James Harden reacts to beating Lakers with small ball
The Houston Rockets raised a lot of eyebrows on Thursday night, as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers with one of the smaller lineups in recent history. Despite the fact that they’re slight in stature after this season’s trade deadline, James Harden believes his team can compete with anybody.
The Rockets decided to trade Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night as part of a four-team, 12-player transaction. The deal left Houston without a starting-caliber center. In fact, no player in the Rockets’ starting lineup for Thursday’s game against the Lakers was taller than 6-6. Still, Houston cruised to a 121-111 victory over a team that most experts are viewing as a title contender.
“Obviously, height-wise, but heart, each individual has heart. We can compete with anybody,” Harden said, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “That’s how we’re playing.”
Russell Westbrook led the Rockets in Thursday’s win over the Lakers, scoring 41 points. Harden logged 35 minutes, racking up 14 points and seven assists. Robert Covington, who was acquired in the Capela deal, had a solid debut with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Westbrook becomes 4th player in NBA history to reach at least 20,000 points, 7,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds. #PhotoOfTheGame l @rokit pic.twitter.com/bld9unkip3
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 7, 2020
Following the game, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni noted the importance of the win and what it means for the team’s small-ball mentality going forward:
“Every time you try something different, these guys have got to believe in it,” D’Antoni said, via ESPN. “And this helps a lot, because if you come in here and get spanked and they’re all little, it’s like, `Oh, maybe we can’t do this.’ So they’re fired up to keep trying. It’s just one game, but the confidence is good.”
Harden and the Rockets (33-18 overall) will be back in action on Friday night, when they’ll face off against the Phoenix Suns. Houston will be looking to build on their four-game winning streak.
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