HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden is heating up for the Houston Rockets.
Just how hot has he been?
Hakeem Olajuwon hot — that's how hot. He's averaged more than 37 points in the last three games to become the first Rocket to score at least 37 points in three straight games since the Hall of Famer did it in 1994-95.
Harden was slowed by foot and ankle problems late last year, but there have been no signs of that lately — welcome news for an inconsistent team dealing with injuries in its first season with Dwight Howard.
Harden, who has hit a season-high 38 in two of those games, is enjoying the roll, but is more concerned about the big picture.
"Most important is us winning and playing the right way," Harden said. "We haven't found a rhythm yet this season ... where everybody is on the same page. So that's the most important thing right now and I'm just trying to be a leader. Whether it's me scoring 37 points or me scoring five or 10 points, as long as we're racking up those wins, that's all that matters."
Houston has won two in a row and starts a four-game road trip Friday in Atlanta. The Rockets are 23-13 and five games behind Southwest Division leader San Antonio in the standings.
Harden was great last year for Houston in his first season as a starter after serving as Oklahoma City's sixth man on a roster starring Kevin Durant. But the 6-foot-5 guard has really flourished in Year 2, and is fifth in the NBA in scoring at 24.9 points per game.
Howard loves playing with Harden and was in one of his silly moods when he talked about his new teammate on Thursday. He pretended to be psychic and predict what Harden will do next.