NY
HOU

No Text

Harden scores 26 in Rockets' 120-96 blowout win over Knicks

HOUSTON (AP) David Fizdale let out a sigh of disgust when he was asked if he was pleased with his New York Knicks holding James Harden to 26 points.

Well, not quite.

''No, he toyed with us,'' the Knicks coach said after a 120-96 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night. ''He did an MVP (performance) and toyed with us. He scored when he wanted to score and passed when he wanted to pass. But that's what greatness does to young players.''

Harden had a relatively quiet night, adding eight assists and eight rebounds to go along with his 26 points in just 29 minutes. He didn't play in the fourth quarter.

For Harden, it wasn't nearly as spectacular as his last game against the Knicks when he tied a career high by scoring 61 points in a 114-110 win at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23. Harden entered Friday averaging 43 points per game in his last three games against New York.

With the game largely in hand early, it marked just the sixth time this season Harden played less than 30 minutes. He entered Friday night second in the league with 37.0 minutes per game. He's leading the league with 36.2 points per game.

''We're building very, very good habits no matter who we play,'' Harden said. ''That's our mindset, that's what we preach, and that's what we've been talking about. So it was a great job by the guys going out there, playing four quarters like it was any other team.''

Chris Paul and Clint Capela both had double-doubles for Houston, with Paul getting 11 points and 10 assists and Capela adding 12 points and 15 rebounds. The Rockets are 18-0 this season when Paul has 10 or more assists.

With Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay sidelined with a sore left shoulder, Mario Hezonja started, posting 16 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Hezonja's triple-double was the first for the Knicks since Jan. 11, 2018, when Jarrett Jack had one against Atlanta.

''He did a great job, he organized us, he called the right stuff, he attacked when he needed to attack and did an excellent job on the glass,'' Fizdale said.

Henry Ellenson also had 16 points off the bench for the Knicks, who lost their ninth straight on the road. Kevin Knox added 13 and Mitchell Robinson had 12.

Seven Rockets scored in double figures: Eric Gordon and Kenneth Faried each had 13, P.J. Tucker added 11, and Iman Shumpert 10. The Rockets have won 16 of their past 19 games in which Tucker has scored in double figures.

With Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni out with a stomach flu, assistant Jeff Bzdelik served as head coach for the game.

''We have a great group of veteran guys that understand what's at stake here,'' Bzdelik said. ''Continuing to build our championship habits because the playoffs are going to be starting here in seven or eight days, so we need to make sure we continue to get better. It's understood that every game is a playoff-implication game, and this was a very important win tonight for us.''

The Rockets held the Knicks to just 16 points in the first quarter, a season low for opponents' first-quarter scoring against Houston. The Rockets led 32-16 after the first quarter and held a 72-43 lead at halftime.

Harden highlighted how critical it is for Houston to maintain an intensity on defense.

''It's very important and we did that,'' Harden said. ''No matter who checked in the game, we were focused and locked in.''

Winning for the seventh time in their last eight games, the Rockets swept the season series against the Knicks for the 12th time in the past 14 seasons. The Knicks have lost eight of their last nine games overall.

With the victory, Houston (52-28) briefly pulled within a game of Denver for the second seed in the Western Conference playoff standings. Denver hosted Portland on Friday night. The Rockets have two games remaining in the regular season as they host Phoenix on Sunday and visit Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

When asked if he pays close attention to the Western Conference playoff standings, Paul shook his head.

''Just hooping and worrying about us,'' Paul said. ''We're one of the teams that, every night, as long as we play the way we're capable of, we should win.''

TIP-INS

Knicks: Were also without Kadeem Allen (concussion), Isaiah Hicks (sore left hip), Dennis Smith Jr. (sore lower back), Allonzo Trier (strained left calf) and Noah Vonleh (sprained right ankle). DeAndre Jordan did not play for a fourth straight game (coach's decision).

Rockets: Houston tied a season-low with just six turnovers . The Rockets improved to 15-2 when holding opponents below 100 points. ... C Nene (coach's decision) was the only player who did not enter the game for Houston.

