THE real Houston Rockets finally showed up in the absence of Carmelo Anthony, rolling to a 107-86 victory over the Golden State Warriors at the Toyota Center in Houston on Friday, Manila time.
In their first game since parting ways with Anthony, the Rockets flashed better fluidity and defense as they shackled the defending champion Warriors on the way to the blowout win.
James Harden showed the way with 27 points, three boards, three assists, and two steals in 32 minutes for the Rockets, who prevailed in the rematch of the Western Conference Finals that the Warriors won in seven games.
The Rockets had been a pale shadow of the team that fell a win short of reaching the finals last year as they had trouble fitting Anthony in their team, going below .500 in their first 13 games of the season.
But on the same day they announced their release of Anthony, the Rockets flaunted their old form - and even with better defense against the Warriors - as they evened their record to 7-7.
James Ennis III added 19 points and five boards, while Eric Gordon showed why he is one of the best Sixth Men in the game, chipping in 17 points, three assists, and one steal.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 20 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block in his first game since welcoming back Draymond Green after their feud.
Despite Green's return, the Warriors were still missing Steph Curry as they dropped to 12-4.