Being on the brink of elimination finally woke up James Harden and the Houston Rockets. With the exception of their Game 2 win, Houston had been thoroughly outplayed by Clippers during this series, including two 25+ point drubbings in Game’s 3 and 4 in Los Angeles.
During Game 5 in Houston on Tuesday night, the Rockets finally played their brand of basketball: an up-tempo style that’s features a bevy of three-pointers, Dwight Howard controlling the paint on both ends, and most importantly Harden being aggressive. During the games in Los Angeles, Harden was strangely passive when his team needed him most, but that wasn’t the case in Game 5. The Beard got loose on the Clippers.
Harden was spectacular, dropping 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists en-route to his first ever playoff triple-double and a 124-103 Houston win.
Harden finally registered the superstar-like performance I’d been craving to see out of him all series long, and it allows the Rockets to see another day this season. As the series shifts scenes back to Los Angeles for Game 6, Harden and Houston will look to duplicate their Game 5 performance in hopes of extending this series to a seventh and final game on their home floor.