Harden on Rockets’ demoralizing loss: ‘We’ll be all right’

James Harden and the Rockets, minus two starters, fell at home to the Jazz.

James Harden isn’t overly concerned with the clubbing his Houston Rockets suffered Wednesday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“A little bit of legs and non-communication and giving them easy points, easy opportunities — a little bit of everything,” Harden told reporters. “But first game, you just continue to build those good habits and continue to get better every single game. We’ll be all right.”

Harden and the Rockets finished with the league’s best record before losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.

They looked nothing like that team Wednesday in suffering their 131-112 loss to the Pelicans in the season opener.

A team that was expected to struggle defensively did just that, falling behind by 29 points in the third quarter and never threatening after that. Harden finished with 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but the reigning NBA MVP and his team failed miserably on defense.

“They played harder, longer and did a better job,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of the Pelicans. “They played great, but at the same time, there was a period in there where we got really tired and then trying to figure things out, being tired doesn’t work, and we didn’t have the energy and we kind of let go of the rope at the end of the first half. We obviously have some things to work on, we’ve got to get our legs and then go after it.”

Up next for the Rockets: A visit to Los Angeles to face LeBron James and the Lakers on Saturday.