James Harden will miss his first game of the NBA season due to a toe sprain, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Rockets star Harden has been ruled out of Sunday's clash against the New Orleans Pelicans – Houston already without Russell Westbrook (rest).

Harden posted 44 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 108-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

"He probably could [play], but given the circumstances it's better that he doesn't," D'Antoni said before the game. "He's banged up a little bit."

Harden is enjoying another stellar season – the 2017-18 MVP averaging 38.3 points, 7.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Rockets (22-10).

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni described James Harden as "unbelievable" and "incredible" after a 60-point performance in the NBA on Saturday.

Harden finished with 60 points in just 31 minutes in the Rockets' 158-111 thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks.

The star went 16-of-24 from the field, and eight-of-14 from three-point range, in an outstanding performance.

Speaking about Harden, D'Antoni told a news conference: "Like everything else he does, unbelievable.

"Again, I think in the first half just when they doubled he gave the right play and then when they didn't double he scored.

"His first 40 points he had like 40-something points on 15 shots or 12 shots, whatever it was.

"You get 60 points on 24 shots, that's pretty good. He was incredible, but he's like that every night."

Asked if he considered leaving Harden in the game, D'Antoni said it was never an option.

"I can't do that, I couldn't, you guys would kill me if I did that and he got hurt," he said.

"I'd kill myself first of all and then you would all shoot me."

The Rockets are 13-6 and fourth in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook will "make it work" at the Houston Rockets, insisted head coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Rockets acquired Westbrook in a blockbuster trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, reuniting the 2017 NBA MVP with Harden.

Harden and Westbrook like to control the ball but D'Antoni is confident the latter will fit into Houston's line-up without any drastic changes to accommodate the All-Stars.

"We're not changing much," D'Antoni said on the The Woj Pod while discussing the addition of Westbrook. "We'll tweak it, but to say you've gotta change and you can't win that way, that's B.S."

Some critics believe the Rockets do not spread the ball around enough and play too much isolation.

Now, some are questioning whether it will be even more challenging to play that type of offense with both Harden and Westbrook, who are two ball-dominant players, on the court.

D'Antoni, however, does not think it will be a problem because the two want to play together, and they previously teamed up in Oklahoma City.

"They’ll make it work," D'Antoni said. "Do we sometimes go too much one-on-one? Yeah. Do we sometimes iso or not move enough? Yeah, we do sometimes. But I can also make the argument that sometimes teams over-pass. You try to find the balance of what is best for your players."

D'Antoni explained the Rockets will find what works best for both players to maximise their talents.

"I will start looking now at tape and trying to figure out the dynamics between the two and how they played in Oklahoma City and how it's changed since then, in the Olympics," D'Antoni said.

"But it's exciting. Whenever you have great talent, it's exciting because it gives you a chance to win, and that's what we all want to do. But it'll be my job to maximise their talents and what they do best, and it should be really good.

"I saw it in USA Basketball. You put [the stars] all together and they want to make it work, it doesn't matter. The more talent you have, the better it is. And I think right now with this duo and other people, it'll work. Now, to what degree, we'll see."

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