James Harden led his Rockets over the Golden State Warriors 132-127 in double overtime. Harden notched a triple-double, claiming 15 rebounds to go with his 29 points and 13 assists. But the most encouraging stats for Rockets fans aren’t Harden’s strong numbers — it’s that the Rockets can beat elite teams while Harden’s efficiency isn’t really top notch. Harden shot 34.8% from the field and just 18.2% from beyond the arc. Even Harden’s free throw percentage was down — the career 85+% shooter (83% this year) shot 78.6% from the line. Hardly DeAndre Jordan but again not up to his excellent par.
What it all means is the Rockets can beat the Warriors with Harden statistically below average in critical categories. (Obviously he grabbed more boards that usual.) That’s good news for Houston. The one potential caveat is Harden again led the team in minutes, playing 45. He led the NBA in minutes played last year. Harden is an incredible athlete whose durability and endurance are second to none, but if his percentages creep slightly down as his minutes creep up, it’s something for the Rockets to be concerned about.