HOUSTON – Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is convinced James Harden operates on a different level than most players, especially after his latest dazzling performance.
Harden had 44 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Rockets to a 118-108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
“He just understands the game, sees it and knows where he wants them,” D’Antoni said. “They stay out, he throws a lob. They come in, he throws that. He’s got that little runner, his 3s are all over the place. I mean, he’s really good. He’s one of the best ever.”
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-1990s, 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.
Harden’s triple-double was his first of the season and 43rd of his career, tying Fat Lever for eighth-most in NBA history.
Capela was a point shy of his career high in scoring, finishing with a 30 points and 14 rebounds.
The 76ers have lost four straight.
Ben Simmons led Philadelphia with 29 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks, which matched a career-high.
Lakers 123, Pelicans 113
In Los Angeles, Anthony Davis scored 46 points against his former team, Danny Green added 25 and the Lakers rolled over New Orleans.
It was Davis’ second straight 40-point game against the team he played seven seasons for after he was the top overall pick in 2012. He also had 13 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.
LeBron James had 17 points and 15 assists for Los Angeles, which has won four straight after having a season-high, four-game losing streak.
In Other Games
Magic 105, Heat 85
Celtics 109, Hawks 106
Trail Blazers 122, Wizards 103
Suns 120, Knicks 112