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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — James Harden is on a run the NBA hasn’t seen since Oscar Robertson.
Harden had 41 factors and 6 assists to turn out to be the primary participant because the Corridor of Fame guard to file a minimum of 35 factors and 5 assists in seven consecutive video games, and the Houston Rockets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 108-104 on Saturday evening.
“That’s what I play for,” Harden stated when requested about being in comparison with the Massive O. “That’s what you play the sport of basketball for, to be talked about within the identify with the greats. Clearly, I’ve a protracted approach to go, however that’s what I put my jersey on for, that’s what I lace my footwear up for, to go on the market and be the most effective that I will be and when it’s all stated and completed, be talked about as the most effective basketball gamers to ever contact a basketball.”
Harden had 26 factors within the first half and reached 40 for the third straight sport. He was 7 for 16 from 3-point vary and made all 14 free throws. He frequently juked Pelican defenders off their ft to attract fouls, together with two fouls from behind the arc for an additional straightforward six factors.
“I’ve stated it a thousand instances — and I don’t assume I’m flawed as a result of I get to look at it each evening — however you don’t get higher than what he does offensively,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni stated. “Nobody’s higher. Then he’s additionally developing with steals and rebounds. I imply, he does lots. I feel folks generally are simply attempting to look to search out holes in his sport — and I feel everyone has somewhat one thing. He doesn’t make each shot.”
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Anthony Davis regarded sluggish an evening after scoring a season-high 48 factors in a victory over Dallas, taking solely 5 pictures within the first half and ending with 22 factors. Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 23 factors and 11 rebounds.
Houston led 77-76 after three and scored the primary seven factors of the fourth interval, 5 coming from Danuel Home Jr. on a reverse layup and an open 3-pointer. The Rockets prolonged their result in 101-86 with 5:57 left, however the Pelicans went on a 13-2 run, with Davis scoring six, to chop the deficit to 103-99.
With the Rockets main 104-101 with 12.6 seconds left, P.J. Tucker, a 56 p.c free throw shooter, made each foul pictures to ice the victory.
Harden torched the Pelicans for 17 factors within the first quarter and added 9 extra within the second as Houston took a 53-50 halftime lead. Harden’s 26 first-half factors have been greater than half of the Rockets’ scoring. The following closest teammate in scoring was Austin Rivers with eight.
“I assumed we did a extremely good job defensively,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stated. “We are saying that, and Harden will get (41), however that doesn’t hassle us as a result of we knew that that was a chance. I assumed we did job in every single place else, however we simply didn’t fairly recover from the hump with making just a few performs down the stretch.”
Rockets: G Eric Gordon, who scored 21, together with 16 within the second half, limped by the fourth quarter with a sore proper knee. “I’ll know extra tomorrow,” Gordon stated. . D’Antoni stated Harden’s additional exercise routine is paying dividends almost midway by the grind of the common season. “It doesn’t put on him out, it offers him power,” D’Antoni stated. “Clearly, it’s paying off.” … C Clint Capela has averaged 15.zero rebounds within the final 9 video games.
Pelicans: F Darius Miller, held scoreless in a Friday evening victory over Dallas, missed the sport resulting from an sickness. Solomon Hill began in his place. … Gentry referred to as Harden “the most effective ‘iso’ participant on this planet. I don’t know if anyone is best within the historical past of this league, actually, so far as drawing fouls and making performs in ‘iso’ conditions..” … Regardless of three separate dropping streaks of 4, 5 and 6 video games, Gentry says his gamers haven’t “misplaced religion that we’re going to be crew.”
Rockets: Host Memphis on Monday evening.
Pelicans: Shut a three-game homestand on Monday evening towards Minnesota.
The Related Press contributed to this report.
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