James Harden will miss the next couple of weeks after suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain on Sunday night.
During the Houston Rockets 148-142 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year’s Eve, superstar guard James Harden suffered an apparent hamstring injury. The team announced late Monday that he’d get re-evaluated in two weeks. Harden scored 40 points and dished out 11 assists in 41 minutes of action.
These next 14 days will be the first time since 2013-14 where Harden missed a considerable chunk of time. He’s suited up for all but two games from 2014-2015 to 2016-2017, and he was present for Houston’s first 35 contests this season. Overall, the Rockets are 26-9, putting them second in the Western Conference. They’ve hit a rough patch as of late, but Harden’s MVP-level play has helped keep them above water.
He’s averaging a career-best 32.3 points per game and is handing out 9.1 assists on a nightly basis; those are first and third in the NBA, respectively. On top of that, he’s the league leader in PER at 30.6, and a 39 percent clip from downtown is powering his violent scoring rampage.
Houston will have to face the Golden State Warriors without their star playmaker, but the rest of the schedule isn’t that daunting.
Chris Paul, whom the Rockets acquired over the summer, will now have to facilitate the league’s most potent offense. It’s a duty he’s more than capable of executing, but we’ll have to wait and see if everything runs as smoothly without Harden. Paul isn’t scoring at the same clip as his backcourt mate (17.2 points), but he’ll have no issues creating passing lanes and hitting the open man.
The rest of the offense is reliant on Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. They’re going to see more attention with Harden on the sideline, and it’s vital they step up and convert on those opportunities.
James Harden’s injury is a crushing short-term blow for Houston. Luckily, having a second star gives them the opportunity to tread water for the next handful of games.
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