-0), who sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round selection to Oklahoma City in exchange for Harden and three other players last Saturday, could be in for an exciting season if their early efforts are any indication. After posting 37 points and a career-high 12 assists during Wednesday's 105-96 season-opening win at Detroit, Harden went off Friday in a 109-102 victory at Atlanta, scoring a career-best 45 points on 14-of-19 shooting. "It's a lot different," Harden said of his new role. "Having the offense run basically through you, it's a lot different, but that's my job now so I've got to get used to it. ... I just go out there and play hard." While Harden stole the show, fellow newcomer Jeremy Lin quietly had 21 points, a career-best 10 rebounds and seven assists. Omer Asik was scoreless on seven shots, but he came up big with a career-high 19 boards. "(Harden) frees everybody up," Lin said. "He knows what he's doing. We're thankful that he showed up." Houston, which last won its first three games in 2008-09, has to like its chances of matching that start given its recent results against Portland (1-1). The Rockets have limited the Blazers to an average of 88.7 points in taking 13 of 15 home matchups. They also won twice on the road to sweep last season's three-game series, though each win came by seven points or fewer. Portland beat the Los Angeles Lakers 116-106 in Wednesday's season opener before kicking off a three-game trip Friday with a 106-92 loss to the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot 51.3 percent from the field while the Blazers were limited to 36.0 percent. Portland went 1-11 last season when shooting under 40.0 percent. "We competed for most of the game," first-year coach Terry Stotts said. "We had a hard time putting the ball in the basket." LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 15 rebounds while Damian Lillard scored 21 to go along with seven assists. Lillard, who joined Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas as the only players to record at least 20 points and 10 assists in their NBA debuts with 23 and 11 against the Lakers, is quickly making a name for himself. "It's not really about how I play," said Lillard, the No. 6 overall pick in this year's draft. "It's more about the team making a few more shots to get the win." Aldridge has averaged 22.6 points in eight road matchups versus Houston dating to 2007-08 - his third-highest mark in any opposing arena over that stretch. The Blazers haven't opened 0-2 on the road since losing their first three contests as the visiting team in 2008-09. Harden has recorded 19.6 points per game - 6.6 more than his career mark - in his last five matchups against Portland.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

James Harden's Monster Night Sets Impossibly High Bar for Others Venturing Into No-Shave November (Video)

Oklahoma City Thunder fans learned early on in James Harden's career to fear the beard. It appears that the rest of the league's fans are on notice now. Harden had a monster game his first time out in a Rockets jersey, dropping 37 points and 12 assists on the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. For his next act, Harden -- and his tremendous beard -- will...

NBA Star of the Night: James Harden

For those that thought being a first-offensive option wouldn’t garner enormous numbers for James Harden’s first game with his new team, the Houston Rockets, looked foolish last night as he dropped a rare stat line against the Detroit Pistons. In fact his 37 points 14-for-25 from the field, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, and 4 steals [...]The post NBA Star of the Night: James Harden...

Harden brilliant, Rockets beat Pistons 105-96

With a new team and a new role, James Harden looked as comfortable as could be. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a sensational 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...

Does one guy make the difference for OKC?

The Oklahoma City Thunder got its first taste Thursday night of life without James Harden, part of a buzzer-beating 86-84 loss that should drive home the obvious and its consequences: A new era in Thunder basketball has begun, and that's one of several reasons the Western Conference is now up for grabs. We're just a few games into the season, yes, but Oklahoma City's...

James Harden Debut Summed Up in Eight Minutes

You have to tip your hat to those loyal fans like www.clutchfans.net. They spent the wee hours of the night putting together this 8 minute compilation of The Beard, otherwise known as James Harden.  Signed to a huge contract (5 years-$80mil), James is now the face (and beard) of the Houston Rockets.  He had a stellar night with 37 points, considering he hasn't practiced with...

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...

Sky Rockets in Flight, James Harden Delight

Maybe if the Thunder made James Harden their feature player they would have won the NBA championship, ha! Last night, in his Rocket’s debut, Jimmy Beard lit up the night posting 37/6/12 with 4 steals and 4 threes on 14-25 FG in a whopping 44 minutes. The guy didn’t come off the court, son! After the game Jeremy Lin said James better go for 40 points and 15 dimes every night because...

Bobcats Predictions: How Will Charlotte Fare in November?

The 2012-13 NBA season has begun. We’re two days in, and all we know is that the Los Angeles Lakers are 0-2 and stink and that the Rockets might have made the best trade of all-time after landing James Harden. Okay, well maybe that’s a knee-jerk reaction. The Lakers haven’t looked great, but it’s still [...]

Rockets 109, Hawks 102

ATLANTA -- James Harden picked up where he left off after his eye-popping 37-point debut against the Pistons on Halloween, scoring 45 points to lead Houston Rockets to a 109-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Jeremy Lin added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Omer Asik had a career-high 19 rebounds. Josh Smith led the Hawks' frantic fourth-quarter comeback, giving the Hawks an...

Rockets-Hawks Preview

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...

Rockets Need Consistency From Role Players

The city of Houston is buzzing. With the fanfare that always seems to accompany Jeremy Lin since his anointment last year, and the acquisition of James Harden followed by two monster games, The Rockets have not garnered this type of attention in years. Amidst all of the excitement, several Rockets role players are ready to [...]

Keys to a NICE Trail Blazers win Saturday night

Fear The Beard? Not PDX The Portland Trail Blazers have impressed early in the 2012-13 season, and that trend was no different on the road against the Houston Rockets. Both teams are now 2-1 on the season, but only the Blazers escaped Saturday night with a hard-fought victory. The final score was 95-85 in Portland’s favor, and there were a handful of key elements to the victory...
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.