James Harden continued his torrid scoring but received plenty of help as the Houston Rockets set an NBA single-game record by sinking 26 3-pointers in a 136-118 victory over the visiting Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Harden scored 35 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-11 success on 3-point attempts, to lead the Rockets to their fifth consecutive victory.
With nine assists, Harden finished just shy of posting a double-double, a feat accomplished by teammates Clint Capela (20 points, 12 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (11 points, 11 rebounds). All five starters scored in double figures for the Rockets, with Chris Paul adding 21 points and eight assists while Eric Gordon chipped in 16 points.
Houston shot 55.3 percent overall, drilling 26 of 55 3-point tries. With the outcome well in hand and Houston reserves on the floor, the partisan crowd begged for 3-pointers in the waning moments until Michael Carter-Williams sank the record-breaker with 31.1 seconds remaining.
Paul (5 of 9), Gordon (4 of 9), and Gerald Green (4 of 7) combined with Harden in the long-distance assault.
The Wizards shot a robust 53.6 percent but were 10 of 30 from deep. Bradley Beal paced Washington with 28 points while John Wall had 18 points and 12 assists. Trevor Ariza, in his first game back in Houston after departing via free agency, had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals.
The Rockets reversed course from a sluggish start with haste, starting with consecutive 3-pointers from Harden and Tucker midway through the first quarter. What was once a six-point lead for the Wizards vanished when Harden hit the first of his consecutive step-back 3-pointers, taking full advantage of screens set by teammates that moved Ariza off Harden as the primary defender.
Once their rhythm was established, the Rockets kept rolling. Their first three made baskets in the second quarter came from behind the arc, and when the Wizards clawed to within 54-45 on a Beal bank shot, the Rockets added three additional 3-pointers in succession.
Harden closed the first half with a three-point play, but the tone was set: Houston hit 13 of 25 3-point tries prior to the intermission. Washington shot 58.1 percent in the first half but drowned in the deluge.
—Field Level Media