Harden making habit of triple double nights

 28 Jan 2017 - 9:45

Harden making habit of triple double nights
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) controls a rebound past Philadelphia 76ers guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (20) during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. The Houston Rockets won123-118. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

AFP

Los Angeles: James Harden became the first player in history with multiple 50-point triple doubles in a season, scoring 51 points in the Houston Rockets 123-118 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Harden has had more than his share of big nights this season. His point total was two off his season and career high of 53, against the New York Knicks on December 31.

Harden said he "just tried to be aggressive" and be in "attack mode" all night. 

Harden also tallied 13 assists and 13 rebounds as he posted his 14th triple double of the season and the 18th time he has accumulated over 30 points and 10 assists.

It might be hard for others to notice when he has an off night, but not Harden. He felt the need to pick things up after scoring just 30 points in the Rockets' loss in Boston on Wednesday night.

"I had to get back in the gym yesterday and put extra shots up and get my confidence up a little bit," he said.

He went 16-of-28 from the floor, six-of-11 from the arc and 13-of-14 from the foul line against the Sixers.

"He played about as good as you can play," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Obviously, he pulled us out tonight." 

Sixers coach Brett Brown said his players were hesitant to double-team Harden and leave the Rockets' many three-point shooters open. 

"You have to pick your poison," Brown said. "You say, 'What sword are we going to die on?' And you saw it. 

"You saw an NBA All-Star. You saw a gold medalist. You saw a legitimate candidate for MVP.

Harden notched 17 of his points in the final 8:19, after 76er rookie Joel Embiid scored 11 points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter that helped Philadelphia cut a 12-point deficit to five points.

Harden also scored 19 points in the third quarter. 

Nene added a season-high 21 points for the Rockets, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Center Embiid, back after missing the three previous games with a bruised left knee, topped the Sixers with 32 points -- one shy of his career high.

Elsewhere, Paul George scored six of his 33 points in overtime, and the Indiana Pacers rallied to defeat the Sacramento Kings 115-111 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

George's basket with 31 seconds remaining broke a 111-111 tie after Sacramento's Garrett Temple and Darren Collison each missed potential game-tying shots with seven and two seconds remaining. Pacer guard Jeff Teague made two game-clinching free throws with less than a second left to play.

'Hard-fought game' 

"That was a hard-fought game," said George. "We were tired and sluggish at times, but we knew we had to battle back. We knew how physical the Kings are.

"Every possession was tough down the stretch. I'm feeling good and getting my game back to where it needs to be." 

Indiana improved to 24-22 on the season and 3-18 when trailing after three quarters.

CJ Miles added 18 for the Pacers, Jeff Teague had 17 points and eight assists and Myles Turner scored 14.

George made six free throws during the final 2:30 to force overtime tied at 104-104. George missed a potential game-winner with 0.6 seconds left, and then Cousins missed a tip at the buzzer that would have given the Kings a victory.

The Kings grabbed a 64-55 halftime lead helped in part by sinking 11 of 16 shots beyond the arc during the first two quarters.

In Toronto, Kyle Lowry scored 32 points and added six assists as Toronto ended a season-high five-game losing streak with a 102-86 victory over Milwaukee.