Houston Rockets defeated Phoenix Suns by 118-110 on Monday to hand their season-worst 11th straight loss. James Harden scored 44 points and it’s his 20th 40-point game of the season so far.
Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and Rick Barry as the only players to have scored 20 games with at least 40 points in the first 50 of a season. Harden, who also had eight rebounds and six assists, extended his streak of games with at least 30 points to 27, third-longest in NBA history.
Phoenix cut it off for the fourth time in a row and was thwarted by a basket of Harden or Paul. Harden scored 14 points in the last quarter. The Rockets were up by six at half-time and made a big lead in the third quarter. Harden sank a 3-pointer from the corner and Faried dunked a rebound to cap a 13-4 run that brought Houston 84-68. The Rockets increased the lead three times to 20 this quarter, the last one at 94: 74 on Paul’s two free throws with 1:02 remains. But Phoenix finished the time with a 6-0 sprint when Oubre’s 3-pointers on the buzzer reduced the rocket’s advantage to 94-80.
The run reached 10-0 when Phoenix scored the first four of the last quarter, ending 94:84 on Oubre’s Dunk with 10:57 left. But Harden scored a pair of 3s in an 8-0 run and Houston led 101-88 and 7:05 minutes before the end. The suns held it tight in the first half, despite Harden’s 22 points, five assists and five rebounds.