James Harden and Russell Westbrook 'scary' in matching Leonard and George feat
James Harden believes his partnership with Russell Westbrook can be "pretty scary" after they became only the second team-mates this season to score at least 35 points each in the same game.
The two combined for 78 points as the Rockets recorded a 116-105 home win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday that ended their opponents' run of seven straight victories.
Harden scored 42, including seven three-pointers, with Westbrook adding 36 as they followed Los Angeles Clippers duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to become the second NBA team-mates to achieve the feat in 2019-20.
Leonard and George did it in a December game against the Minnesota Timberwolves but this was the first time it had happened in Rockets team history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Harden and Westbrook's exploits helped the Rockets bounce back from two consecutive defeats to move to 34-20, good for fifth in the Western Conference.
"It's pretty scary," Harden said, per ESPN, of his and Westbrook's potential.
Westbrook is relishing having an open floor to attack due to Harden and Houston's other three-point threats. The Rockets are playing with a small-ball lineup having traded center Clint Capela.
He added: "It's tough to guard, especially when I'm attacking and making plays and being able to do what I need to do to be effective.
"We made a big change, and we've got to get adjusted to that with Clint gone. So we're just kind of getting acclimated to that. I think we've got it moving in the right direction.
"We can be pretty successful. We've just got to find ways to continue to be effective, efficient and make the right plays."
Westbrook also had 10 rebounds and five assists, while Harden had eight rebounds and seven assists.
Coach Mike D'Antoni is keen to utilise the strengths of his two All-Stars.
"For Russell, [the spacing created by small lineups] is really advantageous, and it will be for James, too," said D'Antoni.
"It makes them really hard to guard and it's helping both of them. It opens up the floor. Both of them are great drivers and great finishers and it should trickle down to everybody else, too."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knew he had been up against elite competition, adding: "Harden was great and Westbrook was great. Those guys are two of the best in the world and they showed it again."Published 12 Feb 2020, 19:08 IST