STAYING FOCUSED

Despite holding a 29-point lead with less than five minutes remaining, Bzdelik called timeout for Houston.

''We had a couple of very poor defensive possessions and we needed to refocus, lock in and understand that every possession matters,'' Bzdelik said. ''Habits are very important.''

ROUGH HOMECOMING

Houston-native Damyean Dotson was held to 3-for-14 shooting, including just 1-for-8 from the 3-point line and totaled seven points in 28 minutes in his homecoming game.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host the Wizards on Sunday.

Rockets: Host the Suns on Sunday.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:48 +3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 0-3
11:23 +2 Damyean Dotson made fade-away jump shot 2-3
11:13 +2 Clint Capela made layup, assist by James Harden 2-5
10:53   Lost ball turnover on Kevin Knox, stolen by P.J. Tucker  
10:34   Clint Capela missed hook shot, blocked by Mitchell Robinson  
10:34   Clint Capela missed hook shot, blocked by Mitchell Robinson  
10:29   Defensive rebound by Kevin Knox  
10:23   Lance Thomas missed jump shot  
10:20   Offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
10:19   Mitchell Robinson missed dunk  
10:16   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
10:11   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:08   Defensive rebound by Kevin Knox  
10:02   Kevin Knox missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:02   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
9:51   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:48   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
9:41 +2 Lance Thomas made layup, assist by Mario Hezonja 4-5
9:30 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 4-8
9:19   Mario Hezonja missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:15   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
9:03 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 4-11
8:46 +2 Mario Hezonja made driving layup 6-11
8:36   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:33   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
8:24 +2 Damyean Dotson made driving layup 8-11
8:11   Shooting foul on Mitchell Robinson  
8:11   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
8:11   Clint Capela missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
7:59   Kevin Knox missed jump shot  
7:57   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
7:48   James Harden missed driving layup, blocked by Mitchell Robinson  
7:48   HOU team rebound  
7:42   Bad pass turnover on James Harden  
7:26   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
7:17 +3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 8-15
6:59   Damyean Dotson missed layup, blocked by Clint Capela  
6:57   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
6:49   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:46   Defensive rebound by Kevin Knox  
6:43 +2 Kevin Knox made dunk 10-15
6:26 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot 10-18
6:14   Damyean Dotson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:11   Offensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
5:59   Lance Thomas missed jump shot  
5:58   Offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
5:58 +2 Mitchell Robinson made dunk 12-18
5:42   James Harden missed floating jump shot  
5:40   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
5:32   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
5:23   James Harden missed layup  
5:20   Defensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
4:55   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
4:48 +2 Clint Capela made turnaround jump shot, assist by James Harden 12-20
4:31   Lance Thomas missed turnaround jump shot  
4:24   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:21   Defensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
4:11   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
4:05   Iman Shumpert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:04   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
4:04 +2 Clint Capela made dunk 12-22
3:39   Kevin Knox missed hook shot  
3:37   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
3:25   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
3:15   Damyean Dotson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:14   Offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
3:11   Kevin Knox missed driving layup, blocked by James Harden  
3:10   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
3:05 +2 Danuel House Jr. made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 12-24
2:39   Henry Ellenson missed jump shot  
2:35   Offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
2:35 +2 Mitchell Robinson made dunk 14-24
2:24   Full timeout called  
1:54 +2 driving layup, assist by Luke Kornet 16-27
1:38 +2 Kenneth Faried made hook shot, assist by Iman Shumpert 16-29
1:23   Traveling violation turnover  
