Minneapolis: Undermanned and playing for the second consecutive night, the Houston Rockets still had plenty of reason to be confident.
“I would think it would give you confidence,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You’re playing with a bazooka out there.”
A bazooka named James Harden.
Harden unloaded Saturday night, scoring 49 points on a whopping 41 shots from the field to lead the short-handed Rockets to their seventh straight victory, 125-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With Russell Westbrook resting and several key contributors injured, the Rockets needed Harden to shoulder an even bigger scoring load than usual. The 41 attempts are the most in his career, and the most in the NBA this season, surpassing the 37 Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell took in an overtime loss 8 November in the same building in Minnesota.
“It was a collective effort,” Harden said. “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.”
Harden made 16 of the 41 shots, going 8 for 22 from 3-point range. He was 9 of 11 on free throws.
“He scored (49) on 41 shots,” Timberwolves forward Robert Covington said. “That’s what we want. But it’s just the other guys hurt us. We followed the game plan with him.”
Ben McLemore scored 20 points. Undrafted rookie Chris Clemons scored a career-high 19 off the bench for the Rockets, who broke open the game with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers also scored 19 points.
In addition to Westbrook, the Rockets were without center Clint Capela, guards Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, and forward Danuel House Jr. And they were playing the second game of a back-to-back following Friday night’s win over Indiana in Houston.
— NBA (@NBA) November 17, 2019
James Harden is averaging 39.5 PPG after tonight's 49-point performance. The only other player in @NBAHistory to average 39.0+ points per game through the first 13 games in a season was Wilt Chamberlain (48.4 in 1961-62), (53.5 in 1962-63) twice. pic.twitter.com/y2OVOJgyAr
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) November 17, 2019
“There was a lot of heart,” D’Antoni said. “I think that’s what we’re more excited about, just the heart and the effort and what went into playing a back-to-back. That’s a character win.”
Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who also were short-handed. Andrew Wiggins missed his second consecutive game for personal reasons.
Jake Layman made his first start of the season for Minnesota and scored a season-high 21 points. Covington had 17 points.
“I’m a no-excuse person,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. “Who’s on the court is on the court. But we have to do more things to make teams like that uncomfortable. James Harden is a heck of a player. He’s one of the best scorers you’ll ever see. And he took 41 shots. I thought we made him work for some of them. But some of them, we didn’t.”
Harden scored 18 of his 30 first-half points in the first quarter. It was his highest-scoring first quarter of the season. Harden took 17 of his team’s first 25 shots. He and the Rockets led by two at halftime despite trailing by as many as 11.
“We can’t take any game for granted,” Harden said. “We showed that tonight. 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.”
TRAIL BLAZERS 121, SPURS 116
CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Portland beat San Antonio to spoil Tim Duncan’s first shot at coaching following Gregg Popovich’s ejection.
Popovich was ejected after walking onto the court to berate official Jason Goldenberg over a non-call. Popovich calmly walked off the court following his first ejection of the season.
The Spurs responded with Duncan and fellow assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy coaching by committee, but it was Duncan calling the plays and screaming out instruction.
Damian Lillard added 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 21 for Portland.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 13 rebounds Spurs. They’ve lost five straight.
CLIPPERS 150, HAWKS 101
Paul George scored 37 points in his Clippers home debut, Lou Williams added 25, and Los Angeles led all the way in routing Atlanta.
The anticipated first game with George and Kawhi Leonard in the lineup together didn’t happen when Leonard sat out with a left knee contusion.
But the Clippers didn’t need both of their new superstars on a night when George tied his career high with six 3-pointers and made all 11 of his free throws in the team’s biggest blowout of the young season.
Trae Young had 20 points for the Hawks, who dropped their second in a row. They trailed by 52 points in the fourth.
BUCKS 102, PACERS 83
- @Giannis_An34 x @Thanasis_ante43
- @JustHolla7 x @The_4th_Holiday
- @rolopez42 x Brook Lopez@Bucks/@Pacers marked the first time in @NBAHistory that 3 sets of brothers played and scored in the same game! pic.twitter.com/TnWtAWKuD4
— NBA (@NBA) November 17, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Milwaukee forced Indiana into its worst shooting performance of the season.
Brook Lopez added 15 points and eight rebounds. He had blocked five shots as the Pacers shot a season-low 32% from the field.
Milwaukee, 9-3 despite a road-heavy schedule to start the season, shot 45%. Donte DiVincenzo added 14 points,
Myles Turner, playing his first game since Oct. 30, had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Indiana.
MAVERICKS 110, RAPTORS 102
Luka Doncic had 26 points and 15 rebounds in Dallas’ victory over Toronto.
Doncic scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks added to a one-point lead. He made all seven free throws in the quarter and finished with a career-best 15 free throws in 19 attempts.
Delon Wright finished with 15 points, and banked in a fadeaway with 5 seconds left in the third quarter to send Dallas into the fourth quarter with a 78-77 edge. Wright added six points in the fourth quarter.
Luka Doncic (26 PTS, 15 REB) and Kristaps Porzingis (20 PTS, 15 REB) are the first @dallasmavs teammates and the first teammates born outside the US to each record 20+ PTS & 15+ REB in the same game. pic.twitter.com/LN2FvvaDFx
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) November 17, 2019
Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and matched his career best with 15 rebounds for Dallas.
Norman Powell scored a season-high 26 points for Toronto.
HEAT 109, PELICANS 94
Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and Miami beat New Orleans to remained unbeaten at home.
Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler added 16 points, 13 assists and eight rebound. Miami is 5-0 at home and 9-3 overall — tying the best 12-game start in team history.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker made six 3-pointers and had 27 points for New Orleans.
NETS 117, BULLS 111
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Brooklyn beat Chicago without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to snap a three-game losing streak.
Irving entered Saturday sixth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game but sat with a right shoulder injury. The short-handed Nets are also without Caris LeVert, who’s recovering from right thumb surgery.
Zach LaVine scored 36 points for Chicago.
HORNETS 103, KNICKS 102
Devonte’ Graham made his ninth 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining and had 29 points to lead Charlotte past New York.
P.J. Washington scored 19 points, Terry Rozier had 16 and Marvin Williams added 13.
RJ Barrett scored 22 points for the Knicks.
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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2019 13:44:41 IST