EditorsNote: fixes score in fifth graf
James Harden recorded a 50-point triple-double, and the Houston Rockets fended off the hot-shooting Sacramento Kings for a 119-108 victory on Saturday at Toyota Center.
Harden posted his ninth 50-point game on the season while producing 50 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. With the Rockets clinging to a 101-100 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Harden sank three free throws, converted back-to-back floaters, and added a 3-pointer to extend the advantage to 111-102. Harden reached 50 points with two free throws with 48.8 seconds remaining. The 50-point triple-double was the fifth of his career.
Clint Capela added 24 points and 15 rebounds while Chris Paul chipped in 22 points and five assists for the Rockets. The Kings were officially eliminated from playoff contention after going 0 for 5 from behind the arc in the fourth quarter. The Kings entered the period 15 of 24 on 3s.
Bogdan Bogdanovic paced the Kings with 24 points off the bench while Buddy Hield added 21 points and De’Aaron Fox paired 18 points with 10 assists. Rookie Marvin Bagley III also posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The early showcase from Harden was certainly MVP-caliber. With the Kings leading 15-14 midway through the first period, Harden fed a rolling Capela for a dunk before drilling a 3 and converting three free throws after getting fouled by Fox behind the arc. Harden then fed Capela for an alley-oop dunk, closing the opening period with 17 points and four assists.
But the Kings erased a 10-point deficit with a prolific perimeter display. In climbing out of a 27-17 hole, Sacramento strung together eight 3-pointers and two three-point plays, with Bogdanovic drilling four of those treys. That surge enabled the Kings to snag a 51-41 lead by the 8:02 mark of the second quarter, and the Rockets needed Harden to pull them back from the depths.
Harden tallied 10 consecutive points for Houston, flipping a five-point deficit into a 58-53 lead with 3:02 left in the half. He added a layup to push the lead to 63-60 at the break, a modest margin as Bogdanovic, Fox and Hield shot a combined 10 of 12 on 3s in the half.
Harden closed the half with 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
—Field Level Media