James Harden sat out of Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves yet the Rocket’s bench was able to lead the Rockets to a 112-111 victory.
Harden sat out with a sore left foot. Also out for the Rockets on Saturday were Ronnie Brewer, who has a strained right calf, and Greg Smith, who has a sprained right knee. Jeremy Lin started in his place but it was Aaron Brooks who shined.
Brooks, who entered the game averaging 2.8 points, had a big second quarter, making four 3-pointers and scoring 16 points. He finished with six 3-pointers and a season-high in points to pick up the slack.
The Rockets led throughout, and Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin and Brooks made consecutive 3-pointers in a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and extend the lead to 91-74.
Sources say that Harden will likely miss Houston’s next two games thanks to that foot issue plaguing him, with further evaluation after that. This gives the bench players more time in the lineup while giving them much needed game experience.
Harden is averaging 25.4 points, 5.4 assists and 4.8 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes per game. Expect those minutes to decrease some until his foot is completely healthy, considering there is a lot of depth in the Rockets’ back court. Harden’s career averages are 16.2 points and 3.4 assists in 310 games.
Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lin and Aaron Brooks received the bulk of the action in the back court in Harden’s absence. Beverley had 17 points in 33 minutes. Lin had 19 points in 34 minutes and Brooks added a game high 26 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Francisco Garcia also played 15 minutes but did not score. Expect the same rotation of guards to continue until Harden returns.