Dwyane Wade hailed James Harden as "one of the most unguardable players" of all time after he inspired the Houston Rockets to a 121-118 victory over the Miami Heat.

Harden scored an astonishing 58 points and came up with 10 assists as the Rockets fought back in the final quarter to secure a fourth successive win.

Wade, facing the Rockets for the final time in his career, was full of praise for Harden, but felt the Heat did not do themselves any favours.

"He's definitely one of the most unguardable players this game has ever seen," said Wade.

"But a lot of mistakes of putting that hand in that cookie jar. It's something we talked about and something we knew we couldn't do, and we did it a lot."

Chris Paul also lauded his team-mate Harden after his latest masterclass.

"James was unbelievable," said Paul. "We're just trying to find ways to win. Nobody is keeping track of shots and all that stuff. It's just win.

"That's what James always says: 'We need one in that left column.'"

Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni is unworried about James Harden's recent shooting struggles.

Harden did not have his best game on Wednesday, but he did just enough to lead the Rockets to a win.

The 29-year-old star missed 19 of his 29 shots and connected on only one of his 11 three-point attempts.

Harden, however, finished with 30 points, including 19 in the second half, in Houston's 118-113 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte.

"He'll be fine," D'Antoni said. "That's the least of my worries is how he's going to play. He's going to be good."

Harden also added seven assists, two steals and was a perfect nine of nine from the free throw line.

"Luckily, I'm able to do more things than just score the basketball," Harden told reporters after the game. "On the nights where the ball's not going in, I'm able to get to the foul line, I'm able to create steals, I'm able to assist the basketball. I'm able to do the intangible things, take charges to help the team win."

Harden has been dealing with a neck injury and sat out the team's matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. He returned two days later and shot just 33.3 per cent from the floor in Houston's win over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Rockets trailed the Hornets by four at the end of the third quarter but opened the final period on an 18-4 run to take control.

"We did a really good job defensively and just being more aggressive," Harden said about Houston's fourth quarter.

Houston improved to 36-25 with the victory and have now won three of their last four games. They finished play on Wednesday in fifth place of the Western Conference with a 36-25 record.

Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, is averaging 36.2 points and 7.6 assists this season. He is shooting 43.8 per cent from the field and 36.3 per cent from three-point range.

The Rockets will host the Miami Heat on Thursday.

James Harden was philosophical about the end of his 30-point streak, saying he knew he would not get "to number one" in the NBA's all-time list.

The Houston Rockets star finished with 28 in Monday's 119-111 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, meaning his run of draining at least 30 points ended at 32 games.

It marked the second-longest streak in NBA history, but fell well short of the 65-game stretch put together by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain.

Asked if he was happy the run was over, Harden said: "Yeah, I am.

"It was cool, I knew I wasn't getting to number one, so…

"I don't care, we won. Made shots, missed shots, we won the game. We have 22 games left to catch a rhythm and find a rhythm for where we are trying to go."

Harden passed up the chance to shoot at the end of the game, opting instead to dribble out and secure the victory.

When questioned if he regretted not taking the chance, he added: "Nah. The streak was great, you know, but I was just doing it because that's what we had to do to keep our heads above water.

"Now we have a full roster back. You look at the stat line, we had multiple guys in double figures, which is great to see so. Hopefully we can keep that up and catch a rhythm."

Harden's status for the game was in doubt due to a neck injury that sidelined him for the 118-112 win over the Golden State Warriors.

"It's been a few days and so it actually felt good to go out there and just move it and run around," Harden said of his injury. 

"I haven't really done any working out or any movement. I've been in bed, really."

James Harden's scoring streak finally came to an end in the NBA on Monday.

The Houston Rockets star entered the matchup against the Atlanta Hawks having scored 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games.

However, it ended when he tallied 28 points in Houston's 119-111 win at the Toyota Center.

Harden is now behind Wilt Chamberlain, who holds the record at 65 straight games.

