James Harden surprised by RJ Barrett’s game after Rockets’ loss to Knicks
Houston Rockets guard James Harden was impressed by New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett, particularly by the young gun’s aggressiveness.
In the Knicks’ upset 125-123 victory over the Rockets on Monday, Barrett dropped a career-high 27 points on top of five rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes of action. He also shot at an efficient 10-of-18 from the field.
More importantly, Barrett scored a critical basket over PJ Tucker which eventually sealed the victory.
“Aggressive,’’ James Harden said of Barrett’s outing, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I like it, especially as a rookie. He’s not timid at all. When you’re aggressive and confident in your game, you look good out there. It’s great (for him).’’
What’s best about Barret’s production for the Knicks against Houston was that he scored from all areas of the floor. While he was 3-of-8 from deep, his baskets also came by way of aggressive drives to the hoop — showcasing both his strength and finesse.
In the opening quarter, Barrett already had 14 points for New York. And at the end of the first half, the 19-year-old already had 19 points, signalling that the Rockets may need to adjust their defensive game plan.
For the season, the 2019 third overall pick is averaging 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. RJ Barrett nowhere near the Rookie of the Year race due to his inconsistency for the Knicks at the start of the season — which is understandable for any rookie. However, putting up a career-high against an elite team may trickle on over the next few games and maybe over to the next season.
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