James Harden had 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as the Houston Rockets defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 107-101, on Saturday night in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
Chris Paul added 21 points, Trevor Ariza scored 17 and Clint Capela had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony Davis had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 19, Ian Clark scored 17, Darius Miller had 13 and E’Twaun Moore 10 to lead the Pelicans, who lost for the fourth time in five games, further loosening their hold on a Western Conference playoff spot.
Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo did not play, as he rested at the start of a back-to-back set and a string of five games in six days. New Orleans hosts Boston on Sunday, Dallas on Tuesday, Indiana on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
The Rockets led by six points at halftime, and Ariza made two 3-pointers and PJ Tucker and Harden each made one as they started the third quarter with a 16-2 run.
Davis and Holiday made back-to-back baskets to start a 9-3 run that pulled New Orleans within 81-68.
Paul made a 3-pointer before Nikola Mirotic and Cheick Diallo each made two free throws for the Pelicans, leaving Houston with an 84-72 lead after three quarters.
Miller scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, making back-to-back 3-pointers and turning the second into a four-point play after being fouled.
New Orleans got within four points before Tucker made a 3-pointer, helping the Rockets take a 92-83 lead midway through the fourth.
Houston led by 10 before Davis made consecutive baskets to cut the lead to 95-89.
Harden and Capela made consecutive baskets, but Clark and Moore answered with consecutive baskets. Then Harden dribbled the shot clock down to less than five seconds and swished a 3-pointer for a 102-93 lead with 1:31 left.
The Pelicans got within four with 49 seconds left, but Luc Mbah a Moute made two free throws to effectively seal the win.
Eight Rockets scored and the team made six 3-pointers in grabbing a 32-29 lead after one quarter. Clark scored 11 points, but Paul matched that and Harden added nine in the second quarter as Houston took a 60-54 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media