LOS ANGELES: James Harden delivered 28 points as the Houston Rockets punched their ticket to the National Basketball Association (NBA) postseason with a 113-90 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
Harden, who scored a combined 118 points in his previous two games, didn´t need to maintain his torrid pace against the Pelicans.
The Rockets led by 19 at the half and Harden’s supporting cast did their job by shutting down the Pelicans in the second and not allowing them to get back into the contest.
NBA scoring leader Harden exploded for a career-high-tying 61 points in a win over San Antonio on Friday after netting 57 points in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday.
Harden, who is averaging 36.4 points per game, hit 10 of 19 shots from the floor and made six threes for the Rockets, who remained in third place in the Western Conference.
Rockets guards Eric Gordon scored 18 points and Chris Paul had 10 points and 13 assists against their former Pelican team.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds as the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks avenged a loss to Cleveland earlier in the week by beating the Cavaliers 127-105.
Antetokounmpo missed two of the three previous games with an ankle injury and did not play four days ago when the Cavaliers beat the Bucks 107-102.
He had a big impact on Sunday, adding seven assists, blocking four shots and shooting 11-of-16 from the field in 32 minutes of playing time.
Milwaukee improved to a league-leading 55-19 record, ahead of the Toronto Raptors, who are 51-23.