It’s done

March 25, 2019
James Harden
HARDEN: Another big scoring night

Rockets maul Pelicans, clinch playoff ticket

The results:

San Antonio 115, Boston 96; LA Lakers 111, Sacramento 106; Houston 113, New Orleans 90; Charlotte 115, Toronto 114;  Golden State 121, Detroit 114; Indiana 124, Denver 88; Milwaukee 127, Cleveland 105; LA Clippers 124, New York 113.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - James Harden delivered 28 points as the Houston Rockets punched their ticket to the NBA postseason with a 113-90 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

Harden, who scored a combined 118 points in his previous two games, didn’t need to maintain his torrid pace against the Pelicans.

The Rockets led by 19 at the half and Harden’s supporting cast did their job by shutting down the Pelicans in the second and not allowing them to get back into the contest.

“We were professional tonight from the beginning of the game,” Harden said. “We’ve had previous games where teams weren’t as good, or whatever you want to call it, and we kind of let up and we let one slip. So that was a good job from top to bottom.”

NBA scoring leader Harden exploded for a career-high-tying 61 points in a win over San Antonio on Friday after netting 57 points in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday.

Harden, who is averaging 36.4 points per game, hit 10 of 19 shots from the floor and made six threes for the Rockets, who remained in third place in the Western Conference.

Rockets guards Eric Gordon scored 18 points and Chris Paul had 10 points and 13 assists against their former Pelican team.

Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds as the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks avenged a loss to Cleveland earlier in the week by beating the Cavaliers 127-105.

Antetokounmpo missed two of the three previous games with an ankle injury and did not play four days ago when the Cavaliers beat the Bucks 107-102.

He had a big impact on Sunday, adding seven assists, blocking four shots and shooting 11-of-16 from the field in 32 minutes of playing time.

Milwaukee improved to a league-leading 55-19 record, ahead of the Toronto Raptors, who are 51-23.

George Hill, who was traded to the Bucks by the Cavaliers in December, and Khris Middleton scored 17 points each, and Brook Lopez scored all 14 of his points in the first half for Milwaukee.

Kevin Love finished with 20 points, 19 rebounds and four three pointers in the loss.

In Oakland, Stephen Curry returned from a rest game to score 26 points, Klay Thompson finished with 24 and the Golden State Warriors rebounded from an embarrassing blowout loss with a 121-114 win over the Detroit Pistons.

The Warriors decided to rest Curry on Saturday and it cost them as they were clobbered 126-91 by the Dallas Mavericks.