Harden connected on seven of his 21 shots in the win over Atlanta and missed all 10 of his three-point attempts. He also tallied five rebounds and four assists.

The Rockets improved to 35-25 with the victory. 

The Houston Rockets upstaged reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors 118-112 despite the absence of James Harden.

Harden – the NBA's leading scorer – sat out with a neck injury. But Chris Paul and his supporting cast were more than enough away from home on Saturday.

Paul recorded 23 points and 17 assists for the Rockets, while Eric Gordon and Kenneth Faried chipped in 25 and 20 points respectively.

Faried, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela all reached double-digits in rebounding and helped the Rockets narrowly win the battle on the glass.

Kevin Durant's 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting paced the Warriors. Stephen Curry was right behind him with 25 on five made three-pointers.

The Rockets and Warriors have now both lost two of their last three games. But Houston are looking to climb a few spots from the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

 

Nurkic leads Trail Blazers past 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic had 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 130-115 victory at the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers.

Zach LaVine posted 42 points as the Chicago Bulls shocked the Boston Celtics 126-116. Lauri Markkanen recorded 35 points and 15 rebounds.

D'Angelo Russell's 40-point performance lifted the Brooklyn Nets past the Charlotte Hornets 117-115.

Russell Westbrook managed 41 points and 10 assists against the Sacramento Kings, but the Oklahoma City Thunder still lost 119-116.

 

Saric struggles

Dario Saric scored seven points on two-of-11 shooting in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 140-128 loss to the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks.

Jordan Clarkson scored five points on two-of-10 shooting as the Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Memphis Grizzlies 112-107.

 

Holiday dazzles with Davis absent

Jrue Holiday's rainbow buzzer-beater in the third quarter helped the New Orleans Pelicans extend their lead and claim a 128-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, despite the absence of Anthony Davis.

Bradley Beal shook Wesley Matthews on the right wing and sank this three-pointer while getting fouled, but the Washington Wizards lost to the Indiana Pacers 119-112.

 

Saturday's results

Portland Trail Blazers 130-115 Philadelphia 76ers
Atlanta Hawks 120-112 Phoenix Suns
Brooklyn Nets 117-115 Charlotte Hornets
Cleveland Cavaliers 112-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Indiana Pacers 119-112 Washington Wizards
New Orleans Pelicans 128-115 Los Angeles Lakers
Detroit Pistons 119-96 Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls 126-116 Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings 119-116 Oklahoma City Thunder
Milwaukee Bucks 140-128 Minnesota Timberwolves
Houston Rockets 118-112 Golden State Warriors
Utah Jazz 125-109 Dallas Mavericks

 

Clippers at Nuggets

Despite recently freeing up two max slots, the Los Angeles Clippers have made it known they still have playoff aspirations this season. The Denver Nuggets are second in the Western Conference, just behind Golden State. The Nuggets should prove to be a good test for the eighth-placed Clippers.

Houston Rockets star James Harden has been fined $25,000 for his "public criticism of the officiating," the NBA announced on Saturday.

Harden commented on referee Scott Foster's performance after the Rockets' 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, referring to him as "rude and arrogant." 

The reigning NBA MVP's criticism of the officials led to a fine from the league.

Harden extended his 30-point streak to 32 games in the contest. He finished with 30 points, five rebounds and six assists, but fouled out in the fourth quarter.

This marked the seventh time Harden has fouled out in his 10-year career. The last time he did not make it through regulation was against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017. Foster was the lead official in that game.

The Rockets have now lost back-to-back games and rank fifth in the Western Conference. They will take on the Warriors without the injured Harden on Saturday.

 

James Harden has been ruled out of the Houston Rockets' showdown with reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors due to neck injury.

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni announced Harden's absence just hours before Saturday's clash.

Harden was officially listed as questionable for Houston's road game as a result of a cervical strain in his neck.

But the in-form Rockets star is now out with the injury as well as flu-like symptoms.

