LOS ANGELES (AFP) - James Harden’s monster 50-point triple-double powered the Houston Rockets to a 126-111 NBA victory over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Harden, the reigning NBA Most Valuable player, added 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season and his second 50-point game of what has been a frustrating campaign for the Rockets so far.
Houston led the league last season with 65 regular-season wins, but came into the contest next-to-last in the Western Conference.
They gained a spot as they continued to claw their way back toward .500, improving to 13-14.
“Honestly, we’re in a hole right now,” Harden said. “You look at the standings, we’re in the 14th spot — it’s kind of depressing. But we’ve got to figure it out.
“We continue to fight our way through it.”
Harden said early-season injuries and the addition of new players contributed to the shaky start to the season, but he remained confident the Rockets can be a force in the West.
“I just believe and trust in all my guys,” he said. “We’ll continue to build.”
Harden scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets — who led 90-88 through three periods — finally pulled away in a game that featured 13 lead changes and was tied 12 times.
He pulled down his 10th rebound with less than 90 seconds remaining for the 37th triple-double of his career. He has produced four of the 13 50-point triple-doubles ever recorded in the league.
Chris Paul added 14 points and nine assists, Clint Capela chipped in 16 points and 14 rebounds and Danuel House added 15 points off the bench for the Rockets.
James led the Lakers with 29 points and Kyle Kuzma added 24, but the Lakers saw a two-game winning streak end.