James Harden and the Rockets are at their best when they are knocking down 3-pointers, getting points in the paint and racking up points to the foul line.
They did all three in Boston and it added up to a mostly easy outing against the Celtics, a team that continues to struggle.
Harden had 42 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter and Houston held off the Celtics 115-104 on Sunday for its fifth straight victory.
Harden made six 3-pointers and scored 40 or more points for the 24th time this season.
Eric Gordon added 32 points and had eight 3-pointers.
“We’re finally healthy, so yeah, it feels good,” Harden said. “We’re winning, guys know their roles, we’re executing defensively, we’re helping each other out, we’re talking. That’s all it’s about.”
Boston has lost five of six since returning from the All-Star break. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
The Celtics were inefficient when they had the ball, shooting 48 percent (37-for-77) for the game and 29 percent (8-for-28) from beyond the arc.
Thunder 99, Grizzlies 95: Russell Westbrook scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and host Oklahoma City rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final seven minutes to defeat Memphis.
Clippers 128, Knicks 107: Landry Shamet scored all of his 21 points on 3-pointers, Danilo Gallinari added 20 and host Los Angeles sent New York to its 50th loss of the season.
Trail Blazers 118, Hornets 108: Rodney Hood scored 27 points, Jusuf Nurkic added 26 points and 15 rebounds and Portland beat host Charlotte. Damian Lillard had 23 points to help the Trail Blazers win for the sixth time in seven games.
Wizards 135, T’wolves 121: Bobby Portis had 26 points and 12 rebounds and host Washington beat Minnesota.
Pistons 112, Raptors 107: Blake Griffin scored 14 of his 27 points in the first quarter and host Detroit beat Toronto in overtime.
Cavaliers 107, Magic 93: Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points, Kevin Love had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and host Cleveland pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Orlando.
Hawks 123, Bulls 118: Alex Len scored a season-high 28 points and visiting Atlanta beat Chicago, two days after the Bulls outlasted the Hawks 168-161 in quadruple overtime in Atlanta. Trae Young scored 18 before getting ejected in the third quarter for taunting Chicago’s Kris Dunn for his second technical foul.
Pau Gasol to Bucks: Pau Gasol signed with Milwaukee, two days after the 38-year-old Spanish center reached a buyout agreement with San Antonio. The 7-footer, who has played in 1,223 career games, helped the Lakers win titles in 2009 and 2010.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/James-Harden-scores-42-to-lead-Rockets-past-13660239.php.