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Harden leads Rockets over Grizzlies 121-96

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Harden leads Rockets over Grizzlies 121-96

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden scored 31 points with eight assists, and the Houston Rockets earned their third straight win, 121-96 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies entered the game allowing an NBA-low 89.2 points a game. But they had no answer for Harden. He did all his scoring in the first three quarters and reached at least 20 points for an eighth straight game.

Houston used a big run midway through the second quarter to take the lead, and didn't trail after that to break a four-game winning streak by the Grizzlies.

Mike Conley had 16 points for the Grizzlies on a night when leading scorer Rudy Gay finished with a season-low six points.

Memphis hadn't allowed 100 points since the Clippers scored 101 in the season-opener - an NBA-best streak of 23 games.

The Rockets needed just over three quarters to reach the mark with a free throw by Jeremy Lin with 9 1-2 minutes left that made it 100-80.

It was the Rockets' 13th straight home victory over the Grizzlies. Memphis hasn't won in Houston since April 2006.

Lin added 15 points and 11 assists, and Marcus Morris scored 16 points.

Rockets took advantage of their speed in this one, outscoring Memphis 33-3 on fast breaks in the Grizzlies' most lopsided loss of the season.

The Rockets led by 15 points late in the third quarter when Harden found Greg Smith in the lane for a dunk. Quincy Pondexter made a layup on the other end before Carlos Delfino knocked down a 3-pointer from 2 feet behind the line to extend the lead to 94-76.

Zach Randolph made a layup for Memphis to end the quarter with Houston up 94-78.

The Rockets had a six-point lead before Harden scored seven straight points to push Houston's lead to 77-64 with seven minutes left in the third quarter. He started the run with a three-point play before jumping in front of a pass and taking it the distance for a layup.

The Grizzlies led by three points with about nine minutes left in the second quarter before Houston used a 13-3 run powered by six points from Omer Asik to take a 48-41 lead.

Memphis cut the lead to four later in the quarter. This time the Rockets used a 12-6 spurt to extend their lead to 64-54 at halftime.

NOTES: The Rockets recalled G Scott Machado from the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers before Saturday's game. ... Asik had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. ... Houston is 7-1 when Harden scores at least 30 points. ... Randolph finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will be handing out Redskins Superlatives as they continue to preview the 2020 season.

Next up: They give their Most Likely to Become President Award to a fan favorite and the franchise's newest leader.

JP's pick: Terry McLaurin

There is nothing Terry McLaurin can't do and he's got my vote for president should he ever decide to run. Beyond the breakout rookie year, the precise route running and his blazing speed, McLaurin talks like a 10-year veteran.

This offseason has been hard for everyone, but McLaurin explained things better than most: "Football is what I love to do. I can’t think of a better blessing in my life to be playing the game that I love. When you get through the course of such a long NFL season and you get to the end, it’s like man, I’m ready for that break. That burning desire is still inside of you to continue to get better and continue to improve. Now with us having a new staff, we’re just all looking forward to being on the field again. I feel like sports is something that this country needs as well. The camaraderie of it, the togetherness that it brings."

Put McLaurin on the ballot — but ideally after a 15-year career with a whole lot of postseason success.

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Pete's pick: Ron Rivera

JP and I didn't go to school together — that's because he's a LOT OLDER than me — but if we did, it would've been a surprise if we ever got an A-plus on the same assignment. In fact, it would've been a huge surprise, and perhaps an impossibility.

But in this instance, we're both getting an A-plus. He nailed his pick, and I'm nailing mine. 

Ron Rivera hasn't been with the Redskins long, and due to this unusual offseason, the media hasn't gotten to hang around him much in person, aside from his introductory press conference in January and some time at the Combine. 

Even so, we have still talked to him plenty on Zoom, and in all of those instances, I've been floored by his leadership, his intelligence and his perspective on everything, both football-related topics and topics that relate more to life overall. 

RELATED: RIVERA ON NOT SIGNING CAM NEWTON

At this point, I'm pretty much convinced every company or group in the world would be better with Rivera involved. He's fair, he's level-headed and he simultaneously gives and commands respect. 

For now, Rivera's just in the running for an NFC East title, but if he ever sets his sights on running for office, he'll have one mediocre blogger on his side.

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Today's Live Sports: July 2

Today's Live Sports: July 2

Baseball

5:25 a.m. – Korea Baseball Organization: Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes (ESPN)

Rugby

5:30 a.m. – NRL Rugby: Melbourne Storm vs. Sydney Roosters (FS1)

Soccer

12:55 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Sheffield United vs. Tottenham (NBCSN)

3:10 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Manchester City vs. Liverpool (NBCSN)

Golf

3:00 p.m. – PGA Tour Golf: 2020 Rocket Mortage Classic (Golf)

Boxing

8:00 p.m. – Top Rank Boxing: Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) (junior welterweights) (ESPN)

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