Despite an entirely different lineup of Golden State Warriors, James Harden was still out for blood on Wednesday night.
Harden had 36 points and 13 assists as the Houston Rockets routed Golden State 129-112, sending the shorthanded Warriors to their sixth loss in eight games this season.
Less than six months ago, a vastly different roster of Warriors ended another Houston playoff run for the third time in four seasons.
“That’s a part of the league,” Harden said about the changing faces. “It’s a part of the NBA. There’s been a lot of different faces since I’ve been here. It was bound to happen at some point and it is what it is.”
Harden again appeared to be moving past his early shooting woes, going six of 16 from three-point range. Since going 17 of 79 on treys in his first six games, Harden has made 13 of 32 the past two.
Harden’s 292 points through the first eight games (36.5 points per game) mark the highest point total through eight games since Michael Jordan had 303 in 1988-1989.
Russell Westbrook had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. P.J. Tucker had 22 points and 11 rebounds; Clint Capela added 19 points and 16 rebounds; and Austin Rivers was four for four from beyond the arc with 12 points.
Alec Burks led Golden State with 28 points. Eric Paschall had 19 points, while Glenn Robinson III added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Already reeling from injuries to Stephen Curry (broken hand) and Klay Thompson (knee surgery), as well as the loss of Kevin Durant, the Warriors were without D’Angelo Russell (sprained right ankle) and Draymond Green (torn ligament in left index finger) for a third straight game.
Russell, who sat on the Golden State bench, could return today, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Golden State fell to 2-6 for the first time in eight years.
Both teams struggled with their shooting for spurts of the first half, but late in the second quarter, Harden drilled a deep three-pointer where he was also fouled. That shot fired up both Harden and the Toyota Center crowd, including rapper Travis Scott, who was sitting courtside.
Houston led 63-52 at the half, thanks in large part to Harden’s 24 first-half points, but also Golden State’s 38.8 percent shooting from the field.
There were seven lead changes in the first half before Houston started to pull away.
To open up the second half, the Rockets held the Warriors to just three field goals in the first seven minutes of the third quarter and built a lead as large as 23 points. They entered the fourth quarter leading 98-83.
In other results, it was:
‧ Bucks 129, Clippers 124
‧ Jazz 106, 76ers 104
‧ Raptors 124, Kings 120
‧ Mavericks 107, Magic 106
‧ Pistons 122, Knicks 102
‧ Grizzlies 137, Timberwolves 121
‧ Pacers 121, Wizards 106
‧ Bulls 113, Hawks 92