Harden cools down but Rockets still beat Pelicans for playoff berth

LOS ANGELES, USA – James Harden delivered 28 points as the Houston Rockets punched their playoff ticket with a 113-90 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, March 24 (Monday, March 25, Philippine time). 

Erupting for a combined 118 points in the previous two games, the reigning NBA MVP did not need to maintain his torrid pace against the Pelicans. 

The Rockets led by 19 at the half and Harden's supporting cast did their job by shutting down the Pelicans in the second and not allowing them to get back into the contest.

Harden, the NBA's scoring leader, exploded for a career-high-tying 61 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday after netting 57 points in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Averaging 36.4 points per game, Harden hit 10 of 19 shots from the floor and made 6 three-pointers for the Rockets, who remained at 3rd place in the Western Conference.

#Rockets @JHarden13 's 28 PTS (6 3PM) propel the @HoustonRockets past NOP! pic.twitter.com/aA07wZGo9c — NBA (@NBA) March 25, 2019

Eric Gordon scored 18 points and Chris Paul had 10 points and 13 assists against their former Pelican team. 

Danuel House scored 14 points and P.J. Tucker and Kenneth Faried scored 11 each in the win. Clint Capela added 17 rebounds. 

Playoff Spot Clinched The 7th straight playoff appearance ties a franchise record! pic.twitter.com/Wn9anRGsCJ — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 25, 2019

Frank Jackson scored 19 points, Julius Randle had 15 and Anthony Davis had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pelicans, who lost for the eighth time in 9 games. – Rappler.com