Harden flirts with triple double against former team

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James Harden AFP PHOTO

James Harden AFP PHOTO

HOUSTON: The Houston Rockets took down Oklahoma City 112-101 Thursday (Friday in Manila) thanks to a quick start out of the gate and a near triple double from former Thunder star James Harden.

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Harden led a half dozen Houston players in double figure scoring with 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in front of a crowd of 18,300 at the Toyota Center arena.

“We want to be a championship team,” Harden said. “We got it rolling tonight.

“I had confidence and trusted in my teammates to make the easy threes. We had a great bounce back game.”

The Rockets had a four-game NBA winning streak come to an end with Wednesday’s 120-113 loss to the Orlando Magic.

On Thursday, Trevor Ariza tallied 17 points and Donatas Motiejunas scored 14 for Houston. Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley and Josh Smith each scored 13 points in the win.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters and Reggie Jackson scored 16 points apiece in Oklahoma City’s third loss in four games.

The Rockets jumped all over the Thunder from the opening buzzer as Harden stepped up his play against his former team. The Rockets also shot 16-of-36 from three-point range.

Harden scored the first seven points for the Rockets as part of a 23-2 run early in the first.

Oklahoma City scored the first four points of the contest then fell silent until Waiters hit a field goal to cut the Rockets commanding lead to 23-9.

Harden scored 15 points in Houston’s highest-scoring quarter of the season as they led 40-18 at the end of the first and then 64-53 at the half.

The Rockets maintained a double-digit lead throughout the third and took an 88-75 lead into the fourth.

AFP

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