Report: Multiple Rockets Take Home Awards For Month of December

By Matthew Cardenas on January 2, 2019
(photo credits - @HoustonRockets on Twitter)

The month of December was great to the Rockets. At one point early in the month a tough loss to the Dallas Mavericks had many seriously questioning this roster. The Rockets are 10-1 since that Luka Doncic takeover and finished 11-4 in the month of December. After being stuck at 14th in a loaded Western Conference, the Rockets are now 4th with a 21-15 record and are the talk of the league once again, only this time in a positive light.

Those around the Association took note of the Rockets' turnaround and rewarded them for it. Head coach Mike D'Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for the fourth time with the organization, a franchise record. He had to make some tough decisions that ended up being worthwhile such as who should receive more minutes after Chris Paul suffered a hamstring strain. D'Antoni has opted to give Danuel House more time and it has done wonders for the Rockets. Recently-signed Austin Rivers has also garnered the attention of D'Antoni.

James Harden has been the cornerstone for the Rockets since being traded to Houston in 2012. He seems to take his game to an even higher level every season, somehow outdoing himself when no one expects it. Harden's month of December was a historic one. He joined Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to score 400 points in a 10-game span. All of that results in a Player of the Month award for Harden, his sixth time winning the award (tying Hakeem Olajuwon) all coming with the Rockets.

To put all of it into better perspective, Harden scored 546 points total in the month of December. The next closest player was Paul George with 431, who is a legitimate MVP candidate this season. Harden would finish December with averages of 36.4 PPG, 7.9 APG and 5.9 RPG while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three.

With Paul going down, Harden took an even bigger offensive load and ran away with it, taking this Rockets team to new heights and getting them back on track after a disastrous 1-5 start and being 11-14 at one point. He has scored at least 30 points in the last 10 games and at least 40 in the last four. This valiant effort by Harden has caught everybody's attention and put him back in the MVP conversation, where he is confident in his chances to take the award home once again.
This run by Harden is one of the most historic stretches in NBA history. Many in the media have drawn the comparison to Kobe Bryant's play in January of 2006, where he averaged 43.4 PPG for the month. It certainly makes a lot of sense as both players took it upon themselves to have team success and did whatever it took.

The job is not close to finished for the Rockets. Even with sole possession of 4th in the Western Conference, the conference is so stacked that the standings change nightly. Their hot streak will need to continue in order to remain a top team and return to the Western Conference Finals. A rematch against the Golden State Warriors takes place Thursday night in Oracle, where both Eric Gordon and Chris Paul will be sidelined. Once the team is back to full health, there is no telling what levels the team could reach. But for now, Harden and D'Antoni are rewarded for their part in the Rockets' turnaround in December.

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