WATCH: How Exactly Did Rockets’ James Harden Hurt His Ankle?

Published 01/02/2021, 9:19 PM EST
Jan 2, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets high fives a staff member during the first quarter of a game against the Sacramento Kings at Toyota Center on January 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports


The Houston Rockets recently produced a couple of strange results. First, they lost their two openers, even with James Harden averaging a whopping 39 points in those games. Post that, they suddenly started winning as John Wall entered the side and continued with the W even in the absence of Harden.

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The Beard and the surrounding drama are taking newer turns and twists every other week. First, his intentions to leave the team were on showcase, then the tantrums, followed by a $50000 fine, and now an injury amidst all the trade rumors. He has been in the news for all sorts of good and not so good things.

When did James Harden get injured?

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The 8-time All-star had a great first game against the Sacramento Kings. In that outing, he scored 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists in 36 minutes of play. However, just when the Rockets were 118-117 ahead in the game, he injured himself. He sprained his right ankle with just 18 seconds remaining on the clock. Take a look to understand how it happened –

Luckily for the Rockets, he continued to play even after that sprain. That gave him a chance to take back-to-back successful free throws on De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes’ personal fouls.

The Rockets won the game 122-119 but the air around Harden was unclear. Later, even as many believed it was not worrisome, he did not play the second game against the Kings and sat out on the bench.

The Houston Rockets pulled a victory without him

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Jan 2, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets puts up a basket against Richaun Holmes #22 of the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter of a game at Toyota Center on January 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The second clash between the Rockets and the Kings was a very close battle. The first two halves saw them tieing at similar scores before the Rockets took a two-point lead at the end of the third. It was only in the final quarter when Eric Gordon’s 27-ft three-point jumper followed by three successful FTs changed the game. 

Both John Wall and Christian Wood entered the game with 8 minutes remaining to further ensure they stayed in the lead. Wall added 28 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. He found tremendous support in Wood who had a phenomenal night at both ends of the court. Christian scored a double-double in points and rebounds with 1 steal and 4 blocks. 

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These performances in the absence of Harden proved that the Rockets are well off even without him. However, it will be interesting to see if they can produce the same result against a better side.

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Sourabh Singh

1126 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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