James Harden scored 12 of his team-high 27 points in the third quarter, and the Houston Rockets rode a balanced offensive attack to a 107-86 victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors on Thursday.
Harden shot just 8 of 23 overall but was 3 of 5 in the third, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc. His steady play in that frame provided cover for a ragged shooting effort from the Rockets, at least until Houston opened the final period with an 18-2 run that extended the lead to 97-65.
James Ennis III chipped in 19 points while Eric Gordon scored 17 off the bench for the Rockets, who announced pregame that they have parted ways with veteran forward Carmelo Anthony.
Clint Capela added a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) while Chris Paul contributed 10 points and seven assists.
The Warriors, meanwhile, were both careless with the basketball (17 turnovers) and ineffective from the perimeter, connecting on just 4 of 18 3-point attempts. Golden State didn’t make its first trey until the 3:33 mark of the second quarter when rookie guard Jacob Evans cashed in.
Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with 20 points but produced only two assists. With guard Stephen Curry sidelined for a fourth consecutive game with a groin injury, Golden State appeared disoriented on offense. Its defense, solid for most of the game, finally wilted late.
Klay Thompson was the only other starter to reach double figures for the Warriors, tallying 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts and committed three turnovers.
Golden State forward Draymond Green, back after a one-game, team-imposed suspension over his dust-up with Durant, finished scoreless in 23 minutes. He had five rebounds, five assists and five turnovers.
Harden converted a driving layup with just over three minutes remaining in the first half as Houston extended to a 41-30 lead. However, the Warriors responded with a 9-2 run and trailed by just six points at the intermission.
Harden opened the second half with a 3-pointer, and he later followed his driving layup with a banked-in trey that extended the lead to 63-47 with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
Quinn Cook delivered the Warriors’ second 3-pointer with 19.7 seconds left in the third, but the Rockets pulled away to open the fourth, turning a 13-point advantage into a runaway victory.
—Field Level Media