James Harden has been panned by critics for his postseason shortcomings during his time with the Rockets but in Game 3 of Houston’s first round series with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, Harden hushed up all the howlers by having possibly the best playoff game of his career.
Harden was magnificent, dropping a postseason career-high 42 points on 15-24 shooting, and also dishing out 9 assists in the Rockets’ 130-128 thrilling victory over the Mavericks. Dallas had spent majority of the first half dictating the tempo and controlling the game, but Harden slowed things down and began working his magic in the 3rd quarter, helping Houston erase what was a 9 point deficit. He beckoned to the call when the Rockets were in dire need of a play to be made, whether it was scoring or distributing.
Harden’s 42 points were the most by a Rocket in a playoff game since Tracy McGrady in 2008. Dwight Howard also etched his name into Houston’s history books last night, corralling a playoff career-high 26 rebounds in the victory, tying Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon for most rebounds by a Rocket in a postseason game.
The Rockets now have a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Mavericks, and hope to sweep Dallas and advanced to the second round with a win on Sunday.