Philippine Daily Inquirer

Houston notches 14th win in a row


LOS ANGELES— With James Harden providing the highlight moment—a step-back, staredown triple that left Wesley Johnson on the floor—Houston completed a perfect February by notching its 14th win in a row, a 105-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Houston scored its second 14-win streak of the season to keep its hold of the NBA’s top spot over Golden State, which beat Washington.

LOS ANGELES— The NBA-leading Houston Rockets capped a perfect February with a 105-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday to stretch their winning streak to 14 games.

The Rockets, led by 25 points from James Harden, finished February 12-0 and with their second 14-game win streak of the season became just the sixth team in league history to post multiple streaks of at least 14 wins in the same campaign.

“Extremely important,” Harden said of the victory over the Clippers, potential early playoff opponents who had beaten the Rockets twice this season.

The victory kept the Rockets atop the Western Conference, leading the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors who beat the Wizards, 109-101, in Washington.

The Rockets led by as many as 27 points. Harden delivered the game’s signature moment in the opening quarter when he wrong-footed Wesley Johnson with a quick cross-over dribble, Johnson falling backwards to the court and receiving a long stare from Harden before the Rockets star drained a three-pointer over him.

The Clippers trailed just 83-72 going into the final period, but Houston pulled away inexorably in the fourth.

“We just kept our composure and finished the game off the right way,” Harden said.

In Washington, Warriors star and DC-area native Kevin Durant celebrated his homecoming by scoring 32 points.

Stephen Curry added 25 points and the Warriors limited Washington guard Bradley Beal to eight to notch their seventh win in eight games.

Eastern Conference leaders Toronto, meanwhile, pulled away late to beat the lowly Magic, 117-104, in Orlando to cap a 9-2 February.

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 ?? —AP ?? Rockets star James Harden provided the signature moment during the rout of the Clippers.
—AP Rockets star James Harden provided the signature moment during the rout of the Clippers.

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