James Harden.

Houston Rockets set multiple franchise records in rout over Phoenix Suns

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Football News

The Houston Rockets were finally able to call on the services of Chris Paul after he made his long-awaited return from a knee injury on Thursday night and made an instant impact.

After securing a trade to Houston from the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason, CP3 aggravated a knee injury in the season opener against the Golden State Warriors which forced him to miss almost a month.

After finally taking to the court again, the veteran played just 20 minutes against the Phoenix Suns but he did enough damage in that time as the Rockets strolled to a 142-116 rout.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni said he expected "bumps" while incorporating Paul into his offence but that wasn't evident in Phoenix.

The 32-year-old put in a terrific display and registered a double-double in 21 minutes, scoring 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting and dishing out 10 assists with only one turnover.

His partnership with superstar James Harden was effortless as they torched the Suns. 'The Beard' ended the night with 48 points on 12-of-22 shooting as well as seven assists.

"James knows that every night he's not going to have 48 and stuff like that, but we just try to play the right way, make the right plays and move the ball," said Paul, per ESPN.

Houston Rockets v Charlotte Hornets

"It's fun. It's fun playing like that because of the energy with our team. We know it's not going to be easy like this night in and night out, but we talk, we communicate and that's what helps."

The huge scoring night saw the Rockets set multiple franchise records as they put the ball in the basket at will.

They produced the highest-scoring first quarter in franchise history with 45 points and scored another 45 in the second quarter to set a record for points in a half with 90.

"I thought there was something wrong with the score," Harden said, per ESPN.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, a first-half points total of 90 or more has only been accomplished twice before in the shot clock era (since 1954-55).

Harden's monster night saw him overtake Giannis Antetokounmpo as the league's leading scorer. The All-Star guard is now averaging 31.8 points and a league-best 10.1 assists.

The 28-year-old put on another efficient scoring display as he went 6-of-11 from three-point range and nailed all 18 of his free throws. At one point late in the first half, he had 33 points on only 11 field goal attempts.

Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks

"I've never seen somebody score so effortlessly," Paul said.

The return of CP will only make the 12-4 Rockets even better and on the evidence of this game, they will enjoy more offensive outbursts thanks to their star-studded backcourt.

James Harden
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Chris Paul
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division

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