James Harden and Rockets Keep Rolling With Win Over Thunder

HOUSTON — James Harden is on a roll, and it’s serving to the Houston Rockets get on monitor after their horrible begin.

Harden scored 41 factors and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 113-109, on Tuesday for his or her seventh win within the final eight video games.

He has scored 30 factors or extra in a career-high seven video games in a row, the primary time an N.B.A. participant has accomplished that since Russell Westbrook had eight consecutive 30-point video games in November 2016. He has scored at the very least 35 in his final 5, the longest such streak since Carmelo Anthony did it in six video games in April 2013.

The Rockets received simply one in all their first six video games this season and had been 11-14 after a three-game skid in early December. Since then, powered by Harden’s dominance, Houston has misplaced simply as soon as to enhance to 18-15 and transfer a season-high three video games above .500.

“We’ve had that confidence all year,” Harden stated. “Our record isn’t where we want it to be, but it’s getting there. And we’ve got to continue to work hard every day, continue to get better and grow. We’re preparing for a postseason. We’re not going to be at our tip top right now.”

Harden grew to become the primary participant to attain 40 or extra factors on Christmas since Kevin Durant had 44 for the Thunder in 2010. Harden’s newest massive sport got here because the Rockets performed with out Chris Paul, a nine-time All-Star who missed his second straight sport with a strained left hamstring. He is out for at the very least the subsequent two weeks.

A Three-pointer by Paul George with lower than two minutes left acquired Oklahoma City to four factors behind earlier than Harden missed a Three-pointer. Westbrook missed a shot for the Thunder, however George stole the ball from Harden, who fouled him.

George made each free throws to make it a 2-point sport with 43.6 seconds left. Harden then drove previous George and into the lane for a layup to make it 112-108 with 20.four seconds left.

Westbrook made one in all two free throws to chop it to three with 15 seconds left, however Austin Rivers, in his Rockets debut, made a free throw with 7.four seconds left to safe the win.

George had 28 factors and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, and Westbrook added 21 factors with 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Clint Capela had 16 factors for the Rockets and tied a season excessive with 23 rebounds.

Houston led by 6 with about 4 minutes left when Rivers, whom they signed on Monday, hit a Three-pointer to make it 107-98.

Jerami Grant scored 5 straight factors for the Thunder, highlighted by a Three-pointer, to get Oklahoma City to 107-103, however Rivers made one other Three to push the result in 7 with two minutes left.

“Everybody here has welcomed me so it has been a very easy transition,” Rivers stated. “So my whole focus has just been to play hard and just try to help them in any way I can.”

Houston had a 1-point lead within the fourth when Harden re-entered the sport and discovered Capela on consecutive possessions for dunks to make it 100-95. Eric Gordon had a layup seconds later to push the result in 7.

Harden continued the run after the timeout with a driving leap shot earlier than the Thunder scored their first basket in additional than three minutes on a layup by Grant to chop the result in 104-97.

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