LOS ANGELES: Head coach Mike D’Antoni recorded his 500th career win Friday as the Houston Rockets rallied from a first quarter deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls 115-94 on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
James Harden tallied 19 points and 11 assists as the Rockets were able to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season with Friday’s victory in front of a crowd of 21,900 at United Center.
D’Antoni was pleased that the milestone win came on a night like this. He joins Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle and Nate McMillan as the only active coaches with 500 wins.
“I’ve been around for a long time,” said D’Antoni. “I’ve had some good teams, and this is one of my best. Tonight, we started out slow in that first quarter, but we found a way to turn it around. We play better offensively when we play some defence.”
Harden had 19 points and 11 assists to power the Rockets, who improved to 45-21 on the season and swept the two-game season series from the Bulls.
Lou Williams chipped in 18 points in the win, Clint Capela added 17, Trevor Ariza had 13 and Ryan Anderson finished with 21 points after missing a game with back spasms.
Dwyane Wade scored 21 points in his return from a two-game injury absence to lead the Bulls, who lost their season-high fourth straight contest.
“They are a team that can get going in a hurry and can get hot,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They did that, and obviously we didn’t respond well.”
Elsewhere, Andrew Wiggins scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Golden State Warriors 103-102.
Wiggins also made two clutch free throws with 12 seconds left. Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points, and Ricky Rubio added 17 points and 13 rebounds as Minnesota won for the eighth time in 12 games.
“We’re learning,” Rubio said after the Timberwolves beat Golden State for the first time in three games this season. “We’re getting experience and these games mean a lot. We just go after it.”
Stephen Curry had 26 points for the Warriors, but he was just one of eight from three-point territory. Klay Thompson led the way with 30 points for Golden State, which has lost four of its past six games.
Curry passes father for points
Curry finished with 26 points to surpass his father, Dell, in NBA career points. Dell scored 12,670 points in his career, while Stephen has 12,682. It’s the fourth-highest point total by a father-son duo in league history.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Thompson would all rest and won’t play in Saturday’s game at San Antonio.
In Charlotte, the Charlotte Hornets continued their mastery of the Orlando Magic with a dominating 121-81 victory at the Spectrum Center.
Kemba Walker scored 23 points before sitting out the entire fourth quarter as the Hornets were in command throughout and led by as many as 42 points.
They scored the first eight points of the game, led 44-24 two minutes into the second quarter and never trailed. It was their first wire-to-wire victory of the 2016-17 season.
In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points each as the Milwaukee Bucks stretched their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 99-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The victory moved Milwaukee a half-game ahead of Chicago for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, and 1 1/2 games behind the Pacers for the sixth seed.