James Harden scored a game-high 40 points and led a scorching shooting performance by the Houston Rockets in their 115-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday at Toyota Center.
The Rockets, last in the league in field goal percentage, shot 36 for 74 (48.6 percent) while winning at home for the first time this season. Houston converted a season-high 20 3-pointers.
Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 22 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 20. Bogdanovic assisted on a Cory Joseph basket with 1:18 remaining that enabled the Pacers to claw to within eight points, but Chris Paul responded with a driving layup with only 62 seconds left to play.
The Pacers had their five-game road winning streak snapped and lost to Houston for the second time in six days.
Harden made 8 of 18 3-pointers while adding seven rebounds and nine assists. Clint Capela scored 18 points for the Rockets.
Sparked by Oladipo and Darren Collison, who combined for 21 points in the third, the Pacers sliced what was a 24-point deficit to 84-74 on a Collison layup at the 4:43 mark of the period.
The Rockets responded with a string of fruitful possessions, starting with Harden and his four-point play 16 seconds later. Harden drilled a step-back 3 with 3:35 left before rookie Gary Clark converted a second-chance basket through a foul. His free throw upped the lead to 94-77.
When Paul completed another three-point possession with three free throws at the 1:01 mark, the lead was back to 23 points. Paul totaled 26 points on 8-for-13 shooting including five 3s.
Harden scored 19 points during the Rockets’ 44-point second quarter, making 5 of 6 shots and 4 of 5 3-pointers. He tallied nine consecutive points as Houston turned a seven-point advantage into a 55-44 lead and after P.J. Tucker nailed a 3 that pushed the advantage to 14, Harden followed with eight consecutive points including back-to-back 3s that built the lead to 70-50.
After posting just 80 points on Thursday in Oklahoma City and 89 on Saturday in San Antonio, the Rockets recorded 76 points by the break, a high-water mark for the first half this season.
—Field Level Media