James Harden On The MVP: 'It's Coming Back'

Rockets fired up by Harden's third straight 40-point game

The Rockets guard had 45 points in his team's 127-113 victory, meaning he has scored 30 or more in eight successive games and at least 35 in his last six.

Number don't lie. Harden is now putting up a mind-boggling 32.3 points (on 9.6-of-21.7 shooting), 4.3 three-pointers, 5.7 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 5.3 turnovers in 36.7 minutes per contest.

Trevor Ariza scored 24 points and converted a crucial three-point play with 1.8 seconds remaining, and injury-riddled Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a home victory over Charlotte.

Harden had 26 points in the first half and reached 40 for the third straight game.

Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bucks, who improved to 25-10 on the season.

In Portland, Klay Thompson scored 32 points, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 50 and the Golden State Warriors avenged a loss from earlier this week, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 115-105. Austin Rivers has been only been teammates with Harden for a few days, but he thinks he should at the top of the list of contenders as the National Basketball Association season nears its halfway point.

Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his third triple double of the season as the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks won their third straight game with a 129-115 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Rookie Deandre Ayton scored a season-high 33 points and added 14 rebounds for the Suns.

Houston led 77-76 after three and scored the first seven points of the fourth period.

Horford finished with 18 points and five 3-pointers as the Celtics outscored the Grizzlies 48-21 from beyond the arc. Marcus Morris scored 22 points for Boston, and Gordon Hayward had 14 off the bench.

Rudy Gobert scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds - in the first half alone - as Utah scored 71 points in the first 24 minutes and waltzed to a win over visiting NY.

Luke Kornet, making his first start of the season in place of Enes Kanter, tied a career high with 23 points, and Noah Vonleh added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks.

Murray's total was his second-highest of the season. At 11-24, the Hawks have the fourth-worst mark in the Eastern Conference, but they've done better recently compared to Cleveland, which dropped its sixth in a row. Cleveland fell to 8-29, worst in the National Basketball Association.



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