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|11-27-2014, 01:20 AM||#1|
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Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89
James Harden scored 26 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 102-89 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Harden was 10 for 31 in one of his worst shooting performances of the season, but also had eight assists and seven rebounds to help Houston to its third straight win.
The Rockets (12-3) also got a big lift from Donatas Motiejunas and Isaiah Canaan, who each set a career high for points. Canaan made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points, and Donatas Motiejunas had 21 points.
DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 17 rebounds for the Kings (9-6), and Ben McLemore and Omri Casspi each scored 14.
Houston played without center Dwight Howard (knee) and point guard Patrick Beverley (hamstring), while Sacramento was without Rudy Gay (right Achilles injury) and Darren Collison (quad contusion).
Sacramento had a scary moment late in the third quarter when Cousins went down, grabbing at a knee in apparent pain. The entire Kings bench, staff and players, walked onto the court toward the far corner where Cousins was located, but he slowly got up with a slight limp and remained in the game.
Lacking its main inside presence in Howard, Houston went 12 for 35 from 3-point range. The Rockets reached double-digits in made 3-pointers in all but three of their games this season, including four straight.
The Rockets out together a strong start, leading 37-19 at the end of the first quarter. Harden had 12 points and five assists in the opening period.
The Kings stepped up their defense in the second, allowing just 20 points and closing to 57-50 at the break.
Sacramento went 22 for 28 at the free-throw line, while Houston was just 6 for 15. The Kings and Rockets began the night ranked first and fourth in free-throw attempts per game, respectively.
The Rockets have won six of eight since a loss to Golden State ended a 6-0 run to open the season.
Kings: Jason Thompson had 11 boards, and Sacramento outrebounded the undersized Rockets 48-41. The Kings entered the game ranked third in the league in rebounds per game.
Rockets: Howard missed his fourth straight game with a sprained knee. Beverley has missed four games with the lingering hamstring injury. ... F Terrence Jones missed his 11th straight game with nerve damage in his left leg. Coach Kevin McHale hinted before the game that all three starters would remain sidelined Friday.
Kings: Visit San Antonio on Friday.
Rockets: Host the Clippers on Friday for the finale of a five-game homestand.