It is not clear when Harden initially suffered the injury, but ESPN notes he received treatment on his right shoulder and neck while resting on the sideline during Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, that did not limit Harden's play as he finished the game with 30 points in 37 minutes.

Harden also had pain from a left shoulder strain in the days leading up to the All-Star break, though it did not force him to miss any games.

Harden is making a strong case for his MVP campaign, averaging 36.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists to help the Rockets to a 33-25 record.

James Harden says "rude and arrogant" Scott Foster should never be allowed to officiate the Houston Rockets again after the reigning MVP and Chris Paul fouled out in a defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rockets went down 111-106 at Staples Center after they had led by 19 points midway through the third quarter on Thursday.

Harden extended his 30-point streak to 32 consecutive games before fouling out with a minute and 24 seconds remaining, and Paul followed him when he was called for a technical foul by referee Foster with 33 seconds to play.

A dejected Harden did not hold back with his criticism of Foster - who Paul complained about last season - after a third defeat in four for Houston.

"Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant." said Harden.

"You aren't able to talk to him throughout the course of the game and it's like, how do you build that relationship with officials?

"And it's not even that call [on the sixth foul]. It's just who he is on that floor. It's pretty frustrating and I'm probably going to get hit [with a fine], but honestly, I don't really say anything.

"I'm a pretty quiet guy, to myself, but it's one of those things where you can't voice your opinion. You can't have a conversation with someone that's officiating the game. You're getting a tech. It's pretty sad."

Harden added: "It's lingering, and it's something that has to be looked at, for sure. For sure, it's personal. For sure. I don't think he should be able to even officiate our games anymore, honestly."

Team LeBron did not get off to a great start, but came back to claim a 178-164 victory over Team Giannis in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team were motivated, but Team LeBron's late game run was too much to handle.

Kevin Durant took home his second All-Star Game MVP with 31 points.

Here are three takeaways from the final event of All-Star weekend.

 

Giannis is ready to take the league by storm

Although the Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA and Antetokounmpo is a frontrunner for MVP, Team LeBron were considered the favourite in this contest.

Antetokounmpo responded to the critics with a plethora of dunks. His most impressive one came on an unorthodox bounce pass from Stephen Curry.

Antetokounmpo even managed to rattle a pair of three-pointers home en route to his 38 points and 11 rebounds on 17-of-23 shooting. 

 

Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade still have gas in the tank

Nowitzki and Wade played limited minutes in the game, but still showed bursts of the talent that helped them become legends.

Nowitzki connected on all three of his field goal attempts, and all of them were three-pointers.

Meanwhile, Wade notched his 13th All-Star appearance and got to throw one last lob to his good friend James.

Wade finished with seven points on two-of-four shooting.

 

Three points are better than two

As always, the All-Star Game featured basketball's best shooters. When it came down to it, long-range marksmen were what won the game.

Despite trailing by 13 points at the half and battling against a deficit of 20 plus, Team LeBron used the deep ball to secure the victory.

James' squad shot 90 three-pointers, which was 13 more than the opposition. It connected on 35 of those attempts and 11 different players contributed at least one made three-pointer.

Six total players hit five or more three-pointers in the contest, the most ever in an All-Star Game.

NBA legend Michael Jordan said winning six championships is more difficult than streaks as Russell Westbrook and James Harden continue to star.

Oklahoma City Thunder's Westbrook created buzz around the NBA when he recorded his 10th successive triple-double - a league record.

Houston Rockets star Harden has made headlines amid his run of 30 points in 30 consecutive games.

So when Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls great Jordan, who is considered by many as the greatest player of all time, was asked which feat he believes is harder, he gave the ultimate response.

"Which is harder from the player's standpoint? Six championships, by all means," Jordan said during a press conference ahead of the NBA All-Star festivities, which will be hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina.

All joking aside, Jordan lauded the players for their accomplishments and said it shows how much talent the NBA has.

"It shows progression in the league," Jordan said. "I am very proud of how both guys have done because they are making a mark for the league, and I think it really helps grow the league."

