The Houston Rockets have encountered little resistance through their first two games against the Utah Jazz. They’ve hung 240 points on the NBA’s second-best defense and hit 32 three-pointers. (Those would’ve come in handy last May.) Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker are getting theirs, the weird bench unit is playing together perfectly, and, of course, James Harden is leading the show.
Harden scored “only” 29 points in 33 minutes in Game 1 as the Rockets won, 122-90, then Wednesday he buried the Jazz in the first quarter Wednesday with 7:30 of ruthless, perfect basketball. Utah point guard Ricky Rubio has been in charge of slowing Harden down, and he’s having a real rough go of it. In the second minute of Houston’s 118-98 victory, Harden sent Rubio flying out of the damn screen with a crossover, then shimmied on him before he bricked a three. If he’d hit this shot, the Jazz would have been obligated to wave the white flag and concede the series on the spot.
Harden treated Rubio like a cat treats a rodent:
At one point in Game 1, Rubio had even tried guarding Harden from his back. Nothing else was working, but that definitely didn’t work.
If you gave Rubio a baseball bat, he might be able to limit Harden to 25 points.