Basketball

Harden scores 56 as Rockets shoot down Jazz

James Harden was an unstoppable force, pouring in a career-high 56 points as the Houston Rockets rolled over the visiting Utah Jazz 137-110 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The all-star guard Harden also had 13 assists and made 19-of-25 shots from the field as he finished just one point shy of the team record of 57 set by Hall-of-Fame guard Calvin Murphy during the 1977/78 NBA season.

The 28-year-old American missed his final four shots in pursuit of the franchise mark.

"No," Harden said when asked if he was aware of the franchise mark.

"We won, right?"

Harden finished seven of eight from three-point range, while making 11-of-12 free-throws. With his final basket in the third quarter, Harden surpassed his previous career high of 53 points.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said: "To me, what makes him even more difficult is his intelligence as a player.

"He's able to recognise situations because he is so talented and sometimes you don't see the subtleties of his game, his intelligence.

"He's an intelligent guy and there was really not much we can do."

Houston hit 23-of-39 three-point attempts, with guard Eric Gordon shooting six of 11 from deep while adding 20 points. Trevor Ariza tallied 14 points, while making four-of-eight three-pointers.

All five Utah starters scored in double figures, but rookie guard Donovan Mitchell came off the bench to pace the Jazz offence with 17 points.

The Jazz darted to a 10-2 lead before the Rockets stormed back behind Harden, who scored 30 first-half points and made his first 10 shots en route to his sixth career 50-point game.

In Cleveland, Dennis Schroder scored 28 points and the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks put the brakes on their eight-game losing streak by beating Cleveland Cavaliers 117-115.

The Hawks built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, but nearly let it slip.

Channing Frye missed a three-pointer with one second to go that would have won it for Cleveland and Dwyane Wade's missed tip-in at the buzzer would have tied it.

The Hawks, who were without five key players, had not won since opening night.

The Cavaliers are also struggling and have lost five of their last six games.

LeBron James scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Kyle Korver added 23 and Wade finished the game with 25 points. - AFP

OTHER RESULTS

LA Lakers 107 Memphis 102, Portland 103 Oklahoma City 99, Minnesota 112 Charlotte 94, NY Knicks 108 Indiana 101, San Antonio 112 Phoenix 95, Orlando 88 Boston 104, Toronto 96 Washington 107, LA Clippers 101 Miami 104, Cleveland 115 Atlanta 117.

NBA