James Harden revelled in the "great accomplishment" of surpassing the 20,000 point-mark in the NBA on Saturday.

The Houston Rockets star posted 32 points in his side's 139-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, adding 12 rebounds and eight assists for good measure. 

A haul of 20,022 places Harden 45th on the all-time list, although Kareem Abdul-Jabbar' 38,387 remains a distant prospect.

"It's a great accomplishment obviously," Harden said. "I have a bigger picture and bigger goals, but it's pretty cool."

The 30-year-old revealed that he took the game ball and gave it to his mother for safe keeping.

"She has everything,'' he said. "Every goal and achievement that I have, she has it. I gave it to her, and she'll put it in a safe place.''

Russell Westbrook offered glowing praise of his team-mate.

"To be able to do that on a very, very high level is something we don't take for granted," he said.

"Growing up in LA and being able to see him progress over the years, to me, is just a blessing to see as his friend, and I'm truly happy for him."

James Harden and Ben Simmons both had triple-doubles as the Houston Rockets overcame the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Friday, while Anthony Davis shone for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rockets guard Harden posted 44 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to edge a scintillating showdown with 76ers star Simmons and guide Houston to a 118-108 win in Texas.

Simmons kept Philadelphia in touch with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, but Joel Embiid's 20 points on seven-of-17 shooting failed to match Rockets centre Clint Capela's 30 points and 14 rebounds.

The 76ers (23-14) have now lost four on the trot, all on the road, ahead of Monday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets (24-11) sit three places behind the Western Conference-leading Lakers, who downed the New Orleans Pelicans 123-113 at Staples Center.

Davis punished his former team, registering 46 points and 13 rebounds, while LeBron James had a double-double of 17 points and 15 assists.

 

Lillard back in form for Trail Blazers

Kept quiet in Wednesday's disappointing defeat to the New York Knicks, Damian Lillard bounced back to form in Washington.

Lillard had 35 points to help the Portland Trail Blazers snap a five-game losing streak in a 122-103 win over the Wizards, who had Isaiah Thomas ejected in the second minute for what was deemed a shove on an official.

Jimmy Butler's double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) proved in vain for the Miami Heat as they slipped to a 105-85 loss against the Orlando Magic.

Devin Booker passed 30 points for the fifth successive game to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 120-112 victory over the Knicks.

 

Trouble for Tatum

The Boston Celtics edged the Atlanta Hawks 109-106 despite having little support from Jayson Tatum, the 21-year-old going two-of-16 from the field while missing both of his three-point attempts.

 

Theis says no!

Daniel Theis produced a crucial late block on Atlanta guard Trae Young to see the Celtics home in Boston.

 

Friday's results

Los Angeles Lakers 123-113 New Orleans Pelicans
Orlando Magic 105-85 Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers 122-103 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 109-106 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 118-108 Philadelphia 76ers
Phoenix Suns 120-112 New York Knicks

 

Spurs at Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has the chance to record an eighth double-double in as many outings when the Milwaukee Bucks (31-5) take on the San Antonio Spurs (14-19) on Saturday.

James Harden will miss his first game of the NBA season due to a toe sprain, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Rockets star Harden has been ruled out of Sunday's clash against the New Orleans Pelicans – Houston already without Russell Westbrook (rest).

Harden posted 44 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 108-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

"He probably could [play], but given the circumstances it's better that he doesn't," D'Antoni said before the game. "He's banged up a little bit."

Harden is enjoying another stellar season – the 2017-18 MVP averaging 38.3 points, 7.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Rockets (22-10).

James Harden soared to fourth for 40-point games in NBA history on Saturday, while Giannis Antetokounmpo maintained top form in a big win for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Houston Rockets star Harden hit nine three-pointers and went 15-of-27 from the field to finish with 47 points in a 135-129 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Only Wilt Chamberlain (271), Michael Jordan (173) and Kobe Bryant (122) have had more 40-point games than Harden's 89, the 30-year-old having surpassed Elgin Baylor's 88.

Russell Westbrook contributed 30 points and 10 assists as the Rockets (20-9) extended their winning run to three games.

Two days after downing the Los Angeles Lakers, Antetokounmpo made light work of the New York Knicks in 123-103 victory for the Bucks (26-4) at Madison Square Garden.

