Preseason or not, the rest of the NBA has to be adjusting their collar just a little bit after what they saw Thursday night.
Harden was just 2-10 in the first half and Howard turned it over four times, but both came out of the locker room at half ready to roll. The two team leaders were models of efficiency to start the third, combining to hit 10-11 shots for 24 points. In the end, Harden finished with 22 points and 11 assists in 30 minutes and Dwight finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds.
While the game itself was meaningless and the Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, this is still an important moment for this team as Houston’s title hopes — this year and beyond — rest on the success and development of this pairing.
The quarter itself was eye-opening. The Rockets as a team hit 14 of their first 17 shots in the period as they turned a tied game into a 22-point Houston advantage in less than ten minutes of play.
“It’s awesome,” said Chandler Parsons, who scored 16 points and teamed up with Harden for one incredible fast break play. “It’s a great style of play to play. It’s a lot of fun, it’s entertaining and we’re really good at it.”
Kevin McHale said after the game that this team gets along great, but on-court chemistry doesn’t just happen overnight.
“Chemistry is always one of those ongoing things,” said McHale. “If we’re talking about if they get along, they do. Very well. Do they know each other’s nooks and crannies and how to play? That doesn’t happen in three weeks. That happens over time.”
Thursday’s display was a sign that it’s starting to happen.