James Harden has 61 to tie career best, lead Rockets over Spurs

James Harden matched his career high with 61 points, including 27 in the first quarter, to lead the Houston Rockets to a 111-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

The Rockets trailed 100-94 with 4 minutes to go when they went on a 13-2 run to regain the lead. In that stretch, Harden hit three straight 3-pointers and two tough jumpers to score all of Houston’s points

“Be aggressive,” Harden said. “We were down so we had to make shots and get stops.”

Harden topped the 50-point mark for the eighth time this season, compared with 10 such performances from the rest of the league combined. He matched his career-best total set earlier this season against the Knicks in New York.

Bryn Forbes led San Antonio with 20 points.

Nuggets 111, Knicks 93: Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 17 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 18 points, and visiting Denver earned its sixth straight victory to move into a tie with the Wariors for first place in the Western Conference with 11 games remaining for each team. “I wouldn’t say it’s ultra-important,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said about gaining the homecourt advantage in the West. “Is it something that we talk about? Sure. Is it something we say why not us? Sure. But we’re not going to risk any player’s health or rest at the expense of being the No.1 seed.”

Thunder 116, Raptors 109: Paul George scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook had 18 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, and Oklahoma City won at Toronto. Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 26 points as the Thunder snapped a four-game skid and avenged Wednesday’s 123-114 home defeat to Toronto. Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points and Pascal Siakam had 25 for the Raptors, who played without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.

Bucks 116, Heat 87: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, had eight rebounds and seven assists after missing two games with a sprained right ankle and helped NBA-leading Milwaukee over visiting Miami.

Nets 111, Lakers 106: Joe Harris scored 26 points, D’Angelo Russell added 21 points and 13 assists against his former team, and visiting Brooklyn eliminated Los Angeles from playoff contention. Former Warriors center JaVale McGee had career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds along with six blocked shots for the Lakers, who have lost five straight and 10 of 11. LeBron James fell just short of his 81st career triple-double with 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Clippers 110, Cavaliers 108: Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points and visiting Los Angeles continued its torrid March (9-1). Kevin Love scored 22 points for Cleveland.

Magic 123, Grizzlies 119: Terrence Ross scored 31 points and Evan Fournier had 27, including the game-clinching free throws, and host Orlando won in overtime.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/James-Harden-has-61-to-tie-career-best-lead-13710780.php.

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