1:10 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. fade-away jump shot 16-32
0:45   Defensive rebound by Kenneth Faried  
0:29   Defensive rebound by John Jenkins  
0:08   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
0:00   Chris Paul missed driving layup  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:53   Shooting foul on Danuel House Jr.  
11:53 +1 Mario Hezonja made 1st of 2 free throws 17-32
11:53   Defensive rebound by Eric Gordon  
11:20   John Jenkins missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:18   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
11:13   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:10   Offensive rebound by Kenneth Faried  
11:08 +2 Kenneth Faried made turnaround jump shot 17-37
10:52   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
10:44 +2 Chris Paul made driving layup 17-39
10:21   Defensive rebound by Eric Gordon  
10:06   Shooting foul  
10:06 +1 Eric Gordon made 1st of 2 free throws 17-40
10:06 +1 Eric Gordon made 2nd of 2 free throws 17-41
9:54   HOU team rebound  
9:54   Personal foul on Henry Ellenson  
9:54   Personal foul on Henry Ellenson  
9:33   Personal foul on Danuel House Jr.  
9:20   NY team rebound  
9:16 +3 John Jenkins made 3-pt. jump shot 20-43
8:53   Kenneth Faried missed layup  
8:52   Defensive rebound by Luke Kornet  
8:42 +2 Henry Ellenson made reverse layup, assist by John Jenkins 22-43
8:18   Bad pass turnover on Luke Kornet, stolen by Danuel House Jr.  
8:11   Danuel House Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:08   Defensive rebound by Henry Ellenson  
7:51 +2 Luke Kornet made jump shot, assist by John Jenkins 24-45
7:43   Austin Rivers missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:41   Defensive rebound by Henry Ellenson  
7:36   Shooting foul on Danuel House Jr.  
7:36   Henry Ellenson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
7:36   NY team rebound  
7:36 +1 Henry Ellenson made 2nd of 2 free throws 25-45
7:21   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:20   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
7:14   Personal foul on P.J. Tucker  
7:10   Shooting foul on Clint Capela  
7:10 +1 Mario Hezonja made 1st of 2 free throws 26-45
7:10 +1 Mario Hezonja made 2nd of 2 free throws 27-45
6:58   Offensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
6:58 +2 P.J. Tucker made dunk 27-47
6:45 +2 Mitchell Robinson made dunk, assist by Mario Hezonja 29-47
6:38   Clint Capela missed layup, blocked by Mitchell Robinson  
6:38   Defensive rebound by Kevin Knox  
6:34   Offensive foul on John Jenkins  
6:34   Offensive foul on John Jenkins  
6:21   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
6:21   Shooting foul on Mitchell Robinson  
6:21 +1 Clint Capela made 1st of 2 free throws 29-48
6:21   Clint Capela missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
6:19   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
6:02 +2 Mitchell Robinson made alley-oop shot, assist by John Jenkins 31-48
5:45   Bad pass turnover on James Harden, stolen by Mario Hezonja  
5:43   Violation  
5:39   Shooting foul on P.J. Tucker  
5:39   Kevin Knox missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:39   Kevin Knox missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:39   Kevin Knox missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
5:30   HOU team rebound  
5:30   Personal foul on Kevin Knox  
5:20   Shooting foul on John Jenkins  
5:20 +1 James Harden made 2nd of 3 free throws 31-50
5:20 +1 James Harden made 3rd of 3 free throws 31-51
5:06   Traveling violation turnover on Mario Hezonja  
4:57 +3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Eric Gordon 31-54
4:37   Damyean Dotson missed jump shot  
4:34   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
4:11   Mario Hezonja missed finger-roll layup  
4:09   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
4:00   James Harden missed floating jump shot  
4:00   NY team rebound  
3:52   Damyean Dotson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:50   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
3:40 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by P.J. Tucker 31-60
3:25 +3 Kevin Knox made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Mario Hezonja 34-60
2:59 +2 James Harden made driving layup, assist by Chris Paul 34-62
2:44   Mario Hezonja missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:40   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
2:26 +2 James Harden made finger-roll layup 34-64
2:12 +2 Mario Hezonja made driving layup 36-64
2:04 +2 Iman Shumpert made layup, assist by Chris Paul 36-66
1:45   Kevin Knox missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:43   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
1:35   Defensive rebound by John Jenkins  
1:31   Personal foul on Clint Capela  
1:31 +1 Mitchell Robinson made 1st of 2 free throws 37-66
1:21 +3 Iman Shumpert made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 37-69
1:03   Personal foul on Mitchell Robinson  