The reigning MVP posted a triple-double of 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in 26 minutes for the Eastern Conference leaders, while Kyle Korver chipped in with 17 points off the bench.

Embiid lifts 76ers out of slump

Joel Embiid's 21 points and 13 rebounds led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 125-108 win against Washington Wizards, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Fuelled by Kawhi Leonard's 26 points, the Los Angeles Clippers strengthened their grip on second spot in the Western Conference with a 134-109 rout of the San Antonio Spurs.

Trae Young put up 47 points at Barclays Center but the Atlanta Hawks still lost 122-112 to the Brooklyn Nets, who were powered by Spencer Dinwiddie's 39 points and a double-double from DeAndre Jordan.

 

Batum blows cold

The Charlotte Hornets had just two starters, Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham, reach double figures for points in a 114-107 home defeat to the Utah Jazz. Nicolas Batum failed to offer much help as the former first-round pick attempted four field goals and a solitary three-point shot in 30 minutes on the floor.

 

Thanasis soars

Bucks star Giannis had to share the spotlight in the Big Apple as older brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo produced a huge tip-in dunk in the fourth quarter.

Saturday's results

Houston Rockets 139-125 Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers 113-106 Minnesota Timberwolves
Utah Jazz 114-107 Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 122-112 Atlanta Hawks
Chicago Bulls 119-107 Detroit Pistons
Philadelphia 76ers 125-108 Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks 123-102 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies 119-115 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Clippers 134-109 San Antonio Spurs

 

Nuggets at Lakers

After two successive losses and with LeBron James potentially missing due to a reported muscle problem, the Lakers (24-5) look vulnerable ahead of Sunday's game against the in-form Denver Nuggets (19-8) at Staples Center.

Russell Westbrook led the way as the Houston Rockets downed Kawhi Leonardo's Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook posted 40 points and 10 rebounds to inspire the Rockets' win in Los Angeles, where Houston rallied.

The Rockets (19-9) trailed by 15 points at half-time but used a 36-point third quarter to emerge triumphant at Staples Center.

James Harden contributed 28 points and 10 assists – the Rockets star breaking Calvin Murphy's franchise assist record in the process.

Paul George's 34 points and Leonard's 25 and nine rebounds were not enough for the Clippers (21-9) on home court.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 in their highly anticipated showdown.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 34 points and 11 rebounds led the Bucks to the NBA's best record at 25-4 in Milwaukee.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, while Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (24-4).

 

Dinwiddie has career night

Spencer Dinwiddie posted a career-high 41 points but not even that could stop the Brooklyn Nets from losing 118-105 to the San Antonio Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge put up 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

Donovan Mitchell's 30 points led the Utah Jazz past the Atlanta Hawks 111-106. Trae Young scored 30 of his own for the Hawks.

 

Lakers get nothing from bench

Starters James, Davis, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope really carried the Lakers in Milwaukee. They were the only players to reach double-digit points – the team's bench only contributing four points via Dwight Howard (2) and Rajon Rondo (2).

 

Giannis from distance!

Antetokounmpo had a career-high five-pointers, including this gem from the beyond the arc against the Lakers.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 111-106 Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks 111-104 Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs 118-105 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Houston Rockets

 

Mavs at 76ers

After losing for the first time at home this season, the Philadelphia 76ers have the chance to bounce back against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Evan Fournier said the Orlando Magic felt like they lost to James Harden alone after he drained another 10 three-pointers in an emphatic Houston Rockets win.

The Rockets triumphed 130-107 on the road as Harden scored a team-record 10 baskets from behind the arc for the second consecutive game.

He finished with 54 points, passing 50 for the fourth time in his last seven games, and added seven assists, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a 36-minute performance that even had Magic fans applauding him.

Russell Westbrook had 23 points and Ben McLemore added 18 but it was Harden who was central to the Magic's thoughts.

"I feel like we lost against just him," the Magic's Evan Fournier said, per ESPN, after Friday's loss. 

"He's the MVP for a reason. We talked in pregame that he'll take shots, and we'll just live with the results. He did not miss, period."

Orlando coach Steve Clifford added of Harden: "When he's shooting over the top like that, I don't know what you can do."

Harden now has 2,152 career three-pointers and moved past Paul Pierce up to eight in the NBA all-time list.

Fournier had 27 points and Aaron Gordon added 21 but the Magic could not live with the Rockets' scoring power.

