After a four-day quarantine that followed weeks of his desire to trade dominant headlines, Houston Rockets superstar James Harden had a performance on Saturday night that reminded people why he is a perennial MVP candidate is

It just wasn’t enough to lead an extremely understaffed Houston team that missed six players due to positive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to a victory at the Rockets’ belated season opener

Harden had 44 points and 17 assists while playing against hosts Portland Trail Blazers between 128 and 126 for 43 minutes in overtime. The only flaw in Harden’s line in the boxing standings was his four turnovers, including one in the last Seconds that sealed the loss when Blazer’s striker Robert Covington stole a pass after Harden drove down the alley trying to dine for a teammate

“It was all right,” said Harden of his performance, which included shooting 12 of 22 from the ground and 6 of 13 from 3-point range, “Too many sales but other than that first Game lasts 40 minutes, I have a feeling that my stamina could obviously be better, but it was pretty solid I think we’re letting them get away from us “

The Rockets’ season opener, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed due to a lack of at least eight players available in Houston.The NBA ruled that Harden was not available for this game because he violated the league’s health and safety protocols by playing on Attended a private indoor party on Monday which resulted in Harden being fined 50000 US dollars was occupied

The Rockets Made the Road Trip with Just Nine Players New Starting Point Guardian John Wall and the Rockets’ top three bench players – Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Ben McLemore – are among the Houston players currently in quarantine

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“I’m proud of the way we fought,” said Rockets trainer Stephen Silas. “We obviously have some things to clean up, but overall I’m so proud of this group and how proud we are they fought under these circumstances “

Harden removed any doubt that he would be on the pitch as the Rockets’ front office patiently scour the trade market in search of a package that would be fair value to a historically elite player in his prime

Harden dominated as distributor – scoring seven of his 17 assists to center Christian Wood, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds on his Rockets debut – while embarking on a goal duel with Blazer’s shooting guard CJ McCollum As Harden said, McCollum “caught fire” from a slow start and finished with 44 points on the 17-of-30 shoot-out

McCollum hit a 3 with 6.9 seconds to go, which emerged victorious when Harden failed to score a shot at final possession Harden had hit two contested step-back 3s – first to score, second to took the lead – on the two previous holdings of the Rockets

“James is really good,” said McCollum. “Regardless of what James does in his spare time, James is really good at basketball. He’s really good”

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World news – USA – Harden scores 44 defeats, debut “okay”