Both Harden and Westbrook will be in Charlotte this weekend for the NBA All-Star Game.

James Harden said winning was the only thing on his mind as the Houston Rockets star finished with a flourish against the Dallas Mavericks to extend his streak of scoring at least 30 points to 30 consecutive games.

The reigning NBA MVP was in danger of falling short of the milestone, but finished with 31 after adding 11 to his tally in under two minutes late in the final quarter at Toyota Center on Monday.

Harden was hampered by a sore shoulder, but played through the pain barrier to inspire the Rockets to a 120-104 victory.

"I was worried about winning," Harden told reporters. "They were making shots. They were coming back, cut the lead to 10 or nine points, something like that.

"So I just wanted to get the proper shots. They put two on the ball and I got off it a few times and we got some good opportunities."

He added: "I couldn't get the lift that I usually have for my shot, but that's no excuse. I'm just happy we won the game."

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni is not concerned about the fitness of Harden, who also claimed eight rebounds and laid on seven assists.

"If he comes to the arena, he's playing," D'Antoni said. "I can't keep him out of practice, much less playing. He loves to play and he knows his body. He can go through this. He's fine."

James Harden accepts Kobe Bryant's claim that the Houston Rockets cannot win the title when they rely so heavily on the NBA MVP - but is confident that situation will change when they have a fully-fit roster.

Superstar Harden extended his 30-point streak to 27 games by draining 44 in Monday's 118-110 beating of the Phoenix Suns.

It was the 20th time this season that Harden has scored at least 40 points in a match and improved the Rockets' record to 31-22, the fifth best in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant told ESPN following the win that the Rockets will not compete for the championship if they continue to be so reliant on Harden.

"I'm not a fan in terms of winning championships, I don't think that style is ever going to win championships," Bryant said.

"[They will not win the title] with this style of play, it won't win with one player dominating the ball."

Harden acknowledged that Bryant has a point but is confident the Rockets – who have seen the likes of Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Clint Capela miss time due to injuries over the course of the season – can mix it with the best when everyone is fit and firing.

"I mean I have to be ball dominant just because we have injuries," he told reporters.

"We had injuries through the course of the year but [when] we get Chris in a rhythm, Eric back, [then we have] multiple guys making plays, multiple guys that can dominate the ball. 

"Right now he is probably right. This way that we are playing won't happen in the playoffs, won't get us where we want to go, but we haven't had a full roster. Yet I am excited for that to come."

In terms of his sensational points-scoring streak, Harden sees no reason why his form should let up.

"I'm just trying to keep going. Nothing can slow me down," he added. 

"Nothing can stop me. I'm trying to give that same motivation to my team-mates and it's not about scoring, it's about attacking the game, being aggressive with the game of basketball – defensively, offensively. That's all I can give to them."

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle following their 121-105 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Brandon Ingram had a big night, scoring a career-high 36 points on 16-of-20 shooting but the Lakers still lost in NBA action on Tuesday.

All-Star Joel Embiid led the way for Philadelphia, posting 28 points and 11 rebounds, while Ben Simmons had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the visitors in Los Angeles.

The Lakers have now lost four of their last five games and dropped to 26-25. But, LeBron James may be returning soon from the groin injury that has kept him sidelined since Christmas Day.

The 76ers improved to 33-18 and sit in fourth in the Eastern Conference.

 

George sparks Thunder

Paul George scored 31 first-half points and finished with 37 in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 126-117 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Devin Booker scored 38 points on 14-of-19 shooting for the Phoenix Suns, who still fell short to the San Antonio Spurs 126-124.

James Harden recorded 37 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Houston Rockets' 121-116 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Lopez endures forgettable game

Robin Lopez scored four points on one-of-seven shooting in the Chicago Bulls' 122-117 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets.

Tomas Satoransky tallied five points on two-of-eight shooting as the Washington Wizards suffered a 116-113 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

Ingram shows no mercy!

