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Harden scores 30, Rockets beat Hornets 100-82

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm •  Published: January 25, 2013
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"I'm more concerned with how we haven't been able to guard and hold teams under 100 points," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "That's where it starts for me. We have to defend better."

Harden, who did almost all his damage on drives to the basket in the first half, sank two 3-pointers during Houston's decisive spurt in the third quarter. He also hit a tough pull-up jumper to give the Rockets a 64-46 lead with 6:47 left.

The Hornets made one run in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 85-75 on Al-Farouq Aminu's follow dunk, but Carlos Delfino responded with a 3-pointer. After Anderson converted a three-point play to pull the Hornets within 10 again, Aminu missed badly on a shot and Harden drove to the basket for his own three-point play to make the score 91-78 with less than 3 minutes left.

The Rockets' bad stretch began with an 88-79 loss in New Orleans on Jan. 9 when they set a season low for points.

"This is where it all started going downhill," Patterson said. "We lost here and went on a losing streak. For us to get this win here against a solid team that's playing great basketball, hopefully this will carry over until tomorrow and we'll start building up a winning streak."

The Hornets shot 37.5 percent in the first half but took advantage of 14 Rockets turnovers — seven by Harden — to remain within striking distance. Five of the miscues came in a little more than 2 minutes as New Orleans cut a 36-26 deficit to 38-36.

The Rockets went back up 48-40 by halftime.

Harden helped the Rockets emerge from their losing skid by being aggressive as they took the lead for good early in the first quarter. He drove for a layup and hit a floater in the lane to tie the score at 11. He dribbled through the lane and converted a three-point play to put the Rockets ahead 14-11, then hit four free throws to stretch the lead to 22-16.

Houston ended the first quarter with five points on one possession. Greg Smith was fouled as he made a putback with 6 seconds left. He missed the free throw, but Houston grabbed the rebound and Delfino drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.3 seconds left to give the Rockets a 27-18 lead.

"We just have to keep our bodies moving, and our spacing is right," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "We usually come up with a pretty good shot if we don't turn it over."

NOTES: The teams completed their season series, with the Rockets winning three of four. ... A nifty pass to Davis for a monster dunk in the second quarter was Gordon's first assist in seven quarters. ... The Rockets started a stretch of four games in six days, with three on the road.