James Harden had 28 points and 10 assists against his former team as the host Philadelphia 76ers cruised past the reeling Houston Rockets 123-104 on Monday (Tuesday, February 14, Manila time).
Tyrese Maxey came off the bench to produce 26 points, six assists and five rebounds. Joel Embiid added 23 points and Tobias Harris had 11 for the Sixers.
Philadelphia has one game remaining against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday before the All-Star break.
Jalen Green, who led the Rockets with 29 points, shot 6-of-20 from the field and 15-of-17 from the free-throw line.
Kenyon Martin Jr. added 15 points, Alperen Sengun contributed 12 and Jabari Smith Jr. had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who have dropped six in a row.
Houston shot just 6-of-24 from 3-point territory and 35-for-86 (40.7 percent) overall.
The Rockets quickly fell behind by 17 early in the fourth quarter and couldn’t sustain any kind of run to slice into the deficit. When Maxey knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:49 remaining, the Sixers led 107-88.
Harden’s three-point play with 5:17 left gave the Sixers a 110-90 lead. The Rockets never posed a serious threat the rest of the game.
The Sixers built an 11-point lead in the second quarter and held a 55-48 advantage at halftime.
Embiid was aggressive from the start but shot just 3-of-8 for a team-high 12 points.
P.J. Tucker went scoreless in seven minutes and the Sixers announced that he wouldn’t return for the second half because of left calf tightness.
The Rockets struggled mightily with their shooting, going 17-of-46, including an 0-for-9 performance from 3-point territory. Green and Smith Jr. combined to shoot 3-for-20.
Houston soon fell behind by 17, but it closed within 84-76 late in the third following a 3-pointer by Green, just its second made trey in the game.
Embiid hit a short jumper at the third quarter buzzer for a 90-78 advantage.
The 76ers finished 56.1 percent from the field (46-for-82), including 15 3-pointers. – Rappler.com
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