Rockets fired up by Harden's third straight 40-point game
James Harden recorded his third straight 40-point game to power the Houston Rockets to a 108-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
Harden finished with 41 points and six assists to become the first player since Oscar Robertson to post at least 35 points and five assists in seven straight games. Robertson did it twice in 1965 and 1967.
Harden scored 17 points in the first quarter and made all 14 of his free-throws during the game. He drained seven of 16 shots from beyond the arc.
Harden scored 26 points in the first half as Houston took a 53-50 lead into the locker room.
Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony Davis finished with 22.
Houston led 77-76 after three and scored the first seven points of the fourth period. The Rockets extended their lead to 101-86 with just under six minutes left, but the Pelicans went on a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to 103-99.
PJ Tucker made two free-throws with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth to seal the win.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his third triple-double of the season as the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks won their third straight game with a 129-115 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bucks, who improved to 25-10 on the season.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson scored 32 points and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant added 25 apiece as the defending champions downed the Portland Trail Blazers 115-105.
Damian Lillard put in 40 points for the Trail Blazers, who beat the Warriors 110-109 in overtime two nights earlier. Jusuf Nurkic added 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Portland.
Elsewhere, LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 38 points and keyed a mid-third quarter run that cemented the game and helped propel the visiting San Antonio Spurs to a 122-111 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, who defeated the LA Lakers on Friday. - REUTERS, AFP
Atlanta 111 Cleveland 108, Memphis 103 Boston 112, Phoenix 118 Denver 122