James Harden scored 34 points, Russell Westbrook had 28 and the Rockets overcame one of their worst fourth quarters of the season to beat the Kings 113-104 on Monday night, The Associated Press reported.
Clint Capela added 15 points and 14 rebounds as the Rockets won their seventh straight on the road.
It didn’t come easily.
Two weeks after losing to the Kings on Nemanja Bjelica’s buzzer-beating 33-footer, the Rockets squandered most of a 25-point lead before holding on at the end.
That was in stark contrast to Houston’s win over San Antonio on December 16 when the Rockets rallied from down and beat the Spurs 109-107.
“A 10- or 15-point lead was like a five-point lead back in the day,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said.
“They got hot and they did what they were supposed to do. We made some mistakes but a win here is a good win.”
The Rockets won despite shooting six of 17 in the fourth quarter. All three baskets were three-pointers, including one by Westbrook that put Houston ahead 107-96 after the Kings had pulled within six.
Harden made a three-pointer then added a pair of late free throws.
“We just got lax,” Harden said. “That’s just human nature. You get up 18, 20 points and you start doing things that you weren’t doing to gain the lead. It happens.”
De’Aaron Fox tied his career-high of 31 points and had nine rebounds and six assists for Sacramento. Richaun Holmes added 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Kings have lost four straight.
“We didn’t do the little things well enough tonight to win the game,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said.
Houston built a 16-point lead in the first quarter despite slow starts by Harden and Westbrook. The two took five shots total in the opening period and had nine points combined, while House and Capela handled the scoring load early.
The Rockets big two got going after that. Harden scored 13 in the second quarter and Westbrook had 10.
Houston pulled away in the third and led 86-61 following a short jumper by Harden.