EditorsNote: adds Whiteside’s rebound total, other minor edits
James Harden continued to feast on the Florida teams on Wednesday night.
Harden scored 41 points to lead the Houston Rockets to their sixth straight victory, 109-101 over the host Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The left-handed Harden was 13-for-25 from the field, including 5-for-12 from behind the 3-point line.
The NBA’s leading scorer, Harden had a strong start for the Rockets, scoring 16 first-quarter points as Houston ran out to a 35-24 lead behind 55 percent shooting.
The 30-point quarter was the 88th for the Rockets this season, second in the NBA.
The Rockets went on a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 17-point lead, their largest of the half.
However, Goran Dragic scored 13 points, including Miami’s final 10, as the Heat went on an 18-6 run to end the quarter and cut the halftime deficit to 61-57.
Josh Richardson’s 3-pointer for a 68-67 lead in the third quarter created the Heat’s first advantage since 8-7, but the Rockets led 83-80 after Chris Paul’s 3-pointer inside the last minute of the period.
The teams exchanged leads in the final quarter, but Houston outscored Miami 26-21 for its 10th win in the past 11 games.
The Rockets improved to 20-7 on the road.
Paul had 24 points. Clint Capela had 13 points while Gerald Green chipped in 12 off the bench.
Richardson set career highs with 30 points and seven 3-pointers for Miami. Dragic also had 30 points, and Hassan Whiteside added 16 points and 17 rebounds.
Miami lost its fifth straight.
The Heat were without Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington, who were both nursing sore shoulders. It was the first game missed by both players.
Houston’s Trevor Ariza missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury.
Harden has been on a hot streak recently, recording a 60-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double against the Orlando Magic on Jan. 30. The output marked the first 60-point triple-double in NBA history.
He is also the Western Conference’s reigning Player of the Week, winning the award for the fourth time this season.
—Field Level Media