James Harden scored 21 points in the first quarter of the Houston Rockets’ preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo.
The 2018-19 season’s main scorer confirmed off his full offensive arsenal as he erupted in the opening interval.
Harden opened his account with a three-pointer from a barely wayward Russell Westbrook move. He adopted that with a drive into the Raptors’ lane and completed with a finger roll on the rim.
Midway by means of the opening interval, Harden related with a floated leap shot and a lay-up to offer Houston a 22-20 lead. Two extra drives into the lane resulted in two extra made floaters earlier than the 2017-18 MVP completed off the quarter in fashion with a trademark step-back three that drew gasps from the Tokyo crowd.
Harden added 13 extra points earlier than leaving the sport for the ultimate time with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter and the Rockets main 104-89. His 34 points got here on 11-of-14 capturing, together with 4-of-7 from three-point land, and he additionally contributed seven assists.
With Harden sat on the bench, the Raptors lowered their deficit to seven points on the finish of the third quarter then outscored Houston 35-23 in the ultimate interval to expire 134-129 victors.
Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 24 points on 7-of-16 capturing whereas Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher all scored in double figures.
The sport additionally marked the Rockets debut of Westbrook, acquired by Houston by way of commerce with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer time.
Westbrook, the 2016-17 league MVP, equipped 13 points and 6 assists in 20 minutes of play.