James Harden has the green light 100 percent of the time in his new role with the Houston Rockets, although this possession midway through the fourth quarter during a tight game with the Cavaliers probably wasn’t what his coaching staff had in mind when gifting him with that responsibility.
Harden receives the ball with about 13 seconds left on the shot clock, with his team clinging to a three-point lead and Dion Waiters defending. He initiates the drive, before being cut off by Waiters, whose expert defensive effort here should not go unnoticed.
Harden retreats, and too much dribbling becomes problematic, as the ball gets away from him and nearly rolls out of bounds. Harden not only saves it, but manages to get around Waiters and launch an awkward 30-foot three-point attempt as the shot clock expires.
Of course, it goes down.
Harden finished with 29 points and seven steals in 38 minutes, and the Rockets got the 112-104 win over the Cavaliers.
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The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:
The Cavaliers are signing free agent shooting guard Dionte Christmas, a source told Yahoo Sports.
In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.