1:03   Iman Shumpert missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:03   HOU team rebound  
1:03 +1 Iman Shumpert made 2nd of 2 free throws 37-70
0:56   Personal foul on P.J. Tucker  
0:56 +1 Kevin Knox made 1st of 2 free throws 38-70
0:56 +1 Kevin Knox made 2nd of 2 free throws 39-70
0:38   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
0:30 +2 Lance Thomas made jump shot, assist by Mario Hezonja 41-70
0:13 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 41-72
0:01 +2 Kevin Knox made floating jump shot 43-72
0:01   Shooting foul on P.J. Tucker  
0:01   Kevin Knox missed free throw  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44   Lance Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:43   HOU team rebound  
11:23 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 43-74
10:58   Kevin Knox missed driving layup  
10:57   NY team rebound  
10:57   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
10:24   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
10:10   Out of bounds turnover on Chris Paul  
9:54   Lance Thomas missed jump shot  
9:53   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
9:46   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:43   Offensive rebound by James Harden  
9:37 +2 Eric Gordon made finger-roll layup, assist by James Harden 43-76
9:06 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Harden 46-79
8:51 +2 Kevin Knox made layup, assist by Mario Hezonja 48-79
8:27   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:26   Defensive rebound by Lance Thomas  
8:19   Shooting foul on Clint Capela  
8:19   Mitchell Robinson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:19   Mitchell Robinson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:19 +1 Mitchell Robinson made 2nd of 2 free throws 49-79
7:47 +2 Lance Thomas made fade-away jump shot 51-82
7:33   Personal foul on Mario Hezonja  
7:23   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
7:18   Lost ball turnover on Kevin Knox, stolen by Chris Paul  
7:14 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 51-85
7:00   Damyean Dotson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:59   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
6:44   James Harden missed driving layup  
6:42   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
6:35   Personal foul on Gerald Green  
6:25   Bad pass turnover on Mario Hezonja, stolen by James Harden  
6:15   Shooting foul on James Harden  
6:15   Lance Thomas missed 1st of 2 free throws  
6:15   NY team rebound  
6:15 +1 Lance Thomas made 2nd of 2 free throws 52-85
6:00   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
5:54   Personal foul on James Harden  
5:46   Kevin Knox missed finger-roll layup  
5:41   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:36   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:35   Defensive rebound by Mario Hezonja  
5:29   Shooting foul on Gerald Green  
5:29 +1 Mario Hezonja made 1st of 2 free throws 53-85
5:29   Mario Hezonja missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
5:25   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
5:16   Gerald Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:14   Defensive rebound by Kevin Knox  
5:00 +3 Damyean Dotson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Mitchell Robinson 56-85
4:48   Iman Shumpert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:47   Defensive rebound by Damyean Dotson  
4:25 +2 Kevin Knox made driving layup 58-85
4:08 +2 Kenneth Faried made layup, assist by James Harden 58-87
3:57 +2 Mitchell Robinson made dunk, assist by Mario Hezonja 60-87
3:37   Shooting foul on Mitchell Robinson  
3:37 +1 James Harden made free throw 60-90
3:26   Kevin Knox missed driving layup  
3:25   Defensive rebound by Austin Rivers  
3:19 +3 Gerald Green made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Austin Rivers 60-93
3:02 +2 Mario Hezonja made jump shot 62-93
2:50   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:47   Defensive rebound by Damyean Dotson  
2:37   Damyean Dotson missed jump shot  
2:27 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 62-96
2:27   Shooting foul  
2:27 +1 James Harden made free throw 62-97
2:10   3-pt. jump shot  
2:08   Defensive rebound by Kenneth Faried  
1:53   Chris Paul missed jump shot  
1:52   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
1:32   Shooting foul on Chris Paul  
1:32   Kevin Knox missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:32   NY team rebound  
1:30   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
1:18 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 62-100
1:00 +2 Henry Ellenson made hook shot 64-100
0:48 +3 Gerald Green made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 64-103
0:29   Damyean Dotson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:25   Defensive rebound by Kenneth Faried  
0:16   Personal foul on Mitchell Robinson  
0:03   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   Defensive rebound by Damyean Dotson