Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – James Harden needed just seven made
field goals to drop 35 points on the Philadelphia 76ers, leading the Houston
Rockets to a 104-93 win on Monday.
Harden hit 17-of-18 from the free throw line and added nine rebounds and five
assists for Houston, which improved to 4-0 on the season. Trevor Ariza gave 24
points and Dwight Howard scored 11 with 14 rebounds and four blocks.
Through four games, Harden has 25 baskets and is shooting 51-of-54 from the
Tony Wroten paced the winless Sixers with 20 points in the setback, while
rookie big man Nerlens Noel contributed a team-high five assists and six
Houston made seven 3-pointers in the first quarter to claim a 32-19 lead after
one. Ariza was a perfect 4-of-4 from distance, with his 14 points leading the
way. Jason Terry also hit a pair of triples off the bench during a 13-2 run
to close the stanza.
Philly countered with a 17-3 push to open the second quarter and took its
first lead. Houston went just over four minutes without a field goal before
Terrence Jones got a difficult runner to go at 6:42.
K.J. McDaniels hit consecutive threes late in the period to put the Sixers up,
but Harden beat the buzzer with a bucket to send the Rockets into halftime
Four straight Philadelphia turnovers early in the third quarter led to eight
points, as the Rockets regained control. They led the rest of the way, but the
young Sixers didn’t go down quietly.
In the final seconds of the third, Harden drove and tried to put Noel on his
highlight reel with a two-handed jam, but Noel denied the dunk to a chorus of
cheers from the home crowd.
It was a six-point game midway through the fourth when the Rockets put the
game away. Isaiah Canaan hit a pair of 3-pointers around a Wroten layup, and
out of a timeout, Ariza and Harden hit from deep.
Houston is 4-0 for the first time since winning six straight to begin the
1996-97 season … Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley missed his second
straight game with a hamstring injury … The Sixers have lost all four of
their games by at least 11 points.