James Harden streches scoring streak in Rockets' win over Knicks | News Coverage from USA

James Harden streches scoring streak in Rockets’ win over Knicks

NEW YORK — James Harden quickly erased any doubt that his streak would end with this game. 

The Houston Rockets star has been tormenting opponents who have no discernible method to slow him down. While doing so, Harden has gone to work on building another MVP-caliber season.

He came to Madison Square Garden Wednesday night riding a run of 20 consecutive games with at least 30 points, a streak the defensively challenged Knicks couldn’t end. 

After reeling off a 19-point first quarter, Harden finished with 61 points to lead the Rockets to a 114-110 victory, sending the Knicks to their seventh straight loss and 10th consecutive on their home court. 

Harden tied Kobe Bryant for most opponents by an opponent at the Garden. Bryant did it in 2009. 

The Knicks made things interesting late but couldn’t stop Harden, who fittingly scored the final basket of the game. 

Harden did much of his work at the free throw line, much to the chagrin of Knicks coach David Fizdale, who voiced his displeasure to the referees throughout the game, which he wasn’t around to see the end of.

Fizdale drew his second technical foul and an ejection in the final minutes.

Instead of coaching from the sideline, Fizdale had to watch a dramatic closing minute on television. 

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The Knicks trailed by 12 points early in the fourth quarter before climbing back and taking a one-point lead with less than a minute remaining. 

After Harden hit two foul shots to put Houston ahead again, Allonzo Trier, who finished with 31 points, made a layup to put the Knicks back up. 

Not for long.

Eric Gordon nailed a three to put the Rockets back up by two. 

Harden then got a steal and made a fast-break dunk for his final points of the game, cementing the victory for Houston. 

It was a dominant showing from Harden, beginning from the game’s first minute. 

He went isolation against Emmanuel Mudiay at the top of the arc before draining a step-back three-pointer and drawing the foul on Mudiay. Harden sank the free throw for a four-point play. 

It also helped that he was getting plenty of calls.

By the end of the first quarter, Harden had 19 points on just 4-of-12 shooting. He was 9-of-9 from the foul line. 

When Harden went to the bench, the Knicks took advantage. They went on 12-4 run to take a 40-32 lead, capped by a nice play from Frank Ntilikina.

The second-year guard got a steal, dribbled behind the back to get around PJ Tucker and then passed off to Mitchell Robinson, who finished with a dunk. 

But Harden scored 17 more points in the second quarter to finish the half with 36 to extend his streak. He scored a layup in the closing seconds of the period to cut the Rockets’ deficit to five points going into the break. 

Harden made sure Houston wasn’t trailing for much longer. 

He went to work in the third quarter, draining a three to to put the Rockets up by five before sending a lob to Gerald Green for an alley-oop. 

Harden finished the period with 13 more points. 

Houston extended its streak to 12 points before the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to cut their deficit to two points before Eric Gordon hit a three with just more than six minutes remaining. 

But the Knicks again closed the gap. Trier converted a three-point play with two minutes left to bring the Knicks to within two. 

After a three-point play from Harden, Trier had a layup on the other end. 

Harden then went to the free throw line after being fouled by Trier. After he made the first one, the official gave Fizdale his second technical foul.

An irate and animated Fizdale kept arguing before leaving the court to a big ovation from the Garden crowd.

By the time Harden left the foul line, the Rockets had taken a six-point lead. 

But then Trier was fouled shooting a three and made all three foul shots to make it a two-point game.

Noah Vonleh then stole a pass and made a layup to send the crowd into a frenzy as the Knicks had cut it to one.

They then took the lead when Gordon fouled Mudiay, who made both shots to put the Knicks up, 108-107. 

But they couldn’t hold the lead until the end. Harden was just too good to overcome. 


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