EditorsNote: clarifies Harden’s record in third graf
James Harden recorded a triple-double, and the Houston Rockets completed an unbeaten month at home with a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
Harden posted 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists to drag the Rockets to their 10th victory in 11 games overall and cap a 9-0 mark at Toyota Center in December.
Harden recorded his fourth consecutive 40-plus-point game and set an NBA record with his eighth successive 35-plus-point, five-plus-assist effort, though he did commit nine turnovers.
The Rockets, who led by as many as 24 points, improved to 5-5 without guard Chris Paul.
Clint Capela chipped in a double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds) while Gerald Green added 18 points and five rebounds off the bench. Danuel House Jr. scored 16 points and hit 4 of 6 3-point attempts for Houston, which finished 18 of 41 from behind the arc. The Grizzlies went 6-for-25 on treys.
Memphis lost 10 of 15 games in December. Kyle Anderson paced the Grizzlies with 20 points despite going 0-for-6 from the free-throw line. Mike Conley tallied 19 points, and JaMychal Green added 17 off the bench. Marc Gasol recorded a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Just when it appeared that Houston had complete control, the Grizzlies closed the third period with a 14-3 run that sliced the deficit from 24 points to 86-73 entering the fourth quarter. Gasol initiated that rally with a 3-pointer and added a layup off a pick-and-roll to breathe life into Memphis.
The 3-point discrepancy paced the Rockets’ runout to the lead. While Memphis converted only 2 of 6 from behind the arc in the first quarter, seven of the Rockets’ nine first-quarter field goals came from deep. And with the Grizzlies trapping Harden early, he was secondarily involved in the outburst, posting six assists against only four attempts in the opening frame.
Green was the beneficiary, hitting 4 of 6 treys for 12 first-period points to spark the breakaway.
Harden was the linchpin when Houston extended its lead in the second, pouring in 20 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the period. His 3-pointer built the advantage to 45-28 at the 4:31 mark, and he added a floater, three free throws and back-to-back treys inside the final 1:37 of the half, the last hoop beating the buzzer and extending the lead to 61-38 at the break.
—Field Level Media