Harden powers Rockets vs Magic

January 28, 2019
James Harden

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Chris Paul returned from injury, but it was James Harden’s 40 points that fueled the Houston Rockets’ 103-98 come-from-behind victory over the Orlando Magic in the NBA on Sunday.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Harden extended his streak of games with at least 30 points to 23. He chipped in 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots — including one in the last 30 seconds to help the Rockets seal the win.

Paul, who missed 17 games with a left hamstring injury, finished with 12 points, six assists and five steals.

Houston trailed by as many as 15 in the third quarter, never taking the lead until there were less than five minutes remaining.

Harden keyed their rally, scoring seven straight Rockets points in the final 2:12 of the contest starting with a basket that put Houston up 95-93.

“They kept digging it and digging it and finally we held them to 37 in the second half,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “That was awesome — that was really good defense.”

Paul George led the way in Oklahoma City, scored 36 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in the Thunder’s 118-112 victory over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

Russell Westbrook notched his 16th triple-double of the season with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Thunder put the brakes on Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to post a fifth straight win.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter.

Milwaukee closed to within three with 1:09 left in the game, but George answered Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe’s three-pointer with his own from beyond the arc to push the Thunder’s lead back to 113-107 and contributed two of the free throws that Oklahoma City used to seal the game.

Antetokounmpo finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds and Khris Middleton added 22 points for the Bucks, who saw their six-game winning streak end.

In Dallas, Toronto star Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and the Raptors withstood a triple-double from Dallas rookie Luka Doncic in a 123-120 victory over the Mavericks.

Pascal Siakam converted a three-point play with 3:56 remaining to break a 108-108 tie as the Raptors erased a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Danny Green stretched Toronto’s lead to 116-112 with 1:34 to play, and after Dallas’ Harrison Barnes missed a pair of free throws Leonard scored on a driving layup.

Mavs prodigy Doncic, 19, scored 35 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists to become the first to post two triple-doubles in the NBA while still a teenager.