James Harden’s 44-point triple-double hands 76ers fourth straight loss
HOUSTON — James Harden had triple-double with 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
On a “Flashback Friday” night in which the Rockets wore their retro ketchup-and-mustard uniforms from their back-to-back NBA title days in the mid-90s, Harden sported a retro look of his own, with a white headband and cornrows.
With Philadelphia threatening late, Harden knocked down a deep step-back 3-pointer over Josh Richardson with 1:17 left in the game that put Houston up 10. On the next possession, he found Clint Capela with an alley-oop for a thunderous dunk.
Capela was a point shy of his career high in scoring, finishing with a season-best 30 points and 14 rebounds.
The 76ers have lost four straight, their longest skid since dropping five in a row in Dec. 2017.
Ben Simmons led Philadelphia with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks, which matched a career-high. Tobias Harris scored 24 points.
After missing Philadelphia’s 115-97 loss with a sore left knee on Tuesday, Joel Embiid added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rockets improved to 13-4 at home this season and have won their last four games at the Toyota Center.
The 76ers led 27-20 after the first quarter, dominating the paint and keeping Houston’s shooters in check. With less than five seconds remaining in the quarter, Harden was fouled by Trey Burke in the process of making a deep 3-pointer, but the shot was called off, infuriating Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who argued with officials during the break.
Early in the second quarter, Russell Westbrook received a technical foul for arguing a foul call against him after tangling with Embiid for a rebound.
Houston’s shooting improved after the first quarter, and the Rockets led 60-53 at halftime.
Westbrook had a rough stretch in the third quarter during which he missed an open, two-handed dunk in transition and immediately followed the play with a missed layup. Westbrook finished the game shooting 9 of 22 from the field with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Houston led 96-84 entering the fourth quarter.
The Rockets have a lengthy four-day break before visiting Atlanta on Wednesday night, the start of a stretch when they will play five games in seven days.