Houston has peeked its head over .500 thanks, of course, to James Harden, who has averaged 31.3 points in the three wins, despite not taking more than 18 shots in any of the games. And it's not just scoring: he had a double-double in a win over the Eastern Conference-leading Knicks, and seven and eight assists respectively in the team's wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies. He's been doing it all year, but it's sometimes important to take a step back and note just how well the Rockets' star is playing.
The Bulls have looked pretty decent without Derrick Rose, mainly due to Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, who are No. 1 and No. 2 in the NBA in minutes played. That said, an offense without Rose sometimes looks very ugly: although Chicago is second in the NBA in defensive efficiency, they've scored under 80 points in three of their last four losses. Six of nine Bulls players had more shots than points in a 93-89 loss in the first meeting between the two teams, with Harden dropping 28 and Patrick Patterson chipping in 20 more.
Here's the info on the Christmas Day showdown:
Tuesday, Dec. 25
Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN