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Harden scores 41, Rockets beat Pelicans 108-104

NEW ORLEANS (AP) James Harden is on a run the NBA hasn't seen since Oscar Robertson.

Harden had 41 points and six assists to become the first player since the Hall of Fame guard to record at least 35 points and five assists in seven consecutive games, and the Houston Rockets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 108-104 on Saturday night.

''That's what I play for,'' Harden said when asked about being compared to the Big O. ''That's what you play the game of basketball for, to be mentioned in the name with the greats. Obviously, I have a long way to go, but that's what I put my jersey on for, that's what I lace my shoes up for, to go out there and be the best that I can be and when it's all said and done, be mentioned as one of the best basketball players to ever touch a basketball.''

Harden had 26 points in the first half and reached 40 for the third straight game. He was 7 for 16 from 3-point range and made all 14 free throws. He regularly juked Pelican defenders off their feet to draw fouls, including two fouls from behind the arc for another easy six points.

''I've said it a thousand times - and I don't think I'm wrong because I get to watch it every night - but you don't get better than what he does offensively,'' Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. ''No one's better. Then he's also coming up with steals and rebounds. I mean, he does a lot. I think people sometimes are just trying to look to find holes in his game - and I think everybody has a little something. He doesn't make every shot.''

Anthony Davis looked sluggish a night after scoring a season-high 48 points in a victory over Dallas, taking only five shots in the first half and finishing with 22 points. Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Houston led 77-76 after three and scored the first seven points of the fourth period, five coming from Danuel House Jr. on a reverse layup and an open 3-pointer. The Rockets extended their lead to 101-86 with 5:57 left, but the Pelicans went on a 13-2 run, with Davis scoring six, to cut the deficit to 103-99.

With the Rockets leading 104-101 with 12.6 seconds left, P.J. Tucker, a 56 percent free throw shooter, made both foul shots to ice the victory.

Harden torched the Pelicans for 17 points in the first quarter and added nine more in the second as Houston took a 53-50 halftime lead. Harden's 26 first-half points were more than half of the Rockets' scoring. The next closest teammate in scoring was Austin Rivers with eight.

''I thought we did a really good job defensively,'' Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. ''We say that, and Harden gets (41), but that doesn't bother us because we knew that that was a possibility. I thought we did a good job everywhere else, but we just didn't quite get over the hump with making a few plays down the stretch.''

TIP-INS

Rockets: G Eric Gordon, who scored 21, including 16 in the second half, limped through the fourth quarter with a sore right knee. ''I'll know more tomorrow,'' Gordon said. . D'Antoni said Harden's extra workout regimen is paying dividends nearly halfway through the grind of the regular season. ''It doesn't wear him out, it gives him energy,'' D'Antoni said. ''Obviously, it's paying off.'' ... C Clint Capela has averaged 15.0 rebounds in the last nine games.

Pelicans: F Darius Miller, held scoreless in a Friday night victory over Dallas, missed the game due to an illness. Solomon Hill started in his place. ... Gentry called Harden ''the best `iso' player in the world. I don't know if anybody is better in the history of this league, really, as far as drawing fouls and making plays in `iso' situations..'' ... Despite three separate losing streaks of four, five and six games, Gentry says his players have not ''lost faith that we're going to be a good team.''

UP NEXT:

Rockets: Host Memphis on Monday night.

Pelicans: Close a three-game homestand on Monday night against Minnesota.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Harden
13 SG
A. Davis
23 PF
37.1 Min. Per Game 37.1
28.8 Pts. Per Game 28.8
4.6 Ast. Per Game 4.6
13.0 Reb. Per Game 13.0
44.2 Field Goal % 50.7
44.3 Three Point % 50.8
85.5 Free Throw % 80.3
+ 3 E'Twaun Moore made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Julius Randle 0:00
+ 1 James Harden made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:08
+ 1 James Harden made 1st of 2 free throws 0:08
  Personal foul on Jrue Holiday 0:08
  Out of bounds turnover on Julius Randle 0:10
+ 1 P.J. Tucker made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:12
+ 1 P.J. Tucker made 1st of 2 free throws 0:12
  Personal foul on Ian Clark 0:12
+ 2 Anthony Davis made alley-oop shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 0:19
+ 1 Danuel House Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:26
  Danuel House Jr. missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:26
Team Stats
Points 108 104
Field Goals 35-81 (43.2%) 41-92 (44.6%)
3-Pointers 16-46 (34.8%) 9-28 (32.1%)
Free Throws 22-28 (78.6%) 13-17 (76.5%)
Total Rebounds 50 57
Offensive 8 8
Defensive 31 37
Team 11 12
Assists 21 25
Steals 9 7
Blocks 7 5
Turnovers 12 14
Fouls 20 23
Technicals 0 0
41 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST
20 PTS, 6 REB, 9 AST
1234T
away team logo Rockets 20-15 30232431108
home team logo Pelicans 16-21 20302628104
Team Stats
away team logo Rockets 20-15 108.5 PPG 42.9 RPG 18.3 APG
home team logo Pelicans 16-21 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
J. Harden SG 36.1 PPG 6.6 RPG 7.5 APG 44.2 FG%
J. Randle PF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
J. Harden SG 41 PTS 9 REB 6 AST
J. Randle PF 23 PTS 11 REB 4 AST
43.2 FG% 44.6
34.8 3PT FG% 32.1
78.6 FT% 76.5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Harden 41 9 6 10/25 7/17 14/14 4 37 3 2 7 3 6 -6 60
E. Gordon 21 2 3 9/14 2/5 1/2 1 27 1 0 3 0 2 +12 27
D. House Jr. 15 4 1 5/8 3/5 2/4 2 32 1 0 0 1 3 +7 22
C. Capela 6 7 1 3/6 0/0 0/0 4 33 0 3 1 2 5 -11 17
P. Tucker 5 7 1 1/9 1/7 2/2 3 35 3 1 0 2 5 -2 18
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Harden 41 9 6 10/25 7/17 14/14 4 37 3 2 7 3 6 -6 60
E. Gordon 21 2 3 9/14 2/5 1/2 1 27 1 0 3 0 2 +12 27
D. House Jr. 15 4 1 5/8 3/5 2/4 2 32 1 0 0 1 3 +7 22
C. Capela 6 7 1 3/6 0/0 0/0 4 33 0 3 1 2 5 -11 17
P. Tucker 5 7 1 1/9 1/7 2/2 3 35 3 1 0 2 5 -2 18
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
A. Rivers 10 5 7 4/12 2/8 0/2 2 37 0 0 1 0 5 +2 28
Nene 5 3 2 2/3 0/0 1/2 3 15 0 0 0 0 3 +15 12
G. Green 5 2 0 1/4 1/4 2/2 1 22 1 1 0 0 2 +3 9
B. Knight - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Carter-Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Ennis III - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Clark - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
V. Edwards - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Chriss - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Hartenstein - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Anthony - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Paul - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 108 39 21 35/81 16/46 22/28 20 238 9 7 12 8 31 +20 193
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Randle 23 11 4 10/19 1/2 2/4 2 39 2 1 4 4 7 -2 41
A. Davis 22 11 1 6/13 2/3 8/10 0 38 3 1 1 2 9 0 38
E. Moore 21 7 1 9/19 3/6 0/0 3 36 0 1 1 1 6 -2 30
J. Holiday 20 6 9 9/20 1/7 1/1 5 41 1 1 4 0 6 +1 42
S. Hill 2 1 2 1/3 0/1 0/0 4 18 0 0 0 0 1 -8 7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Randle 23 11 4 10/19 1/2 2/4 2 39 2 1 4 4 7 -2 41
A. Davis 22 11 1 6/13 2/3 8/10 0 38 3 1 1 2 9 0 38
E. Moore 21 7 1 9/19 3/6 0/0 3 36 0 1 1 1 6 -2 30
J. Holiday 20 6 9 9/20 1/7 1/1 5 41 1 1 4 0 6 +1 42
S. Hill 2 1 2 1/3 0/1 0/0 4 18 0 0 0 0 1 -8 7
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
I. Clark 7 1 2 2/6 1/3 2/2 3 19 0 1 2 1 0 +11 11
T. Frazier 7 6 5 3/7 1/3 0/0 2 21 1 0 1 0 6 +11 23
J. Okafor 2 1 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 0 9 0 0 0 0 1 -4 5
W. Johnson 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 -4 0
K. Williams 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
F. Jackson 0 1 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 2 9 0 0 1 0 1 -21 0
N. Mirotic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Miller - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Harrison - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Payton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Diallo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Bluiett - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 104 45 25 41/92 9/28 13/17 23 233 7 5 14 8 37 -20 197