NBA: James Harden scored 37 points on his Houston Rockets debut in 105-96 win in Detroit
Last Updated: 01/11/12 7:37am
James Harden: Huge impact on debut
James Harden made a huge impact on his Houston Rockets debut as they opened the NBA season with a 105-96 win over Detroit.
Harden celebrated signing an $80m deal in the wake of his trade from Oklahoma City by scoring 37 points and weighing in with 12 assists.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year played a supporting role to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the Thunder's run to last season's NBA Finals, but he feels he is ready to become a team leader.
And few would disagree after his opening outing for a Rockets team that just missed out on the play-offs during the curtailed 2011-12 campaign.
They looked like starting the season with a defeat when the Pistons edged four points clear at half-time and added another six to their advantage heading into the final 12 minutes.
But Harden's shots started dropping and the Rockets dominated the fourth period 33-15 to eventually win with a bit in hand, Carlos Delfino scoring 15 points and another debutant Omer Asik adding 12 to go with nine rebounds.
Harden said: "It's a new role for me. I think everybody knows that. My job is just to do the best I can every day. I just have to be a leader out there."