Harden scored 54 points, matching the team record of 10 three-pointers he set in Houston’s last game in the Rockets’ 130-107 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, The Associated Press reported.
Harden scored 50 or more for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in his last seven games. The rest of the NBA has combined for only five such games this season.
Harden was 10 of 15 from long range and 19 of 31 overall from the field. He also had a seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes, receiving a loud ovation from the Orlando crowd when he headed to the bench in the final minutes.
“I feel like we lost against just him tonight,” Magic guard Evan Fournier said.
“He’s the MVP for a reason. We talked about in pregame that he’ll take shots, and we’ll just live with the results. He did not miss tonight, period.”
Harden set the Houston record for three-pointers with 10 in 18 attempts on Wednesday night in a 55-point game in a victory at Cleveland.
“When he’s shooting over the top like that, I don’t know what you can do,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said.
Russell Westbrook added 23 points for Houston. The Rockets were 22 of 39 from three-point range, setting a record for the most three-pointers by any Magic opponent in franchise history.
“We just shot the ball extremely well,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “When James is like that, it’s hard for anybody to really beat us … no matter what kind of defense you’re going to throw, we’ve got guys.”
Fournier led Orlando with 27 points. Aaron Gordon added 21. The Magic have lost three straight after winning four in a row.
Double forty plus
Paul George scored 46 points, Kawhi Leonard had 42 and the Los Angeles Clippers held on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-117 for their fourth consecutive victory.
“It’s special, two guys offensively,” George said. “The thing about it is, we’re dishing, finding each other, feeding each other. And then when we have moments to be aggressive, we’re looking to get aggressive, attack, look for our shots. It’s great when both guys can get it going”
Leonard and George became the first set of teammates in Clippers’ history to each score 40 points. It was the 21st time in NBA history it has happened. The last time it was done, it also involved George. He and Russell Westbrook did it for Oklahoma City last season.
“It’s great that we can have somebody else out there to help scoring the ball, making the game easier for myself,” Leonard said.
“We’re still trying to build our chemistry out there.”
Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which lost its seventh in a row. Towns had 14 points, including a 4-point play, in a 22-6 fourth-quarter run that trimmed a 21-point Los Angeles lead to five.