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Harden drops 42 as the Houston Rockets dump the Boston Celtics

By Reuters - Mar 04,2019 - Last updated at Mar 04,2019

Houston Rockets guard James Harden drives uncontested to the basket against the Boston Celtics during their NBA game in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday (Reuters photo by Winslow Townson)

James Harden scored 42 points before fouling out and the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to five games with a 115-104 victory over the host Boston Celtics on Sunday.

Before being whistled for his sixth foul with 1:44 left to play, Harden staved off a furious Boston rally with a driving layup and a 3-pointer over two defenders that extended the lead to 112-100. The Celtics, once down 71-43, scored the opening 10 points of the fourth quarter and had cut the margin to nine on a Marcus Smart (18 points) second-chance basket at the 4:40 mark.

The Celtics rallied behind their reserves, with Jaylen Brown posting 15 points and six rebounds off the bench to lead the charge. Boston recorded a 31-9 advantage in bench points.

Eric Gordon matched his career high with eight 3-pointers and scored 32 points to complement Harden, who was 6 of 18 on treys. Chris Paul added 15 points and 12 assists as Houston, who finished 21 of 51 on threes, improved to 12-0 this season when Paul records double-digit assists.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Al Horford added 19 points and six boards. Jayson Tatum chipped in 12 points for Boston on his 21st birthday.

Scoring bursts came with ease for the Rockets, starting with their 10-0 run to a 15-6 lead in the first quarter. Houston parlayed six Boston turnovers into 10 points and a 10-point lead entering the second, and in that period Harden and Gordon continued to fire away from beyond the arc.

Harden (23 points) and Gordon (20) matched the Celtics by combining for 43 first-half points, with Gordon sinking 5 of 6 threes.

The Rockets’ 3-point proficiency keyed their 65-43 halftime lead, as was their corralling of Irving, who scored 14 first-half points, but attempted only five shots. The Rockets drained 10 of 24 treys while the Celtics finished 1 of 13 from deep by the intermission.


Thunder 99, Grizzlies 95


Russell Westbrook scored 22 points, including two big shots in the closing stretch, to lead Oklahoma City past visiting Memphis.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Thunder, the team’s first since an 0-4 start to begin the season, and kept them tied with Portland for third place in the Western Conference after the Trail Blazers won at Charlotte earlier in the day.

Avery Bradley scored 27 points to lead the Grizzlies, who have lost six of their last eight.


Pistons 112, 

Raptors 107 (OT)


Blake Griffin had 27 points and seven rebounds, and Detroit scored the final 10 points of overtime to defeat visiting Toronto.

Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson had 19 points apiece for Detroit, who have won nine of its last 11 to reach the 500 mark at 31-31.

Andre Drummond had 15 points and 17 rebounds despite foul trouble. Wayne Ellington added 11 points for Detroit, who beat coach Dwane Casey’s former team for the second time this season.


Traill Blazers 118, Hornets 108


Rodney Hood came off the bench to score 27 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, as Portland knocked off host Charlotte.

The Trail Blazers bolted to a 15-point lead in the first quarter but then had to pull away again in the fourth quarter, going on a 15-2 run in the final six minutes. Hood scored 14 of 16 Portland points in one stretch of the quarter.

Portland won for the sixth time in their last seven games. Jeremy Lamb scored 23 off the bench to lead the Hornets.


Wizards 135, Timberwolves 121


Bobby Portis had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Bradley Beal scored 22 points and host Washington defeated Minnesota.

Reserve Jabari Parker added 22 points for Washington, which had lost five of six.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 28 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, his first sub-30 point effort in four games. Derrick Rose scored 18 points off the bench.


Clippers 128, Knicks 107


Landry Shamet made four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes as Los Angeles went on to rout visiting New York.

Shamet finished with 21 points, all on 3-pointers, and Danilo Gallinari added 20 for the Clippers, who were beginning a stretch of eight consecutive games at the Staples Centre. The Clippers will be listed as the visiting team on Monday night when they return to their home floor to face the rival Lakers.

Noah Vonleh (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Mitchell Robinson (16 points, 13 rebounds) recorded double-doubles for the Knicks, who likewise were playing the opener of a back-to-back sequence.


Cavaliers 107, Magic 93


Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points off the bench, and Cleveland enjoyed a big fourth quarter to top visiting Orlando.

Collin Sexton had 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Kevin Love posted a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Cedi Osman finished with 14 points and six boards.

Magic big man Nikola Vucevic led all scorers with 28 points on 13-for-16 shooting. He pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out six assists.


Hawks 123, Bulls 118


Alex Len scored a season-high 28 points and made two key free throws in the final seconds as visiting Atlanta hung on to beat Chicago.

Len picked up the scoring slack for the Hawks, who were without two starters and saw point guard Trae Young ejected in the third quarter. Len was 9 of 18 from the floor and made five 3-pointers to go along with nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

Lauri Markkanen led Chicago with 19 points and nine rebounds.

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