Southwest Notes: Harden, Johnson, Gabriel, Spurs

Nets guard James Harden will have his No. 13 jersey retired by his former team, the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. In a 132-114 victory tonight, Harden recorded a triple-double in his first game against his Houston since being traded earlier this season. The loss marks Houston’s 13th straight.

“James Harden will always be a Rocket,” team owner Tilman Fertita said via text message. “Of course, we will retire his jersey. He made my first three years of owning this franchise unforgettable. The success he brought this franchise over eight years and the memories he created for our fan base/community (are) truly remarkable.”

In postgame comments made tonight, Harden revealed that he discovered the news of his impending jersey retirement online, per Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). “My reaction was hopefully I did something right,” he said.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Second-year Spurs small forward Keldon Johnson returned to the floor for San Antonio yesterday after clearing the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • The Pelicans sent forward Wenyen Gabriel to join their G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, according to a team press release. The BayHawks clinched a spot in the upcoming NBAGL playoffs thanks to their play on the Orlando “bubble” campus.
  • Even with key Spurs rotation players Derrick White, Rudy Gay and Devin Vassell unavailable, a thinned-out San Antonio roster has proved resilient against opponents, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News“They have dug down deep all year,” head coach Gregg Popovich said. “They never give in.” Trey Lyles, in his second year with the club, has flourished as a starter in his last four games for San Antonio, averaging 11.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG.
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