Basketball

Harden takes his 30-point streak to 30 matches

James Harden produced a scintillating late burst of scoring to extend his remarkable 30-point scoring streak to 30 games yesterday morning (Singapore time), as his Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-104.

The reigning NBA MVP had been bidding to become only the second player in history, after Wilt Chamberlain, to score at least 30 points in 30 consecutive games as the Rockets hosted the Mavs.

But Harden's run of 30-point games looked to be in serious jeopardy after a dogged performance by the Mavericks, who often double-teamed the Rockets ace in an attempt to staunch his scoring ability.

With around three minutes remaining, Harden looked to be in trouble with only 20 points against his name.

However, back-to-back three-pointers took him to 26 points with 1:57 on the clock, and he moved to 28 points after two free-throws with just over a minute remaining.

With the Toyota Centre home crowd roaring him on, Harden broke the 30-point barrier with a three-pointer to finish with 31 points on the night.

Harden is now one game shy of Chamberlain's tally of 31 consecutive 30-point games for second place on the all-time list. Chamberlain also holds the outright record with a streak of 65 30-point games.

Harden later spoke of his satisfaction to have joined Chamberlain as the only player to have reached 30 30-point games.

"That's one of the greatest ever to touch a basketball," Harden said. "It's an honour to be in that conversation.

"Obviously I have a long way to go but it's a start. Just trying to keep it going."

Harden's main satisfaction, however, was in helping secure victory for Houston, who moved to 33-23 with the win to stay firmly in the play-off hunt in the Western Conference.

"They're a really good team, especially offensively," Harden said of Dallas.

"They can get it going. They've got a number of guys that can shoot the ball well.

"We just had to keep our composure and make some big shots."

Gerald Green had 19 points off the bench for the Rockets while Chris Paul and Kenneth Faried had 17 apiece.

Luka Doncic led the Dallas scoring with 21 points.

Elsewhere, Kawhi Leonard drained the game-winner with 4.4 seconds left with a 30-point display as the Toronto Raptors outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 127-125. - AFP

SELECTED RESULTS: Chicago Bulls 99 Milwaulkee Bucks 112, Minnesota Timberwolves 130 Los Angeles Clippers 120, Oklahoma City Thunder 120 Portland Trail Blazers 111.

Mickelson wins for a record-tying fifth time

Phil Mickelson, 48, captured his 50th career worldwide title yesterday morning (Singapore time), finishing off the last two holes of his darkness-halted final round to win the US PGA Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament.

The American closed with a six-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th hole to complete a bogey-free final round of seven-under 65 and conclude 72 holes on 19-under 268. He defeated England's Paul Casey by three strokes.

Casey, who also birdied 18 to finish a last-round 71, and Mickelson were the only players stopped by darkness in yesterday's hail-delayed final round.

Mickelson had two holes remaining and a three-stroke edge over Casey, who resumed by making a three-foot par putt at 16.

It was the fifth career PGA victory at Pebble Beach for Mickelson, who matched the all-time record set by fellow American Mark O'Meara. - AFP

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