James Harden has cooled off since his hot start with the Houston Rockets, but is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Rockets will close out a three-game homestand Wednesday versus the New Orleans Hornets at the Toyota Center.
Harden, acquired in a deal with Oklahoma City a few weeks ago, averaged 35.3 ppg in his first three appearances with his new team and has dropped off a bit since then, posting just 18.8 ppg in the past four. In a 113-110 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday, Harden recorded 22 points and Chandler Parsons led the way with a career-high 25 points for Houston.
"We have confidence in our guys that next time those shots are available we will hit them," Harden said of his team down the stretch. "Good game we kept our turnovers down tonight, we just couldn't come out with the win.
Omer Asik tried his best to pull Houston through with a career-best 19 points and 14 rebounds. Patrick Patterson had 17 points for the Rockets, who had a 101-93 lead until the Heat closed out the game on a big run. It didn't help that superstar LeBron James scored 32 of his season-high 38 points after halftime.
The Rockets are still without head coach Kevin McHale, who is away from the team for a family matter.
Houston will open a three-game road trip Friday at Portland and also are scheduled to visit the Lakers and Jazz. Whether McHale will join the team on the sojourn is unknown.
New Orleans has won three of its last four games and will play six of its next eight games on the road.
The well-rested Hornets welcomed back No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis in Friday's 107-99 win versus Charlotte, and the former Kentucky star delivered 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
It was Davis' first double-double as a pro and he became the third Hornets rookie to have a double-double in one of his first three performances, joining Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson.
Fellow Hornets rookie Austin Rivers had four points and four assists after sitting out Wednesday's loss to Philadelphia with a sprained finger.
"We had fun. This is what we do, this is what we love to do," said Davis, who returned from a two-game absence because of a concussion.
Rivers is now probable for Wednesday with a sprained right ankle. Hornets newcomer Ryan Anderson buried five 3-pointers for 25 points, while Brian Roberts and Al-Farouq Aminu tallied 16 and 14 points, respectively. The Hornets' bench registered a season-high 56 points and has scored 116 points through five games.
In other news for the Hornets, they acquired guard Matt Carroll from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Hakim Warrick on Tuesday.
New Orleans dropped two of three meetings with Houston last season, but is still 7-3 in the past 10 encounters.