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Old 04-13-2015, 09:20 PM   #1
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Harden scores 29, Rockets beat Hornets

James Harden scored 29 points, Josh Smith had a double-double and the Houston Rockets defeated the Charlotte Hornets for the ninth straight time 100-90 on Monday night.

Harden was only 7 of 20 from the field, but did plenty of damage from the free throw line where he was 14 of 16.

Smith added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who moved back into a tie with San Antonio for first place in the Southwest division with one game remaining in the season.

Jason Terry had 13 points and Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer chipped in with 11 for the Rockets (55-26).

The Rockets rested center Dwight Howard.

Brian Roberts scored 23 points off the bench for the Hornets, who have lost five straight games.

Charlotte played without starters Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller and reserves Lance Stephenson and P.J. Hairston due to injuries. They also rested Mo Williams.

With nothing to play for, Hornets coach Steve Clifford gave his younger players more time.

But Houston didn't start to take control until late in the third quarter when Harden began to find his rhythm.

The lefty scored on drives to the basket and got to the foul line, finishing with 10 points in the quarter helping the Rockets open an 83-75 lead. Houston would never surrender the lead, but didn't put the game away until the final two minutes when Jason Terry knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead to 12.

As has become their custom, the Rockets started slow, missing 9 of 12 shots to open the game and fell behind by six.

Jeffery Taylor had 16 points and Troy Daniels added 15 for the Hornets (33-48), who were eliminated from playoff contention last week. Bismack Biyombo, whose contract is up after the season, had nine points and 13 rebounds.

Charlotte struggled from the foul line, converting just 9 of 17 shots. The Rockets were 21 of 26.


Rockets: Ariza has scored in double digits in 16 of his last 19 games. ... Improved to 26-15 on the road. ... Joey Dorsey started for Howard, but didn't score. He had five rebounds.

Hornets: Roberts scored 16 points in the second quarter on 6-of-10 shooting, including four 3-pointers. ... Finished the season 19-22 at home.


Rockets: Host Utah on Wednesday night.

Hornets: At Toronto on Thursday night.

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