Harden's 43 points, triple-double lead Rockets over Memphis
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 01, 2019 10:57 AM
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) looks to pass the ball under pressure from Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in his fourth straight 40-point game, leading the Houston Rockets over the Memphis Grizzlies 113-101 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) for their fifth consecutive victory.
Harden set an NBA record with his eighth straight game with at least 35 points and five assists, besting Oscar Robertson, who twice had seven-game streaks. Harden finished with his fourth triple-double this season and 39th overall.
Houston has won 10 of its last 11 to improve to 21-15.
Harden continued his incredible run that has powered Houston’s surge up the Western Conference standings after a slow start, making six three-pointers and 21-of-27 free throws. He has made at least four three-pointers in eight straight games has finished with 30 points or more in 10 games in a row.
The Grizzlies cut the lead to nine with about 90 seconds left. But P.J. Tucker made a free throw for Houston before Austin Rivers added a layup to make it 113-101 and seal the victory with about 35 seconds left.
Harden grabbed his 10th rebound seconds after that to complete his triple-double.
Kyle Anderson had 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Houston was up by 13 to start the fourth and back-to-back baskets by Clint Capela made it 93-77 with about nine minutes left. Harden made four straight free throws for the Rockets later in the fourth to leave them up 98-83.
But the Grizzlies scored four quick points, with the last basket coming when Anderson stole the ball from Harden, to cut it to 98-87 with 5.5 to go.
Gerald Green answered with a three-pointer and Houston stretched the lead to 103-87 with about four minutes left.
The Rockets led by double digits for most of the night and were up by 23 after two free throws by Harden midway through the third quarter. Memphis closed out the third with a 14-3 run to get within 86-73 entering the fourth. Marc Gasol led the way in that stretch, scoring five points.
The Rockets led 61-38 at halftime behind 28 points from Harden. He capped his huge first half by making two three's in the last 31 seconds of the half, capped by one that was well behind the line with Anderson in his face.
Grizzlies: Gasol has at least one three-pointer in 13 straight games, which ties a career-high.
Rockets: James Ennis missed his 10th straight game with a strained right hamstring. Coach Mike D’Antoni said he should return for Houston’s next game. ... Chris Paul missed his fifth game with a strained left hamstring. He said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) that he’s doing better but doesn’t know when he’ll return. ... Green made four three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 18 points and six three's. ... Eric Gordon sat out with a bruised right knee.
Grizzlies: Host Detroit on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Rockets: Visit Golden State on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time).