NBA: James Harden pours in 42 points as Houston Rockets stop Boston Celtics' win streak

James Harden also produced eight rebounds and seven assists.
James Harden also produced eight rebounds and seven assists.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 78 points, and the host Houston Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics' seven-game win streak with a 116-105 victory on Tuesday (Feb 11).

Harden produced 42 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Westbrook chipped in 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Harden scored 31 points in the second half, including 19 in succession for Houston in the third quarter en route to his 19th 40-point game on the season.

With the Rockets clinging to a 96-94 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Harden and Westbrook sparked a 17-4 run.

Harden scored six points during that stretch at the free-throw line and teamed with Westbrook to finish 27 of 31 at the charity stripe.

The Celtics went 20 of 25 from the line.

Gordon Hayward led Boston with 20 points and six assists, and he added eight rebounds. Jaylen Brown chipped in 19 points despite battling bothersome ankles.

Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum combined for 29 points on 10-of-32 shooting. That duo finished 1 of 13 from 3-point range.

Danuel House Jr., who tallied a corner 3-pointer and a layup during the Rockets' late surge, contributed 17 points and nine boards while Robert Covington totalled 12 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

What was an offensive grind in the first quarter - Boston scored just 19 points yet entered the second trailing by only four - perked up down the stretch of the first half.

Houston found a bit of rhythm from behind the arc midway through the period with Harden, Covington and House all draining treys. When Harden sank a technical free throw with 3:47 left, the Rockets led 43-35.

However, Walker spurred the Celtics to a 12-0 run with seven points, and when Tatum closed the half with a dunk, Boston carried a 49-47 lead into the break.

The Celtics went quiet to open the second half, though, going more than four minutes without a field goal as Houston countered with a 10-1 spurt. It was not until Brown drilled a 3-pointer at the 7:42 mark that Boston got its offence back on track.