In another unbelievable display of offense, James Harden tallied 41 points on the New Orleans Pelicans to defeat them by a score of 108-104 on Saturday night.
The Rockets started off strong, coming out with a 10-point lead after the first quarter thanks to 17 first-quarter points from James Harden. The Pelicans, coming off a hard-fought win last night against the Mavericks, looked sluggish and took a while to get into their rhythm.
New Orleans gained its rhythm back in the second quarter and its leader Anthony Davis was quiet, connecting on just two buckets from the floor. Julius Randle led the way for the Pelicans in the first half with 16 points and the Pels were able to cut the deficit to just three points.
The Rockets were able to move their lead back to nine points with a 10-4 run in the first half of the third quarter, but the Pelicans began to chip away thanks to some poor shooting from the Rockets. The Pelicans grabbed their first lead since early in the first quarter with a Jrue Holiday dunk, but the Rockets yanked the lead back thanks to a Danuel House Jr. three. The team would trade the lead a few times before the Rockets took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Seven straight points to begin the final frame allowed the Rockets lead to grow to eight and it soon became out of reach for the Pelicans. The lead for the Rockets grew to 14, and even though the Pelicans found a way to shrink it to three, the home team never took the lead back.
While the Rockets were unable to shoot the ball at their usual proficiency tonight, the team still got strong contributions from Harden and his supporting cast. Despite Clint Capela’s woes (six points, seven rebounds), the team found offense in other fashions. Harden’s 41 led the way, but Eric Gordon piled on 20 points for his second consecutive game and Danuel House Jr. scored 15 in his efforts. Austin Rivers brought 10 points with him off the bench as well.
For the Pelicans, four players eclipsed the 20-point mark. Julius Randle (23), Anthony Davis (22), E’Twaun Moore (21), and Jrue Holiday (20). However, the rest of the squad had just 18 points combined.
For the Rockets, it certainly was not their most impressive game. The team shot just 43.2 percent from the field, but found a way to win their ninth game in their last ten tries. Every time the Rockets take the floor, the team looks more and more like their old selves, which is nice to see given how the season started.
The team looks to win their fifth straight contest at home in their annual New Year’s Eve game against the Grizzlies. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. CT.