Harden scores career-high 56 points as Rockets tune out Jazz

AFP
The 28-year-old American missed his final four shot attempts in pursuit of the franchise mark before leaving the game for good. 
AFP
AFP

Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes for a lay-up against the Utah Jazz during their NBA game at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on November 5, 2017. The Rockets romped to a 137-110 victory, with Harden scoring a career-high 56 points.

James Harden was an unstoppable force, pouring in a career-high 56 points as the Houston Rockets rolled over the visiting Utah Jazz 137-110 on Sunday.

The All-Star guard also had 13 assists and made 19 of 25 shots from the field as he finished just one point shy of the team record of 57 set by Hall of Fame guard Calvin Murphy during the 1977-78 National Basketball Association season.

The 28-year-old American missed his final four shot attempts in pursuit of the franchise mark before leaving the game for good. 

"No," Harden said when asked if he was aware of the franchise mark. "We won, right?"

Harden finished 7-of-8 from 3-point range while making 11 of 12 free throws. 

With his final basket in the third quarter, Harden surpassed his previous career high of 53 points.

"To me, what makes him even more difficult is his intelligence as a player," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

"He's able to recognize situations because he is so talented and sometimes you don't see the subtleties of his game, his intelligence.

"He's an intelligent guy and there was really not much we could do."

Houston hit 23 of 39 3-point attempts, with guard Eric Gordon shooting 6 of 11 from deep while adding 20 points.

Trevor Ariza tallied 14 points while making 4-of-8 3's. Nene added 13 off the bench. 

All five Utah starters scored in double figures, but rookie guard Donovan Mitchell came off the bench to pace the Jazz offense with 17 points.

The Jazz darted to a 10-2 lead before the Rockets stormed back behind Harden, who scored 30 first-half points and made his first 10 shots en route to his sixth career 50-point game.

In New York, Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 40 points, carrying the Knicks back from a 19-point deficit to a 108-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Porzingis added eight rebounds and six blocked shots in his seventh 30-point performance in nine games this season.

Rookie Frank Ntilikina made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining as the Knicks won for the fifth time in six games after an 0-3 start. He had 10 points and seven assists off the bench.

Thaddeus Young scored 18 points and Victor Oladipo had 17 for the Pacers, who led 84-65 with under 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Elsewhere on Sunday, it was: Hawks 117, Cavaliers 115; Wizards 107, Raptors 96; Trail Blazers 103, Thunder 99; Lakers 107, Grizzlies 102; Timberwolves 112, Hornets 94; Celtics 104, Magic 88; Heat 104, Clippers 101; and Spurs 112, Suns 95.

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