Basketball: Harden's second straight blowout night is to little avail

Houston Rockets guard James Harden dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center.PHOTO: REUTERS

HOUSTON • James Harden's exasperated reaction after the Houston Rockets' 145-142 National Basketball Association overtime defeat on Wednesday was telling.

As Spencer Dinwiddie was mobbed by his Brooklyn Nets teammates, Harden was seen trudging off the Toyota Centre court.

Breathless and weary, the Rockets guard untucked his jersey, took a deep sigh and pushed the cameras away. He had just played 45 minutes, scored a season-high 58 points, but still lost.

"Frustrating. Very frustrating," he said. "We were small... we had a couple of mistakes out there near the end. But give them credit, they made some big shots."

Dinwiddie converted a three-point play with 28 seconds remaining in overtime and the Nets (23-23) erased a seven-point deficit in the extra session to beat the hosts.

The Brooklyn guard was the star of the night, scoring 25 of his 33 points in the fourth period and overtime, including three three-pointers in the final 27 seconds of regulation time.

"The man (Harden) had 60 (sic) and we won," Dinwiddie said. "That's big time for a young group."

The Rockets (25-19) made just 23 of an NBA record 70 three-point attempts, bypassing their own mark of 61 against New Orleans in December 2016.

Harden had his second straight season high after scoring 57 in a victory over Memphis on Monday.

  • 58

  • Points Houston's James Harden tallied, his fourth 50-point game this season and the 13th of his career.

He has scored at least 30 points in 18 straight games and reached 40 in nine of the last 12.

He converted 16 of 34 overall from the field, made 21 of 23 free throws and had 10 rebounds and a half dozen assists.

P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon, who returned from an eight-game injury hiatus only to depart in the second half, scored 20 points each.

Treveon Graham added 21 points for the Nets while Jarrett Allen recorded a double-double of 20 points and 24 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points in reserve and teamed up with Dinwiddie for Brooklyn's back-ups to total 63 points.

Houston received 31 points from their bench, 15 from Gerald Green.

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni admitted that his side had to improve on their physical conditioning, attributing their mistakes to fatigue late on.

"The Nets run really hard through things and we were up 13, you get a little tired and you take a little breather and all of a sudden, they are gone," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2019, with the headline 'Harden's second straight blowout night is to little avail'. Print Edition | Subscribe