Red-hot Harden lifts Rockets, Westbrook bounces back
LOS ANGELES, USA – James Harden posted a 43-point triple-double in another record-setting night to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-101 NBA victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, December 31 (Tuesday, January 1, Manila time).
Harden, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, added 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his fourth triple-double of the season and 39th of his career.
And with his eighth straight game with at least 35 points and 5 assists he set an NBA record – surpassing Oscar Robertson's two such seven-game streaks.
More important for Harden, the Rockets – who made a sputtering start to the season – won for the 10th time in their last 11 games to improve to 21-15.
That's a better measure, he said, than individual accomplishments, as "bringing a championship to the city is the important thing."
@JHarden13 goes off for 43 PTS, 13 AST, 10 REB in the @HoustonRockets win, recording his 4th straight game with 40+ points! #Rockets— NBA (@NBA) January 1, 2019
Harden joins Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players in the last 30 seasons to score 400+ points in a 10-game span. pic.twitter.com/c3d7QHHuct
Harden drained 6 three-pointers and made 21 of his 27 free throws and the Rockets led by as many as 24 before Memphis sliced the deficit to 9 points with 1:26 to play.
A free throw from PJ Tucker and a layup by Austin Rivers helped rebuild the lead as the Rockets continued to win despite the injury absence of point guard Chris Paul.
"Offensively and defensively guys are stepping up," Harden said. "We've got a long way to go, but we're heading in the right direction."
The Oklahoma City Thunder rode point guard Russell Westbrook's triple-double to a 122-102 home victory over the Dallas Mavericks, a day after falling to the Mavs in Dallas.
Westbrook, who said after his disappointing nine-point performance in Dallas that he was letting his teammates down, bounced back in a big way with 32 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.
Paul George added 22 points and Jerami Grant chipped in 16 for the Thunder, who never trailed.