James Harden can only do so much to keep the Houston Rockets relevant in the Western Conference. The All-Star Harden looks to get the Rockets back in the win column Saturday versus the Charlotte Bobcats.
Harden is averaging 26.2 points per game in his last six and recorded 21 points in Wednesday's 118-110 loss at Denver. The Nuggets used a decisive 24-3 run late in the game to pull away for the victory and outscored the Rockets, 35-24, in the final stanza.
The Rockets had 22 turnovers, leading to 29 Denver points, shot 48.1 percent from the floor and made only 8-of-27 3-pointers. They also blew an eight-point lead late in the third quarter.
"It's us being careless with the ball," Harden said of Houston's sloppy play. "We did a little bit too much in trying to make the home run play instead of trying to make the easy, simple pass."
Jeremy Lin scored 13 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and Chandler Parsons netted 21 points in the loss, Houston's first after winning three straight and four of five games.
"For one, they hit tough shots. They had eight 3-pointers the whole game and they probably had a lot more, four or five, in the fourth quarter and they just got hot," Lin said of the Nuggets. "We are just trying to play uphill and come back from there on out."
Houston has a good shot at bouncing back Saturday as it is one of the best scoring teams in the league with 104.9 ppg. Charlotte is one of the worst in defense, allowing 102.9 ppg.
The Rockets are 15-8 in Space City this season and will also entertain Golden State on the brief homestand.
Charlotte looks to crack the win column on its current five-game road trip and is 0-2 on the swing following Wednesday's 102-78 loss at San Antonio.
Ramon Sessions scored 20 points off the bench and Kemba Walker chipped in 16 for the Bobcats, who have dropped 10 of their last 12 games to fall to 11-34 overall and 5-16 away from Time Warner Cable Arena.
"They took care of business," Charlotte guard Ben Gordon said. "In the second half, they just put us away. They were real sharp with everything they did. They capitalized on all of our mistakes."
The Spurs scored 34 points off of 24 Charlotte turnovers and had a 48-24 advantage in the paint. Gordon rounded out the double digit scorers for the Bobcats with 11 points and is averaging 15.5 ppg in his last four. Walker has scored in double figures in 16 consecutive games, and leads the Bobcats in scoring (17.8), assists (5.7) and steals (1.9).
Sessions is averaging 19.3 ppg in the last four games, eclipsing the 20-point mark on three occasion over that time. Sessions has scored in double figures in 13 of his last 15 games.
The Bobcats still have Miami and Cleveland to visit on the trek.
Charlotte and Houston will close a two-game season series Saturday, and the Rockets recently won the first meeting, 100-94, on the road Jan. 21. Harden 29 points and seven assists, while Walker pumped in 35 points in that one. The Rockets have won four in a row and are 12-5 overall against the Rockets.
The Bobcats have dropped seven straight at the Rockets.