Basketball

Houston Rockets soar to 7th straight win, thanks to James Harden

Harden lifts Houston with his fifth 40-plus tally in 7 games

James Harden scored 49 points on a career-high 41 shot attempts as the Houston Rockets won their seventh straight game with a 125-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Harden shot eight of 22 from three-point range and the team shot 19 of 49 on threes overall. He added six assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes for his fifth 40-plus game during the current win streak.

"We wanted to come here and win this game and we showed them," Harden said.

Point-guard Ben McLemore carried over the momentum of his season-high 21-point performance last Friday by scoring 20 against the Timberwolves.

McLemore nailed a pair of free-throws with 1:29 remaining in the third to give Houston their first double-digit lead of the contest, 89-79.

"This game was very, very important for us," said Harden. "In the first half, we gave them too many points, in the second half, we locked back in. The guys manned up and got a win."

Minnesota missed the offence of second leading scorer Andrew Wiggins, who sat out his second consecutive game with an undisclosed problem.

Karl-Anthony Towns tallied 27 points with 15 rebounds to pace the Timberwolves, while Jake Layman scored 21.

Elsewhere, reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks won the battle between the Central Division's top two teams by cruising to a 102-83 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Antetokounmpo entered the game shooting just 29 per cent from beyond the arc, but hit three of his six attempts against the Pacers.

Despite playing without Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated Atlanta Hawks 150-101, with Paul George scoring 37 points in only 20 minutes.

George, who scored 25 points in the first half, converted 10 of 17 shots from the floor overall, including six of 11 three-pointers. He made all 11 of his free throws. - REUTERS

SELECTED RESULTS:

San Antonio 116 Portland 121, Miami 109 New Orleans 94, Dallas 110 Toronto 102, Chicago 111 Brooklyn 117

Basketball