Har­den has 43 points for 26th game in a row with 30 or more

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Once James Har­den fig­ures out the best way to take over a game, there isn’t much other NBA teams can do to stop him.

Har­den at­tacked on both ends of the court and quickly filled up the stat sheet to power the Hous­ton Rock­ets to a 125-98 vic­tory over the Utah Jazz on Satur­day night.

Har­den had 43 points for his 26th straight game with at least 30 points. The 30-point streak is the third­longest in NBA his­tory, trail­ing only Wilt Cham­ber­lain’s runs of 65 and 31 games.

“It was a must win for us and we came out here and played like it,” the reign­ing NBA MVP said. “De­fen­sively, we got af­ter it. Of­fen­sively, we moved the bas­ket­ball. Ev­ery­body played well. That’s the ef­fort it’s go­ing to take for us on ev­ery sin­gle night.”

Har­den also had 12 re­bounds, six steals, five as­sists and four blocks. He was 12 of 22 from the field, mak­ing 4 of 12 3-point­ers, and made all 15 of his free throws.

“He’s so locked in,” team­mate Ger­ald Green said. “He puts the work in. He’s lead­ing us in the right di­rec­tion. Our job is to let him lead and fol­low him in this. He’ll take us where we need to go.”

Green added 25 points, and Ken­neth Faried had 16 points and 12 re­bounds be­fore foul­ing out with 5:07 re­main­ing. Hous­ton snapped a two-game los­ing streak, hold­ing the Jazz to 36 per­cent shoot­ing and forc­ing 23 turnovers.

“The big­gest thing is we turned that ball over way too much,” Utah guard Dono­van Mitchell said. “That’s what re­ally hurt us.”

Mitchell had 26 points and nine as­sists for Utah. Rudy Gobert added 10 points and 13 re­bounds.

Har­den fu­eled the bulk of a 17-4 run that put Hous­ton up 60-48 with 30.1 sec­onds left in the first half, mak­ing three bas­kets and four free throws. He punc­tu­ated it by scor­ing on three con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions.

“It never feels like he’s self­ish,” Utah coach Quin Sny­der said. “It just feels like he’s mak­ing the right play all the time and a lot of times the right play is him shoot­ing the ball. He’s play­ing at a level that is rare.” FIVE BY FIVE DE­NIED

Har­den missed his first ca­reer five-by-five by a sin­gle block.

“If I was any taller I could have got­ten an­other block,” Har­den said. “Hon­estly, I was try­ing to be ac­tive and cre­ate some op­por­tu­ni­ties with our de­fense.

TIP INS

Rock­ets: Chris Paul did not play to rest af­ter scor­ing 20 points and adding six as­sists against Den­ver on Fri­day night . ... Hous­ton im­proved to 5-3 in the sec­ond game of back-to-backs.

Jazz: Mitchell is 14 of 42 from the field in his last two games . ... Utah outscored Hous­ton 19-0 in fast­break points.

UP NEXT

Rock­ets: At Phoenix on Mon­day night.

Jazz: Host Phoenix on Wed­nes­day night.

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