James Harden Struggles, but Rockets Take 2-0 Series Lead vs. Timberwolves

After escaping Game 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a narrow three-point win, the Houston Rockets rolled in Wednesday’s Game 2 at Toyota Center and seized control of their first-round playoff series with a 102-82 victory.

James Harden was brilliant in Game 1 with 44 points, but Houston relied nfl jerseys china on Chris Paul and a balanced attack in its second win.

Four Houston players scored in double figures, including Paul, who spearheaded the blowout effort with 27 points, eight assists and three steals. Harden was another one of those players, totaling 12 points, but he was an abysmal 2-of-18 from the field and 1-of-10 from deep. He was far from the reason his team was victorious, even with seven assists.

Houston is so dangerous because it has two future Hall of Fame-caliber players in the backcourt, meaning it can afford a lackluster performance from one and still rely on the other to get it through a contest.nfl wholesale jerseys

That is exactly what has happened in this series against the eighth-seeded Timberwolves, as Harden made up for Paul’s 5-of-14 shooting and six turnovers in Game 1 and Paul compensated for Harden’s showing in Game 2.

It helps that the Rockets are playing a Minnesota team that was a mere 22nd in the league in defensive rating this season, per NBA.com, and doesn’t have much of an answer on that side of the ball outside of three-time All-Defensive selection Jimmy Butler.

With Butler shadowing Harden for stretches, Paul darted into the lane and either finished for himself or forced defenders to collapse before he found perimeter shooters. The nine-time All-Star dazzled the crowd with a nfl jerseys from china  number of head-turning floaters and layups at the rim, many of which came when Minnesota’s big men were left helplessly flailing at his ball-handling and lightning-quick first step.

With the Timberwolves left chasing Paul, Gerald Green was left open a number of times and delivered with 21 points on 5-of-12 shooting from downtown. Trevor Ariza benefited as well with 15 points and three triples, official nfl jerseys cheap and Clint Capela dominated down low with eight points and 16 boards.

The fact Houston handled Minnesota with relative ease even with the potential league MVP struggling sends a message to the rest of the NBA in these playoffs. This team can win in the postseason without Harden dominating, and the ceiling is the Larry O’Brien Trophy when he does play well.