Harden leads Rockets over Warriors
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s James Harden scored 34 points to lead the Rockets to a convincing 105-83 win over Golden State, strengthening their hold on second place in the NBA’s Southwest Division.
Elsewhere, Oklahoma City’s dominance of New Orleans continued, as did Portland’s over lowly Utah, while Boston jumped Denver and hung on for victory.
Harden shot 13 for 22 from the field and 7 for 9 on free throws two nights after shooting 3 for 17 — including 0 for 10 on 3-pointers.
Houston’s Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds, going 12 for 20 on free throws as the Rockets finished 25 for 39 from the line.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points and five assists, but was just 5 of 14 from the field while making all 11 free-throw attempts.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 29 points as the Thunder beat New Orleans 109-95, defeating New Orleans for the ninth-straight time.
Russell Westbrook added 25 for the Thunder.
Ryan Anderson scored 18 for the Pelicans, who were again without power forward Anthony Davis and lost Tyreke Evans to a sprained ankle late in the third quarter.
Portland’s Wesley Matthews scored 24 points as the Trail Blazers beat Utah 130-98 to make it 15 wins from 16 against the Jazz.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Northwest Division leaders, who set a franchise record with 17 3-pointers en route to a season high for points.
Boston’s Kris Humphries came off the bench and had a season-high 18 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who scored the first 14 points of the game against Denver and held on for a 106-99 win.
Jordan Crawford had 22 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who are 1-1/2 games clear atop the Atlantic Division despite a 9-12 record that would rank no better than fifth in any division in the Western Conference.
Ty Lawson scored 20 points for the Nuggets.
Atlanta’s Kyle Korver set the NBA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer as the Hawks beat Cleveland 108-89 on Friday.
Korver’s has at least one 3-pointer in 90 straight games, breaking a tie with Dana Barros (1994-96).
Al Horford scored 22 points to lead the Hawks.
Dion Waiters scored a season-high 30 points for the Cavaliers, but starters Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Gee went scoreless.
Phoenix’s Markieff Morris made his first 11 shots en route to a 25-point performance which led the Suns to a 106-97 win over Toronto, inflicting the Raptors’ fifth straight loss.
Charlotte’s Jeffery Taylor matched a career high with 20 points, leading six Bobcats in double figures which combined for a 105-78 win over Philadelphia.
Los Angeles’ Jodie Meeks made two huge 3-pointers in the final minutes to finish with 19 points and lift the Lakers past Sacramento 106-100 in what was expected to their last game before Kobe Bryant returns.
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton scored a career-high 29 points as the Bucks outlasted Washington and won 109-105 in overtime.
New York ended a run of seven-straight home losses with a 121-83 win over Orlando, with Carmelo Anthony having 20 points and 11 rebounds.