Harden huge in vic­tory

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

The Rock­ets still have a way to go to reach their goal of earn­ing the top seed in the Western Con­fer­ence.

But it seems far more at­tain­able than it was just a month ago.

James Harden had 43 points, 10 re­bounds and 12 as­sists in 29 min­utes — the first player in NBA his­tory to have a 40-point triple-dou­ble in less than 30 min­utes played — to lead the Rock­ets to a 141-113 rout of Cleve­land in Hous­ton on Fri­day night for their eighth win in 11 games.

“I think we’ve all had that in the back of our mind. It was just a far reach ear­lier in the sea­son,” Harden said. “Now it’s pretty close. We’ve just got to con­tinue to do what we’ve been do­ing. Play­ing well, tak­ing care of op­por­tu­ni­ties like this.”

The Rock­ets, who were in 14th place in the West in early De­cem­ber, are 4½ games out of first place and tied with the Clip­pers for fifth.

Trail Blaz­ers 127, Hor­nets 96: CJ McCol­lum had 30 points and Damian Lil­lard scored 20 be­fore rest­ing in the fourth quar­ter as host Port­land won eas­ily. The Blaz­ers have won four straight.

Jazz 113, Lak­ers 95: Dono­van Mitchell hit 4 of 5 three-point tries and scored 33 points as host Utah blitzed Los An­ge­les. Mitchell also had nine as­sists.

Pac­ers 121, Knicks 106: Do­man­tas Sabo­nis had 22 points and 15 re­bounds to cap his siz­zling sea­son at Madi­son Square Gar­den, and In­di­ana whipped New York.

Rap­tors 122, Nets 105: Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 11 re­bounds, Pas­cal Si­akam scored 16 points and Toronto beat Brook­lyn for its sec­ond seven-game home win­ning streak of the sea­son.

Hawks 123, 76ers 121: John Collins hit a fade­away jumper with 25 sec­onds left and At­lanta pre­vailed when Philadel­phia flopped on its final plays to lead the Hawks past host Philadel­phia.

Wizards 113, Bucks 106: Bradley Beal scored 32 points, and To­mas Sa­toran­sky had his first ca­reer triple­dou­ble to lead host Wash­ing­ton.

Mav­er­icks 119, Tim­ber­wolves 115: Luka Don­cic scored 29 points and hit the go-ahead three-pointer to lead Dal­las over Min­nesota, spoil­ing rookie head coach Ryan Saun­ders’ home de­but.

Griz­zlies’ Brooks out: Mem­phis swing­man Dil­lon Brooks is ex­pected to miss the re­main­der of the sea­son be­cause of a rup­tured lig­a­ment in his right big toe. Brooks un­der­went surgery Fri­day.

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