Harden scores 30, Rockets beat Hornets 100-96

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012
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HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden is getting used to his role as the go-to guy in Houston.

Harden scored 30 points, Omer Asik added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and the Rockets held off the New Orleans Hornets 100-96 on Wednesday night.

Greivis Vasquez scored a career-high 24 for the Hornets, despite hurting his left ankle in the third quarter and briefly leaving the game. Anthony Davis had only eight points on 2-for-7 shooting.

Harden went 10 for 20 from the field but only 1 of 7 from 3-point range in his third 30-point game since joining the Rockets in a blockbuster trade with Oklahoma City on Oct. 27.

"It's taken seven games for me to just be the man, and know what to expect and know how to handle every situation," Harden said. "There are going to be games where, I don't know. There are going to be a lot of experiences that I learn from, so I'm just taking it one game at a time."

The Rockets outscored New Orleans 39-18 in the second quarter to build a big lead, but the Hornets played better defense in the second half to close the gap. Houston shot 58 percent (14 of 24) from the field and hit six 3-pointers in the second period.

"When you have a quarter like that, it's hard to rebound," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "But I thought the guys on our team showed a lot of guts and character, getting back in the game."

The Hornets couldn't quite come all the way back. Chandler Parsons sank a pivotal 3-pointer and fadeaway jumper late to help Houston win for the second time in five home games. The Rockets also built big leads in the first two games of the season, against Detroit and Atlanta, and had to fend off late rallies to win in much the same way.

"We can't keep getting these double-digit leads in the first half and give them away," Parsons said. "We've got to come out there in the third quarter with energy and not allow that."

The Rockets took the floor while first-round draft pick Royce White remained absent from the team. The 6-foot-8 White called the team "inconsistent" in its efforts to help him cope with his anxiety disorder and fear of flying, and he sent out a series of often critical tweets throughout the day.

The team has said nothing publicly beyond a statement that said White was "unavailable" and that it would support him going forward.