MINNEAPOLIS – James Harden scored 49 points on a whopping 41 shots from the field and the undermanned Houston Rockets won their seventh straight gamer, 125-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
With Russell Westbrook resting, the Rockets needed Harden to shoulder an even bigger scoring load than usual. The 41 attempts are the most in his career, and the most in the NBA this season, surpassing the 37 Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell took in an overtime loss Nov. 8 in the same building in Minnesota.
Harden made 16 of the 41 shots, going 8 for 22 from 3-point range. He was 9 of 11 on free throws.
Ben McLemore scored 20 points. Undrafted rookie Chris Clemons scored a career-high 19 for the Rockets, who broke open the game with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. Austin Rivers also had 19 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
Trail Blazers 121, Spurs 116
In San Antonio, CJ McCollum scored 32 points and Portland beat San Antonio to spoil Tim Duncan’s first shot at coaching following Gregg Popovich’s ejection.
Popovich was ejected after walking onto the court to berate official Jason Goldenberg over a non-call. Popovich calmly walked off the court following his first ejection of the season.
The Spurs responded with Duncan and fellow assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy coaching by committee, but it was Duncan calling the plays and screaming out instruction.
Damian Lillard added 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 21 for Portland.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 13 rebounds Spurs. They’ve lost five straight.
Clippers 150, Hawks 101
In Los Angeles, Paul George scored 37 points in his Clippers home debut, Lou Williams added 25, and Los Angeles led all the way in routing Atlanta.
The anticipated first game with George and Kawhi Leonard in the lineup together didn’t happen when Leonard sat out with a left knee contusion.
But the Clippers didn’t need both of their new superstars on a night when George tied his career high with six 3-pointers and made all 11 of his free throws in the team’s biggest blowout of the young season.
Trae Young had 20 points for the Hawks, who dropped their second in a row. They trailed by 52 points in the fourth.
Bucks 102, Pacers 83
In Indianapolis, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Milwaukee forced Indiana into its worst shooting performance of the season.
Brook Lopez added 15 points and eight rebounds. He had blocked five shots as the Pacers shot a season-low 32 percent from the field.
Milwaukee, 9-3 despite a road-heavy schedule to start the season, shot 45%. Donte DiVincenzo added 14 points,
Myles Turner, playing his first game since Oct. 30, had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Indiana.
Mavericks 110, Raptors 102
In Dallas, Luka Doncic had 26 points and 15 rebounds in Dallas’ victory over Toronto.
Doncic scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks added to a one-point lead. He made all seven free throws in the quarter and finished with a career-best 15 free throws in 19 attempts.
Delon Wright finished with 15 points, and banked in a fadeaway with 5 seconds left in the third quarter to send Dallas into the fourth quarter with a 78-77 edge. Wright added six points in the fourth quarter.
Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and matched his career best with 15 rebounds for Dallas.
Norman Powell scored a season-high 26 points for Toronto.
Heat 109, Pelicans 94
In Miami, Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and Miami beat New Orleans to remained unbeaten at home.
Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler added 16 points, 13 assists and eight rebound. Miami is 5-0 at home and 9-3 overall — tying the best 12-game start in team history.
Nickell Alexander-Walker made six 3-pointers and had 27 points for New Orleans.
Nets 117, Bulls 111
In Chicago, Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Brooklyn beat Chicago without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to snap a three-game losing streak.
Irving entered Saturday sixth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game but sat with a right shoulder injury. The short-handed Nets are also without Caris LeVert, who’s recovering from right thumb surgery.
Zach LaVine scored 36 points for Chicago.
Hornets 103, Knicks 102
In New York, Devonte’ Graham made his ninth 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining and had 29 points to lead Charlotte past New York.
P.J. Washington scored 19 points, Terry Rozier had 16 and Marvin Williams added 13.
RJ Barrett scored 22 points for the Knicks.