James Harden on Rockets: ‘We have a chance to do something special’

Ben DuBose
·3 min read

For a player who reportedly asked for a trade during the recent offseason, Houston Rockets star James Harden isn’t showing any signs publicly that he anticipates being moved to another team.

Many have speculated that the Rockets might revisit those trade talks closer to the March 25 trade deadline for the 2020-21 season. But in an interview following Saturday’s team practice at Toyota Center, Harden took a decidedly longer-term approach and referenced the potential of the Rockets doing “something special” later this season.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Harden said. “I think every team feels that way but for us, we’re behind in the sense that we haven’t really had our entire team. We just haven’t had an opportunity to work together very often. As long as we continue to find chemistry, and find pace on both ends of the floor, we have a chance to do something special.”

Harden and the Rockets (3-4), who have been ravaged by injuries and quarantines during their four losses, will have a big opportunity to measure how close they are to that “special” potential in Sunday and Tuesday’s home games versus the defending NBA champion Lakers.

Los Angeles (7-3) knocked Houston out of the playoffs in September, but the Rockets have since reshaped their roster around Harden — most notably, by replacing starters Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington with John Wall and Christian Wood. Sunday offers the first chance to put those changes to the test against the NBA’s gold standard.

“It’s always exciting to play against one of the best teams in this league,” said Harden, who averages 27.0 points and an NBA-leading 11.3 assists per game this season. “We’ve just gotta come out and be ready to play.”

Houston enters Sunday’s game coming off a 42-point blowout over Orlando on Friday night, while the Lakers edged Chicago by two. Anthony Davis didn’t play against the Bulls with a right adductor strain, but it appears to be a minor injury, which might allow him to return against the Rockets. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Central from Toyota Center.

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Houston
-121-1.5-
Chicago
+100+1.5-