James Harden recorded his third straight 40 point game to power the Houston Rockets to a 108-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
Harden finished with 41 points and six assists to become the first player since Oscar Robertson to post at least 35 points and six assists to become the first player since Oscar Robertson to post at least 35 points and five assists in seven straight games. Robertson did it twice, in 1965 and 1967. “That’s what I play for,’ Harden said when asked about being compared to Robertson.
“Thant’s what you play the game of basketball for, to be mentioned in the name with the greats.
“Obviously, I have a long way to go, but that’s what I put my jersey on for, that’s what I lace my shoes up for, to go out there and be the best that I can be and when it’s all said and done, be mentioned as one of the best basketball players to ever touch a basketball. Harden scored 17 points in the first quarter and made all 14 of his free throws during the game. He drained seven of 16 shots from beyond the arc.
Harden scored 26 points in the first half as Houston took a 53-50 lead into the locker room.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis struggled after scoring a season-high 48 points in a victory over Dallas, taking only five shots in the first half. Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Davis finished with 22.
Houston led 77-76 after three and scored the fourth period. The Rockets extended their lead to 101-86 with just under six minutes left, but the Pelicans went on a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to 103-99.
PJ Tucker made two free throws with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth to seal the win.