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said: "When James is like that, it's hard for anybody to really beat us.

"No matter what kind of defense you are going to throw, we've got guys. We just shot the ball extremely well."

The Rockets have won six of their last eight to move to 17-8, good for fourth in the Western Conference.

NBA officials admitted they were wrong not to award a James Harden dunk in the Houston Rockets' contentious 135-133 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Rockets were coasting at 102-89 with seven minutes and 50 seconds remaining when Harden dunked the ball with such ferocity it went through the net and back onto the rim.

Officials mistakenly judged the dunk had not passed fully through the hoop and the decision ultimately proved costly as the Rockets blew their comfortable lead in a match in which Harden scored 50 points at the AT&T Center.

Crew chief James Capers later conceded the field goal should have counted but said the Rockets missed their window of opportunity to call for a review on the play.

"When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net," Capers told reporters. 

"When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. 

"We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.

"The play could have been reviewed, it is a reviewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during that timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, that window passed. 

"So therefore, it elapsed and they were not able to do it."

Speaking prior to Capers' comments, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni offered a different version of events.

"I have no idea [why it didn't count]," he said. "I heard that they said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was a goaltend on James. 

"I challenged that, and I didn't get a response. Then another guy said it wasn't a goaltend; it went out of bounds on us. 

"And I said, 'Well, I challenge that.' Can't do that. I don't know, [how] to answer your question. I've got nothing. I can't tell you."

Asked about the incident, Harden merely replied postgame "it went in" while team-mate Russell Westbrook offered a succinct summation.

"S*** happens. Plain and simple," he said.

ESPN reports suggest the Rockets are hopeful of either being awarded the win or having the final minutes replayed at a later date.

The Los Angeles Lakers returned to winning ways in the NBA, while James Harden's 50 points were not enough for the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

In a clash between two Western Conference high-flyers, the Lakers were too good for the Denver Nuggets 105-96.

Anthony Davis' double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds and LeBron James' 25 points and nine assists saw the Lakers bounce back from their loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers are now 18-3 and hold a 2.5-game lead atop the Western Conference.

Harden had 50 points for the Rockets, but they suffered a 135-133 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

While Harden went 11-of-38 from the field – and 24-of-24 from the free-throw line – Russell Westbrook was seven-of-30 on his way to a triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

In contrast, Bryn Forbes went 10-of-13 to finish with 25 points for San Antonio.

 

Doncic delivers again

Luka Doncic had 33 points and 18 rebounds in the Mavericks' 118-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jimmy Butler's triple-double of 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists helped the Miami Heat to a 121-110 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors.

Paul George (25 points) and Montrezl Harrell (26) saw the Los Angeles Clippers past the Portland Trail Blazers 117-97.

 

Raptors trio struggle

Harden and Westbrook battled for the Rockets, but so did three Raptors. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet combined to go 12-of-48 from the field in the loss to Miami.

 

Neat work from Doncic

Doncic's beautiful footwork helped set up a basket against the Pelicans.

Tuesday's results

Detroit Pistons 127-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
Orlando Magic 127-120 Washington Wizards
Miami Heat 121-110 Toronto Raptors
Dallas Mavericks 118-97 New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs 135-133 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Lakers 105-96 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Clippers 117-97 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Heat at Celtics

Two of the Eastern Conference's best teams meet when the Heat (15-5) visit the Boston Celtics (14-5).

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni described James Harden as "unbelievable" and "incredible" after a 60-point performance in the NBA on Saturday.

Harden finished with 60 points in just 31 minutes in the Rockets' 158-111 thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks.

The star went 16-of-24 from the field, and eight-of-14 from three-point range, in an outstanding performance.

Speaking about Harden, D'Antoni told a news conference: "Like everything else he does, unbelievable.

"Again, I think in the first half just when they doubled he gave the right play and then when they didn't double he scored.

"His first 40 points he had like 40-something points on 15 shots or 12 shots, whatever it was.

"You get 60 points on 24 shots, that's pretty good. He was incredible, but he's like that every night."

Asked if he considered leaving Harden in the game, D'Antoni said it was never an option.

"I can't do that, I couldn't, you guys would kill me if I did that and he got hurt," he said.

"I'd kill myself first of all and then you would all shoot me."

The Rockets are 13-6 and fourth in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday.

