Despite rocky start, James Harden extends scoring streak in win against Raptors

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

All good things have to come to and end sometime.

Luckily for James Harden, his scoring streak will live to see another day.

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After a rough first half on Friday night at the Toyota Center, Harden finished with 35 points to extend his scoring streak and lead the Houston Rockets to a 121-119 win against the Toronto Raptors.

The reigning league MVP has now scored 30 or more points in 22-straight games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain has currently has the top three steaks in league history.

That streak looked to be in jeopardy early on, though, after a rough first half where he scored just 13 points and shot only 3-of-11 from the field.

He got back on track in the third quarter, though, and put up five quick points right out of the gate. By the end of the period, Harden was up to 24 points, having shot 5-of-7 from the field.

Thanks to three free throws within the first minute of the fourth quarter, and then two pairs down the stretch, Harden’s streak lives on.

“I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to win,” Harden said after the game. “Honestly, if I have to score a lot of points tonight … my teammates were making shots, Kenneth brought amazing energy. It was a great team effort. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do.”

The Raptors nearly completed the last-second comeback, too, going on a quick 9-0 run thanks to 3-pointers from Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Danny Green to bring them within just two points with just 15 seconds left.

While they had one last look at it, Leonard’s game-winning 3-point attempt didn’t fall, giving the Rockets the two-point win.

“I knew he was trying to pull up for the three. I was just trying to contest it as good as possible,” Harden said about the final sequence. “He hit two big 3’s previously. It was kind of sloppy, but we won, so that’s all that matters.”

Leonard finished with 32 points to lead the Raptors, shooting 11-of-19 from the field. Siakam and Green each finished with 22 points, and Serge Ibaka had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

He finished with 35 points, seven assists and two rebounds to lead the Rockets. He shot just 9-of-15 from the field, making only one field goal in the final quarter, but went 15-of-15 from the free throw line.

After a slow first half, James Harden dropped 35 points on Friday night to extend his historic scoring streak against the Toronto Raptors. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
After a slow first half, James Harden dropped 35 points on Friday night to extend his historic scoring streak against the Toronto Raptors. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

Eric Gordon added 24 points for the Rockets, and Kenneth Faried finished with a double-double 21 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 8-of-11 from the field.

Chris Paul, who has missed 38 days with a Grade-2 hamstring sprain, is set to return on Sunday for their game against the Orlando Magic. The Rockets have gone 12-5 in his absence.

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