James Harden had 25 points and nine assists in just three quarters and the Houston Rockets beat host New York, 120-96, on Thursday night to extend the Knicks' longest single-season losing streak to 14 games.
The Rockets beat New York for the 11th straight time, though everyone is beating the Knicks these days. New York has lost 24 of its last 25 games to fall to an NBA-worst 5-34.
Trevor Ariza added 18 points for the Rockets, who improved to just 4-4 in their last eight. Harden didn't reach his NBA-leading average of 26.8 points only because he was limited to 31 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter with Houston already leading by 24.
Rookie Travis Wear scored a season-high 21 points and Langston Galloway had 19 for the Knicks. The Knicks' overmatched lineup managed some neat fastbreaks and dunks, entertaining a sold-out crowd that featured five fans wearing paper bags over their heads sitting right behind one of the baselines, easily noticeable during the nationally televised broadcast. But the Knicks couldn't sustain their brief runs. But without the injured Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.
Harden scored or assisted on all five of Houston's baskets during a 13-2 run that brought Houston's lead to 43-30. He finished the first half with a three-pointer that made it 56-42. Dwight Howard opened the third quarter with consecutive three-point plays to push it to 20. He had 11 in the period after a quiet first half and the Rockets coasted from there.
Donatas Motiejunas finished with 17 points and Howard had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Charlotte 103, at Toronto 95: Gerald Henderson scored a season-high 31 points, and Kemba Walker added 29 — two on a jumper with 19.6 seconds left — as the Hornets earned their fourth straight win. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors, who've lost four in a row, with 24 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.