Brandon Ingram posterized Corey Brewer to extend a Lakers run.

Rudy Gay saved the Spurs with this game-winner against Phoenix.

 

 

Tuesday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 115-105 Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers 116-113 Washington Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 126-117 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 122-117 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 121-116 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 126-124 Phoenix suns
Philadelphia 76ers 121-105 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Jazz at Trail Blazers

The Utah Jazz have rattled off three straight wins since losing to the Portland Trail Blazers on January 21. The Trail Blazers have won eight of their last 10 games and are fifth in the Western Conference.

Chris Paul insisted he is happy to accept a role complementing James Harden after the reigning MVP scored 40 more points in the Houston Rockets' 103-98 win over the Orlando Magic.

Point guard Paul, a nine-time All-Star, returned from a 17-game absence on Sunday and helped the Rockets to their third straight victory.

His comeback from a hamstring injury did not result in a decrease in the numbers of Harden, who extended his streak of scoring at least 30 points to 23 games – a sequence only bettered by Wilt Chamberlain in NBA history.

"James is going to be James," Paul told reporters after the game.

"I don't care who [is] on the court – me or anybody. He's going to be him and we need him to be him. That's why he's the MVP.

"I think everybody gets caught up in how many points he's scoring, how many time he's dribbling, how many times he's passing.

"Just respect what he's doing. Guys who play in this league know how hard it is to do that night in, night out.

"If everybody else could do it, they would.

"James has been playing unbelievable."

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni believes there will be less pressure on Harden to continually deliver when Paul is fully up to speed.

"I think that Chris, when he really feels good, he'll take a lot away from James in the sense of, 'You don't have to go every time'," added D'Antoni.

"Then James can even be better. I don't think his points will go down. I think he will be better.

"He played 37 minutes [against Orlando]. If we can get it down to 35, it would be great. Then he'll have even more energy to get more points.

"I think it will be better in the long run."

Paul George inspired the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 118-112 win over the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.

While the Bucks (35-13) trailed by 14 points at half-time, a second-half surge brought them back into the game late. But the Thunder triumphed thanks to George on Sunday.

George made eight of his 12 three-point attempts and finished with 36 points, along with 13 rebounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 27 points and 18 rebounds, but the Thunder made things tough for him around the rim.

He was blocked a career-high seven times in the game, which made all the difference. Oklahoma City showcased their defensive prowess, racking up 10 blocks in all.

The Thunder (31-18) pushed their winning streak to five games and snapped the Bucks' six-game winning run.

 

Harden stars again

James Harden had 40 points and 11 rebounds for the Houston Rockets in a 103-98 win against the Orlando Magic.

Luka Doncic became the first NBA player with multiple triple-doubles as a teenager. The Dallas Mavericks rookie tallied 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 123-120 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Andrew Wiggins scored 35 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves fell 125-111 to the Utah Jazz.

Ivica Zubac had 24 points and 16 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 116-102 win against the Phoenix Suns.

 

Westbrook not up to usual standards

Russell Westbrook scored 13 points on five-of-20 shooting in the Thunder's win.

Josh Richardson shot three-of-10 from the field in a 12-point performance as the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 106-97.

 

Gay with the dagger!

Rudy Gay went baseline for a slam in the San Antonio Spurs' 132-119 win over the Washington Wizards.

Wayne Selden hung in the air on this no-look assist to Bobby Portis, but the Chicago Bulls fell short to the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-101.

 

Sunday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 122-108 Sacramento Kings
Cleveland Cavaliers 104-101 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112 Milwaukee Bucks
Houston Rockets 103-98 Orlando Magic
San Antonio Spurs 132-119 Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors 123-120 Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz 125-111 Minnesota Timberwolves
Miami Heat 106-97 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers 116-102 Phoenix Suns

 

Nets at Celtics

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, riding a six-game winning streak while the Boston Celtics lost a close game to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. The Nets will enter the game directly behind Boston in the standings.

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