LOS ANGELES: James Harden scored 36 points and Russell Westbrook bagged a triple double as the Houston Rockets extended their red-hot winning streak to eight games with a 132-108 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Harden, fresh from a 49-point display in Saturday’s win over Minnesota, was once again in commanding form against a Portland team who were always second best at Houston’s Toyota Center.
The 2017-2018 NBA Most Valuable Player also had six rebounds and five assists as the Blazers struggled to contain the Rockets’ multi-pronged offense.
Westbrook tormented the Portland defense, finishing with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists on a night when all five Houston starters finished in double figures.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni praised the contribution of Westbrook.
“Russell had an extra gear tonight, but it’s hard to single out one guy,” D’Antoni said. “They’re all playing well.”
The Rockets coach reserved special praise for Harden though, once again repeating his belief that the 30-year-old is the best offensive player he has ever seen.
“I’m lost for words,” D’Antoni said.
“What he does is unbelievable… No matter what the other teams try to do, double-team or whatever, he just figures it out. It’s incredible what he’s doing.”
The win saw the Rockets improve to 11-3 at the top of the Western Conference, neck-and-neck with the pace-setting Los Angeles Lakers (11-2).
C.J. McCollum led the scoring for Portland with 25 points, but team-mate Damian Lillard was kept quiet with only 13 points. Portland fell to 5-9 with the defeat.
In Dallas, Luka Doncic scored a career-high 42 points and bagged a triple double to guide the Mavericks to a 117-110 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The 20-year-old Slovenian is the second youngest player in history to score a 40-point triple double after LeBron James.
In Los Angeles, Paul George scored 17 points against his former team as the Clippers eked out a nail-biting 90-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Elsewhere Monday, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a 33-point haul as the Milwaukee Bucks outgunned the Chicago Bulls 115-101.
In Toronto, O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam sparked the Raptors in a 132-96 demolition of the Charlotte Hornets.