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[HOUSTON] — The Houston Rockets played host to the Miami Heat last night but couldn't manage to leave much of an impact, failing to keep up with their visiting rivals and eventually succumbing in a 109-117 defeat. The loss bumps Houston's record down to 40-18 on the season, while the victory gives Miami a 25-32 total on the year. It's not overly surprising that the Rockets would end up losing this one consider they did little to establish themselves as dangerous threats. Perhaps the showing can serve as an essential building block for the team in the days to come.

Team results aside, a monster night from James Harden is all that fans will be talking about as they process the contest. Harden pumped out a stat line of 38 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 blocks and 0 steals in 42 minutes on the night, quantifiable proof of his place among the top tier of NBA players. Still, one can't be overly enthusastic about the numbers considering that even Harden himself would presumably trade the solid figures for a different result on the scoreboard. Needless to say, Houston will take any win they can get their hands on considering where they find themselves in the conference but this just wasn't one of them.

Unable to match Harden's numbers, Hassan Whiteside can rest assured that he bested his rival where it actually counts. Whiteside's 23 points, 14 rebounds and 1 assists led the Heat in the winning effort.

Individual performances aside, if there's one area where the Rockets can improve, it's on the defensive side of the ball. Though Houston wasn't terrible in the ball game, there's no denying that a stricter focus on limiting their opponents could serve them well the next time they collide with a worthy foe.

The loss hurts for the homeside but they'll get their opportunity to regain ground in a pending matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Heat, meanwhile, will set their sights on a run-in with the .

Rockets Stats

Roster P R A B S M
J. Harden3812121042
R. Anderson17610031
N. Hilario8910120
E. Gordon12220132
T. Ariza5420236
C. Capela12200016
C. Brewer4220127
S. Dekker6300121
P. Beverley7020013
M. Harrell010003

Heat Stats

Roster P R A B S M
H. Whiteside231415031
D. Waiters23970036
T. Johnson16740033
G. Dragic21150033
J. Johnson6750131
R. McGruder11120227
W. Reed3611016
L. Babbitt9011017
W. Ellington5110015
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