Rockets beat Warriors without ill MVP Harden
Eric Gordon scored a team high 25 points and Chris Paul delivered 23 as the Houston Rockets, playing without leading scorer James Harden, used a balanced attack to beat the Golden State Warriors 118-112 yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The Rockets won on the road without the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Harden, who has been bothered by a sore neck of late and then woke up Saturday morning with flu symptoms, the team said.
"You can come in here and win on a Monday night in February or a Tuesday night in November or December," Paul said.
"But in the play-offs is when you have to beat a team four out of seven times. It's great tonight that we won this but, in two days, you all will forget this. We all will."
Harden, who was fined US$25,000 (S$33, 900) earlier yesterday for criticising the referees after a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, has missed just four games this season.
Yesterday's win showed the team's depth without Harden, who has scored 30 or more points in 32 straight games for the second longest streak in league history.
The two-time defending NBA champions Warriors beat the Rockets in a seven-game series last May in the Western Conference finals, but this regular season the tables have turned. Houston have now won all three meetings with Golden State this season, including a 107-86 rout in November.
Paul converted two clutch free-throws with 68 seconds left in the fourth and Gordon nailed four three-pointers for the Rockets, who had to use different means to beat the Warriors.
Kenneth Faried started in Harden's place and delivered 20 points and 10 rebounds as five Rocket players scored in double figures.
PJ Tucker tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Gerald Green scored 10 points as the Rockets ran off to a 20-point lead in the first half. Clint Capela grabbed 15 rebounds.
Paul dished out 11 of his season-high 17 assists in the first half to reach 9,000 for his career as the Rockets avoided a third straight road loss.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Stephen Curry added 25 with nine rebounds and seven assists for Golden State, who had their five-game home winning streak snapped. - AFP
OTHER RESULTS: Atlanta 120 Phoenix 112, Philadelphia 115 Portland 130, Washington 112 Indiana 119, Charlotte 115 Brooklyn 117, Chicago 126 Boston 116, Miami 96 Detroit 119, Utah 125 Dallas 109, New Orleans 128 LA Lakers 115, Cleveland 112 Memphis 107, Oklahoma City 116 Sacramento 119, Milwaukee 140 Minnesota 128