James Harden worked through a subpar shooting performance to help the Houston Rockets carry a 10-game winning streak into the All-Star break following a 100-91 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Harden totaled a game-high 28 points on 7-of-19 shooting and added nine rebounds and nine assists as Houston sealed its second double-digit winning streak this season. The Rockets won 14 consecutive games bridging the months of November and December.
Harden sank two free throws with 10.3 seconds left as Houston avoided being held under 100 points for just the fifth time this season. After drilling 22 3-pointers on Tuesday at Minnesota, the Rockets struggled against the Kings’ 29th ranked defense, shooting just 14 of 49 from deep (28.6 percent).
Chris Paul scored 17 of his 19 points in the second quarter and added seven assists and two steals to his ledger. Clint Capela posted his 30th double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds), and P.J. Tucker delivered a strong all-around effort with 10 points, seven boards and two steals.
Houston has won 14 of the past 15 meetings with Sacramento and extended its home winning streak in the series to eight games.
The Kings trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter but cut the deficit to six points inside the final minute. Bogdan Bogdanovic paced Sacramento with 20 points and five assists while Garrett Temple added 13 points off the bench. Justin Jackson, Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield tallied 12 points each for the Kings.
Sacramento capitalized on seven Houston turnovers in the first quarter, parlaying those miscues into nine points and a 25-20 lead entering the second period. With the offense sputtering, Paul suddenly erupted, scoring 14 consecutive points for the Rockets to lead the turnaround.
The Rockets committed just one turnover in the second quarter, and along with the outburst from Paul, that played a significant role in their 35-point explosion. However, when their offense stalled again in a 17-point third, the Rockets had to labor to finish off the stubborn Kings.
--Field Level Media