Published: Fri, November 11, 2016
Sports | By Phillip Butler

James Harden making his case as NBA's best player

James Harden making his case as NBA's best player

SPURS KEY TRENDS: The Spurs are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games following a loss but they are 10-4 against the number in their last 14 games following a double-digit loss at home.

24 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists saw the Rockets leave the AT&T Center with a two-point win and took the guard's averages to 30.6 points, 7.8 boards and an incredible 13 dimes a night. Aldridge had a shot for a putback, but failed to convert at the buzzer.

James Harden declared himself the best player and point guard in the League and his early season play is making his claims tough to argue with.

While the Houston Rockets spent their cap space on role players, they will continue to pursue a second star to pair with James Harden. He got whatever he wanted in the first half, using pick and rolls to get one-on-one matchups with Pau Gasol and Aldridge at times.

Harden then missed a three-pointer, and Leonard missed a jump shot.

Following two Spurs timeouts, the Rockets maintained their poise, and after Leonard missed on a drive, a fight for the ball near the glass ensued. The Spurs rolled to the lead at 51-50 on a turnaround jumper by Aldridge, who had all nine of his first-half points in the final seven minutes of the second quarter. For a team that lost only one home game all of last season on the way to a franchise-record 67 victories, the Spurs have now dropped three in a row at home for the first time since December 12-19, 2014. He missed his first 3-point try but drained his second from the right corner and finished 2 for 8 on 3s. My legs aren't fully there yet, as you could see on fastbreaks.

When you have a player such as Harden who is exceptional at finding cutters to the basket and exhibits the physical gifts to split defenders on drives to the rim, you really don't worry about the offense. "I think he's really starting to understand National Basketball Association pick-and-roll defense a lot better". A Danny Green steal led to a three on one fast break finished with a spectacular Leonard dunk, But Ryan Anderson answered with a deep three to give the Rox a four point lead. He drove it a few times. "That's what we've been doing here at home, play a quarter or two of defense and a quarter or two of no defense". With Lee's help, the Spurs outscored the Rockets 36-30 in the quarter and trailed 63-60 at halftime.

Will it be the one that has won five games by an average of 15.4 points, including a 129-100 blowout of two-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State, or the one that's lost two by an average of 19? Popovich responded, failing to provide reporters with any comment on the election.

When you're a No. 1 player on a postseason-caliber team, it's only wise to believe that no individual you encounter is better than you.

Houston took an 85-74 lead late in the third as the Spurs missed eight straight field goals. The club held out Parker on Wednesday, and the expectation is he'll play Saturday when San Antonio travels to Houston.

Up Next: The Spurs will host the Pistons on Friday.

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