As the clock ticked down under 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter with Houston leading 79-74, Harden drove past JaKarr Sampson going left on the left wing. Noel, a long-armed rookie who missed all of last season with a knee injury, came across the paint from the right block to provide help defense, getting his right hand in front of the rim to execute a ferocious block as time expired.
Replays showed Noel rejecting the dunk attempt well above the rim. This one is worth another look from the baseline angle.
Noel, 20, is no stranger to rim protection, as he averaged 4.4 blocks per game during his one season at Kentucky.