James Harden's 39 lend a hand Houston Rockets previous quick-exceeded Los …

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — James Harden had 39 points and 12 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-97 victory on Thursday night over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were playing without LeBron James.

The Lakers, who clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Monday, didn’t have James because of a sore right groin.

About Harden's

James Harden's 39 help Houston Rockets past short-handed Los …

About Houston
Houston ( (listen) HEW-stən) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as the sixth most populous in North America, with an estimated 2019 population of 2,320,268. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of 7,066,141 in 2019.Comprising a total area of 637.4 square miles (1,651 km2), Houston is the eighth most expansive city in the United States (including consolidated city-counties). It is the largest city in the United States by total area, whose government is not consolidated with that of a county, parish or borough. Though primarily in Harris County, small portions of the city extend into Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, bordering other principal communities of Greater Houston such as Sugar Land and The Woodlands.
The city of Houston was founded by land investors on August 30, 1836, at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou (a point now known as Allen’s Landing) and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city is named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and had won Texas’ independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles (40 km) east of Allen’s Landing. After briefly serving as the capital of the Texas Republic in the late 1830s, Houston grew steadily into a regional trading center for the remainder of the 19th century.The arrival of the 20th century saw a convergence of economic factors which fueled rapid growth in Houston, including a burgeoning port and railroad industry, the decline of Galveston as Texas’ primary port following a devastating 1900 hurricane, the subsequent construction of the Houston Ship Channel, and the Texas oil boom. In the mid-20th century, Houston’s economy diversified as it became home to the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.
Houston’s economy since the late 19th century has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. Leading in healthcare sectors and building oilfield equipment, Houston has the second most Fortune 500 headquarters of any U.S. municipality within its city limits (after New York City). The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. Nicknamed the “Bayou City” “Space City”, “H-Town”, and “the 713”, Houston has become a global city, with strengths in culture, medicine, and research. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Houston is the most diverse metropolitan area in Texas and has been described as the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis in the U.S. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.

The Rockets were also short-handed, missing Russell Westbrook because of a bruised right quadriceps. But the combination of Harden’s big game and Houston’s long-range shooting were enough to take care of the Lakers. The Rockets made 21 of 57 3’s while Los Angeles hit just 2 of 19.

The Lakers scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 94-89 with about eight minutes to go. Houston had three turnovers and didn’t score in the fourth until a layup by Harden with just more than seven minutes remaining to allow Los Angeles to make it close.

James Harden's 39 help Houston Rockets past short-handed Los …

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni raved about the way Harden has been playing since the season restarted as the Rockets have gone 3-1.

“His commitment on defence is number one,” he said. “He stays locked in and is trying to win whatever it takes, accepting the double teams and trying to trying to bust it through to other guys. So there’s a lot of good things to marvel about.”

Harden’s layup jump-started Houston’s offence and was the start of an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 105-89 with five minutes remaining. Harden, Austin Rivers and Robert Covington each made a 3-pointer in that span.

“We’re playing pretty good,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of things especially defensively that we can correct but I think our energy … and pace has been good.”

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 21 points and Anthony Davis added 17 points with 12 rebounds.

“We did some things poorly at times, we did some things well at times,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “You learn from the tape and put it in the game plan for the next time you play these guys.”

A shot by Quinn Cook got the Lakers within 10 with midway through the third quarter. Houston scored the next seven points, with a 3 by Harden, to extend the lead to 86-69 about a minute later.

The Rockets used a 5-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from P.J. Tucker to make it 91-73 later in the third quarter. Los Angeles wrapped up the third with a 6-3 spurt to cut the deficit to 94-79 entering the fourth.

Harden said the Rockets are focused on improving on defence as the playoffs approach.

“Our energy, our effort and our aggressiveness defensively is something that we have to hang our hats on,” he said.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Alex Caruso sat out with a sore neck. … Rajon Rondo (right thumb surgery) arrived in Florida on Wednesday and must test negative for the coronavirus seven straight times before entering the bubble. But it’s unclear when he’ll be able to begin practicing. … Dwight Howard had eight points and 15 rebounds after missing Wednesday’s game with a sore knee.

Rockets: G Eric Gordon, who has missed all four games in the bubble after spraining his left ankle in a scrimmage, has began shooting again after resting his ankle for several days. Coach Mike D’Antoni hopes Gordon will be able to play in at least one game before the playoffs begin on Aug. 17.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Play Pacers on Saturday.

Rockets: Play Sacramento Sunday night.

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