Harden erupts as Rockets down Clippers

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the LA Clippers on November 13, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Copyright 2019 NBAE Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — James Harden erupted for a fourth-quarter scoring spree as the Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 102-93 on Wednesday.

Harden led the scoring with 47 points, including seven three-pointers, while the former NBA MVP also added six rebounds and seven assists.

The Houston talisman’s tally included a 17-point late in the fourth quarter which helped transform an 84-80 deficit with 5min 52sec remaining into victory.

Harden shouldered the bulk of the Rockets’ offensive duties, with Russell Westbrook (17 points) and Clint Capela (12) the only other Houston players to make double figures.

The Clippers meanwhile were led by Kawhi Leonard, who had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists in a losing effort.

Lou Williams had 20 off the bench for the Clippers while JaMychal Green added 14 as the Clippers fell to 7-4 with the defeat.

The Rockets meanwhile improved to 8-3, leaving them hard on the heels of the Los Angeles Lakers, who were playing Golden State later Wednesday.

In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics improved to 9-1 to remain on top of the table after a 140-133 defeat of the Washington Wizards.

Kemba Walker had 25 points in an impressive all-round scoring display by the Celtics, who saw seven players reach double digits.

Walker was backed by Jayson Tatum with 23 points and Jaylen Brown with 22. Turkish star Enes Kanter meanwhile pulled down nine rebounds as well as contributing 13 points.

But it was a frustrating night for Washington’s Bradley Beal, who finished with 44 points, five rebounds and six assists yet somehow ended on the losing side.

In Orlando, Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points as the Magic jolted the Philadelphia 76ers with a 112-97 victory.

The Sixers, playing without the injured Joel Embiid, fell to 7-4 after the loss while Orlando improved to 4-7.

© Agence France-Presse