OKLAHOMA CITY – The Rockets are still rolling.
Chris Paul scored 25 points, James Harden had 23 points and 11 assists, and Houston beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-112 on Tuesday night for its 16th straight victory.
The Rockets matched Boston for the longest win streak in the league this season and are on the second-longest win streak in franchise history. Harden was blunt when asked what those things meant to him.
“Nothing,” he said. “Nothing at all. We just want to play well. We want to play well and have each other’s back, no matter what, on both ends of the floor. It doesn’t matter. Wins and losses will come.”
Trevor Ariza scored 15 points and Eric Gordon added 14 for the Rockets.
Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and Carmelo Anthony added 23 for Oklahoma City, which is in a logjam of teams trying to fight their way into third place in the West.
Oklahoma City had beaten several of the league’s top teams this season. The Thunder have two wins over Golden State, a victory over Toronto and a win over Cleveland this season. The Rockets avoided that fate by going 17 of 33 on 3-pointers and 29 of 34 on free throws.
“We’re so good offensively that every single night, teams are going to throw different coverages at us,” Harden said. “We’ve just got to figure out ways to attack them. Tonight was no different. Once we found something that we could go to, we used it. Guys got open shots and we just ride that wave out the entire game.”
The Rockets led 54-45 at halftime as Harden posted 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Anthony had 19 points for the Thunder and Westbrook had 14, but All-Star Paul George went 1-for-7 from the field before the break.
The Thunder closed the gap to three in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but the Rockets dominated the rest of the way and led 87-74 at the end of the period. Houston made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the quarter.
“You just have to keep playing,” Thunder guard Corey Brewer said. “They are going to make shots. You can’t get down. You can’t let their shot-making affect your game. I think tonight we got a little bit down when they made tough shots but that’s what they do.”
Houston extended its lead to 19 midway through the fourth quarter.
“When a team like that is making 3s, it’s tough out there because you’re always in a scramble situation,” Anthony said. “But you know, those guys beat us tonight, and we have to accept that and move on and learn from it.”
Pelicans 121, Clippers 116
In Los Angeles, Anthony Davis scored 41 points despite a rib contusion and New Orleans won its ninth straight.
Warriors 114, Nets 101
In Oakland, Stephen Curry scored 34 points with six 3-pointers, and Golden State won its sixth straight since the All-Star break by beating Brooklyn.
Trail Blazers 111, Knicks 87
In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 37 points and made eight 3-pointers, and the Blazers won their eighth straight game.
Wizards 117, Heat 113 (OT)
In Washington, Bradley Beal scored 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting and the Wizards had their best 3-point shooting night of the season.
Raptors 106, Hawks 90
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 and the Raptors beat Atlanta for their fifth straight win.
76ers 128, Hornets 114
In Charlotte, Robert Covington scored 22 points, Ben Simmons flirted with a triple-double and Philadelphia handed the Hornets their fourth straight loss.
Mavericks 118, Nuggets 107
In Dallas, Yogi Ferrell rode hot 3-point shooting to a season-high 24 points, Dirk Nowitzki also was strong from long range to score 17 and the Mavs beat Denver.