Luka Doncic is adamant the Dallas Mavericks will not get carried away with their fantastic start to the NBA season, insisting a playoff place is their only goal as it stands.

Doncic was in sensational form as the Mavericks made it five wins in a row with a 137-123 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

The 20-year-old, who is in his second year in the NBA, posted 41 points and 10 assists for the Mavericks, joining Russell Westbrook, Michael Jordan and the Rockets' James Harden as the only players since the 1983-84 season with at least four consecutive games of 30 or more points and 10-plus assists.

Sunday's triumph leaves the Mavericks - who have not featured in the postseason since 2016 - sitting fourth in the Western Conference with an 11-5 record for the season so far, but Doncic insists Dallas are not yet setting their sights on anything more than securing a playoff spot.

"For me, it's making the playoffs, still. It's a long season, it's only been one month. We didn’t make the playoffs yet, we've just got to keep going," the Slovenian told reporters.

"The confidence we had before the season, same as then. We all wanted to go to the playoffs, we've got to keep going like that and just approach the games like we did today.

"We are much more confident last year. Everybody covers for each other, plays the game the right way, that's it. We have amazing players on our team."

Doncic – who drew chants of 'MVP' from the fans – outsmarted Rockets star Harden for a sensational three-pointer during Sunday's meeting, and the Houston star conceded the home team left themselves with too much to do after falling behind early on.

"When you give a team like that comfort and the ability to do whatever they want, they'll gain confidence and that's what they did," seven-time All-Star Harden told reporters.

"We tried to come back twice, but that’s tough for any team. We can't put ourselves in that position. We were just a little sluggish."

Russell Westbrook has been amazed by James Harden's heroics since joining the Houston Rockets, declaring "nobody else" in the NBA can match his team-mate's exploits.

Harden came to the fore again on Monday when his 36 points, six rebounds and five assists led the Rockets to an emphatic 132-108 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Such has been his astonishing form in the early part of the 2019-20 season, that display led to his league-leading scoring average dropping to 39.2.

Westbrook also impressed with a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and called on fans to realise what they were witnessing from Harden was something extraordinary.

"I think that a lot of people like to normalise greatness when you see it over and over again, but it's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it," Westbrook said, per ESPN, after the Rockets' win moved them to 11-3.

"If it was normal, everybody would do it.

"He's put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he's able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways."

Portland, who are set to sign Carmelo Anthony, dropped to 5-9 and head coach Terry Stotts joked of Harden: "For him, he had a subpar night!"

Harden himself attempted not to dwell on his ballooning personal statistics, declaring "I just want to win games" as he took another step towards a third consecutive scoring title.

Houston head coach Mike D'Antoni, meanwhile, was on the same page as Westbrook.

The Rockets have won eight straight games, with Harden scoring at least 35 in all of them.

"It's unbelievable, I'm at a loss for words," D'Antoni said of Harden. "What he does, you can't do that. I've never seen it.

"I know I've said he's the best offensive player I've ever seen. Well, he is. I haven't coached everybody, but he's so good at what he does.

"You might like it, you might not like it - I don't know how you don't like it. I don't think we've ever seen it like this."

The returning Clint Capela added 22 points and 20 rebounds for the rampant Rockets, who look to make it nine in a row on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

James Harden felt it would have been easy for the depleted Houston Rockets to "chalk it up" against the Minnesota Timberwolves and hailed the collective effort in their comprehensive 125-105 win.

The Rockets were without the quality of Russell Westbrook, Clint Capela, Danuel House Jr and Eric Gordon but a Harden-inspired Houston chalked up a seventh straight victory.

Harden posted 49 points from 41 shots – the most he has attempted in his NBA career – as the Rockets outclassed the Timberwolves.

But the seven-time All-Star was keen to hail the collective effort in Minnesota.

"We just know how much depth we have," said Harden. "Guys like Chris [Clemons] and Isaiah [Hartenstein], Tyson [Chandler], who started the last two games, Thabo [Sefolosha], just everybody – it was a collective effort.

"We've got six, seven guys out. So, it could have been an easy game, where we just chalked it up and got ready for next game. We wanted to come here and win this game and we showed it.

"We can't take any game for granted. We showed that. I think the first half we gave up too many points. Second half we locked back in. 

"They barely got over 100 points. That's pretty much the goal every single game. Guys didn't look around. We manned up and got a win."

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.