HOUSTON (AP) James Harden continues to strengthen his box for a MVP award, and is forging a place as one of a best players in Houston Rockets story in a process.
He had a career-high 51 points, and a Rockets consumed a outrageous early lead though hold on for a 115-111 win over a Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
The opening surpassed Harden’s prior career best of 50 points, that came on Mar 19. It’s his 33rd 30-point diversion this deteriorate and a ninth time he’s scored 40 this season, that both lead a NBA.
He’s a initial actor in a story of a authorization with Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Moses Malone to have dual 50-point games in a season. There have usually been 10 in group history.
“He finds a approach to wow a group each time he goes out there,” Houston’s Trevor Ariza said. “He’s only so cunning and he can measure so many opposite ways. It’s unequivocally fun to watch.”
Houston was adult by 9 with about 8 mins left when Sacramento used a 9-2 emanate to get within 104-102 with 5 1/2 remaining. An 8-0 run by Harden, that he capped with a 3-point play, pushed a lead to 112-104.
Four true points by a Kings cut a lead to 4 with reduction than a notation left, though they didn’t measure after that.
DeMarcus Cousins led a Kings with his second career triple-double with 24 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists after blank Monday’s diversion to rest. He also tied a career best with 6 blocks.
“I’ve never coached a man that can put adult so many things into a game,” Kings manager George Karl said. “He has a triple-double, though unequivocally has a quadruple-double given he had 6 blocks, 3 steals and during slightest one or maybe dual charges. There are another 10 security he gave us given of his defensive abilities.”
Harden, who scored 17 points in a third quarter, had 49 points before knocking down a span of giveaway throws with reduction than dual mins left to obscure his prior high-point game.
The Rockets led by as many as 19 points in a initial half before Sacramento rallied to take a lead early in a third quarter.
Harden, who is second in a joining in scoring, tied a career best by creation 8 of 9 3-pointers, and Ariza had 6 and finished with 22 points.
“Shooting 8-of-9 from 3 is tough to do,” manager Kevin McHale said. “It’s tough to do when you’re by yourself, most reduction in a diversion when all is contested.”
Both teams played though a star. The Rockets were blank Dwight Howard, who isn’t personification both games of back-to-backs given returning from a two-month deficiency with flourishing in his right knee. He’ll play Thursday night during Dallas.
Sacramento’s Rudy Gay, who is averaging 20.9 points a game, sat out after removing a concussion Monday night
Harden pronounced he doesn’t change a approach he plays when Howard isn’t on a floor.
“If a conflict is there, afterwards we take it,” he said. “If not, we find a assist, find one of my teammates open and I’ll pass a ball. Similar to each singular diversion we play in.”
The diversion was tied during 70 after a 3-pointer by Ben McLemore with about 7 mins left in a third quarter. Houston used a 9-2 run to take a 79-72 lead. Ray McCallum’s 3-pointer shortly after that got Sacramento within 5, before Harden took over.
He scored their subsequent 11 points, while a Kings managed only one basket, to extend a lead to 93-79 with dual mins left in a quarter.
Houston led by 5 early in a third entertain before Sacramento scored 6 true points, with 4 from Cousins, to take a 61-60 lead.
The Rockets were adult by 19 after opening a second entertain with an 11-0 run. The Kings got going after that, regulating a 14-2 spurt, punctuated by a asperse by Cousins, to cut a lead to 48-41 mid by a quarter.
A 3-pointer by Harden a integrate of mins after done it 54-45, though Sacramento scored a subsequent 8 points to get within 54-53 dual mins before halftime.
The Rockets led 58-55 during halftime.
Kings: The Kings aren’t certain when Gay will return. He contingency pass a league-mandated concussion custom before personification again. … The 10 assists by Cousins tied a career high.
Rockets: Joey Dorsey started in place of Howard and 7 points and 11 rebounds. … Jones returned on Wednesday after blank 6 games with a partially collapsed lung and tied a career high with 7 blocks.
Cousins on Harden’s play this season: “James is a tough man to guard, period. Everybody knows that. we don’t consider a word `stop’ is a word we can use when you’re articulate about James Harden.”
Kings: Host New Orleans on Friday.
Rockets: Visit Dallas on Thursday.