HOUSTON (Texas) • James Harden posted his third triple-double in five games to power the Houston Rockets over visitors the Portland Trail Blazers 126-109 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league on Thursday.
He finished with 26 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds to spark the Rockets (7-5). It was Harden's 12th career triple-double and the Rockets are 10-2 when he achieves double digits in three categories.
The Rockets made 14 of 32 three-pointers. Trevor Ariza scored 16 points, Clint Capela added 15, reserve Eric Gordon netted 16 points and Patrick Beverley hit 11 in his first start since a pre-season left-knee surgery.
"I've been having fun all year, even in games we lose," Harden said, referring to Wednesday's 103-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"We want to improve. Everything isn't going to be perfect. In this league you've got 82 regular-season games and you need to be able to bounce back, and tonight we did that."
Triple-doubles James Harden has enjoyed in his NBA career.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni praised his players and said that "good things" will come as long as they keep up their attitude.
"It's the chemistry," he said.
"Everybody is feeling good about themselves. We're going to make mistakes and we still have some improving to do.
"But as long as they come with that attitude every day and work at it and fix their mistakes, then good things will happen."
C.J. McCollum led Portland (7-6) with 26 points while Maurice Harkness added 19 and Damian Lillard had 18 with five rebounds and five assists.
The Trail Blazers fell to their second straight defeat and coach Terry Scotts admitted that the Rockets are a hard team to beat.
"They're very good at what they do and Harden is key to that," he said. "Houston are a very good offensive team - it's a challenge to guard them."
In Miami, Dion Waiters scored 23 points and hosts Miami Heat snapped a six-game losing streak, their longest since 2008, by downing Milwaukee 96-73.
The Heat improved to 3-8 while the Bucks fell to 5-6. Miami guard Goran Dragic, who missed three games with an injured left ankle, had 16 points while Heat centre Hassan Whiteside had 12 points, 17 rebounds and an NBA season-best seven blocked shots.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 14 points and seven rebounds.
In Utah, Jimmy Butler scored 20 points and Dwyane Wade added 18 to lead the Chicago Bulls to their fourth consecutive victory in a 85-77 win over the Jazz.
Robin Lopez added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago, who won their third consecutive road game.
Rudy Gobert scored 16 points and collected 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Dante Exum chipped in 14 points and Rodney Hood added 12 for Utah, who lost their second straight home game.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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