Basketball

Harden, Westbrook extend hot streaks

Harden continues scoring run; Westbrook bags ninth straight triple-double

Two NBA scoring streaks were extended, one record was matched and a 26-point deficit erased when Oklahoma City Thunder came from behind to defeat Houston Rockets 117-112 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Rockets' James Harden totaled 42 points - his 29th consecutive game with at least 30 - but he missed a contested three-pointer after Russell Westbrook pushed the Thunder ahead.

Westbrook, meanwhile, matched a record set by Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth consecutive triple-double: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

"It's not even surprising no more," Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson told ESPN of Westbrook's feat.

"I see him do it all the time, and the type of player he is, it's so easy for him. You don't even notice it, but it's there. He gets everybody involved, he's a great leader, so to see nine straight triple-doubles - what, is that like a record or something?"

If Westbrook bags another triple-double against the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow morning (Singapore time), he will hold the longest triple-double streak in NBA history.

Harden is also nearing another Chamberlain record. He is two 30-point games away from matching the legend for the second-longest 30-point streak in NBA history.

For a while, it looked like Harden's heroics against the Oklahoma defence would be enough to help the Rockets win.

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told ESPN: "It was a pretty good match-up against Harden. It was pretty fun, until they beat us."

There were other outstanding performers too.

The Thunder's Paul George finished with a game-high 45 points plus 11 rebounds, torching the Rockets' defence with six three-pointers plus 15-for-18 free-throws.

George's four free-throws inside the final four seconds sealed the win after Westbrook slipped through the defence to convert a lay-up and give the Thunder the lead for good at 113-112 with 26.9 seconds left.

The Rockets' Chris Paul nearly posted a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) in his strongest performance since his return from a hamstring injury.

The Thunder matched the Rockets' 42-point second quarter with a 42-point third period, keyed by 7-for-12 3-point shooting.

After committing just two turnovers in the first half, the Rockets had six in the third quarter and collapsed with 1-for-9 shooting from behind the arc.

Still, the Rockets led 86-79 before Thunder guard Dennis Schroder closed the frame with 11 consecutive points to pull Oklahoma City even at 90-90 entering the fourth.

Less than three minutes into the final frame, the Thunder led 98-92, and the Rockets were left scrambling. - REUTERS

SELECTED RESULTS:

Utah 125 San Antonio 105, Boston 112

LA Clippers 123, Indiana 105 Cleveland 90

Basketball