BEIJING (AP) —
The Rockets swept the Pelicans in two preseason games in China behind Harden's passing. After collecting 15 assists in Sunday's game in Shanghai, Harden had 8 assists Wednesday in 24 minutes in
Houston built a 17-point lead after the first quarter and never relinquished it, though the Pelicans closed to within eight points in the fourth quarter.The Pelicans played most of the game without star Anthony Davis, who suffered what the team called a right ankle sprain in the first quarter. Davis fell to the court holding his ankle after appearing to trip while attempting to drive to the basket against Houston's Nene. After a timeout, he briefly returned to the game before heading to the locker room. Pelicans guard E'Twaun Moore also left the game in the first half with a right heel contusion.
Harden greeted the crowd in Beijing before the game with "Nin hao!" — Chinese for "hello" — and looked at ease the rest of the game as he adjusts to running new coach Mike D'Antoni's offense.
Ryan Anderson had 11 points and 7 rebounds and Sam Dekker came off the bench to score 14 points. Montrezl Harrell scored 11 points, blocked two shots and made a 3-pointer from the corner in front of the Pelicans' bench, after which he turned backward and smiled as he jogged back. Harrell missed his only three-point attempt during his rookie season, but shot more threes during Summer League play this year.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, missed several shots near the basket and made just 7 of 24 three-pointers.
Four players scored in double figures off the bench: Quinn Cook had 20, Langston Galloway had 16 and Dante Cunningham and Cheick Diallo each had 12.