Harden scores 26, Rockets hit 20 3s to beat Clippers 122-103

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the Houston Rockets get going the way they did Wednesday night, all those 3-pointers become a blur.

James Harden scored 26 points and the Rockets hit 20 of their first 39 attempts from beyond the arc in a 122-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Houston opened a 31-point lead early in the fourth quarter, so it didn't even matter that the Rockets missed their last 13 tries from 3-point range.

"You don't really realize how many we are taking until you hear later because it's so naturally the way we play," said Ryan Anderson, who had 23 points and a team-high six 3s. "It's fun basketball when you trust the next guy to give up the shot and make the right play to get the open look."

Trailing 44-43 with 8:56 left in the second quarter, the Rockets outscored Los Angeles 66-34 over the next 21-plus minutes as they reached new heights for coach Mike D'Antoni.

"There were so many guys who played well," D'Antoni said. "Probably our best game start to finish. It started early in the quarter when our second group came in and did a heck of a good job.

"It was a combination of things. They didn't play particularly well. They missed a few shots and James was picking them apart."

Harden hit four 3s and handed out nine assists. He's already eyeing postseason possibilities, too.

"We know how important these last 20 games are," Harden said. "A playoff atmosphere, against pretty good competition — we had to come out and get a win."

Houston extended its NBA record to nine games with 20 or more 3-pointers this season. And with their seventh victory in nine games overall, the Rockets shook off a 117-108 loss to Indiana two nights earlier.

© 2017 Associated Press


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