Wizards overcome Harden’s 54 points, Durant explodes for 49
By Agence France-Presse
John Wall scored six of his 36 points in overtime as the Washington Wizards outlasted the Houston Rockets 135-131 in overtime on Monday despite James Harden’s season-high 54 points.
Bradley Beal equaled his season-best with 32 points and Markieff Morris finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Wall had two baskets in overtime and dished out 11 assists.
Harden scored 12 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second and 21 points in the third quarter. His career high is 60 points.
He started the fourth quarter on the bench then added six more as the teams remained deadlocked 125-125 at the end of regulation.
Harden missed five of his seven shots in the fourth. In overtime, Harden was one of two from the field and had two free throws. He had 11 turnovers, including three in overtime.
“It’s not even about myself,” Harden said. “It’s about our entire team. We had a really good start to the game and kind of let our guard down.”
Harden played a season-high 47 minutes and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said he knows he is asking a lot of his superstar.
“We’re asking you know what? Play (47) minutes, make every play,” D’Antoni said. “There are going to be periods where he’s just gassed.”
Wall said Beal enjoys the challenge of facing Harden.
“It’s what you dream of,” Wall said. “It’s what you live for, to be on the big stage, a big moment, going against a guy like that.”
Eric Gordon scored a season-high 36 for the short-handed Rockets, who played without Chris Paul for the second straight game.
Washington’s Otto Porter opened the scoring in overtime with 4:47 to play and the Wizards maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant continued his hot streak, scoring a season-high 49 points Monday as the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors beat the Orlando Magic 116-110.
Durant’s explosive evening came just two nights after he torched the Sacramento Kings for 44 in a 117-116 Warrior victory.
“You not born with anything, you have to craft your skill and your game,” said Durant. “I feel like I am relaxed in those moments and it is all about getting the best shot I can get.
“If I focus on getting the best shot from the start of the game to the end of the game then I feel comfortable in the fourth quarter when my team needs me.
“Tonight one of my favorite shots came to me at the end I was able to knock it down.”
On Monday, Durant gave the Warriors the lead on a three-point play with 79 seconds remaining before nailing another from beyond the arc with 22 seconds to go.
– Deep talent pool –
Golden State’s deep talent pool was on display as they were without stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.
Durant got help from his supporting cast. Klay Thompson finished with 29 points, including six three pointers and 19 points in the fourth quarter.
The past three games, Durant has scored 125 points and Thompson 91. They were the only two Warriors in double figures on Monday.
Durant became the seventh player in franchise history to post consecutive 40-point games, joining Curry, Thompson, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain, Antawn Jamison and Purvis Short.
Nikola Vucevic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Magic, who are coming off a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors now embark on a five-game road trip that begins Thursday against the league-leading Toronto Raptors in which they hope to have Curry back in the lineup.