Nets lose Harden but beat Rockets, move into first in East
Houston Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. (3) and Jae'Sean Tate (8) defend against Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving had 31 points and a season-high 12 assists, and the Brooklyn Nets overcame the loss of James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 120-108 on Wednesday night and move into first place in the Eastern Conference. Harden sat out the fourth quarter against his former team with right hamstring tightness, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Rockets jumped to a 24-6 lead, with an 8-for-9 start that included makes on all five 3-point attempts. The Rockets listed the injury as a left knee effusion and it's unknown whether it will keep him out longer.
Spurs end 4-game home skid, top short-handed Rockets 103-91
Kenyon Martin Jr. #6 of the Houston Rockets drives for two over Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on January 14, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio couldn't match the intensity of the short-handed Houston Rockets for three quarters, yet a strong finish by the Spurs was enough to snap a four-game home losing streak. “We played our best defense in the fourth quarter,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. He had 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes during Houston’s 109-103 victory on Thursday. Spurs: Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon remains out, along with reserve center Drew Eubanks, due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
McCollum scores 44 to lift Trail Blazers past Rockets in OT
(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)PORTLAND, Ore. – CJ McCollum scored 44 points, including a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left that gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 128-126 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. Lillard's layup pushed the Blazers ahead 125-123 with 30 seconds left in overtime, but Harden made a 3 to push the Rockets ahead with 15.3 seconds left. Then with 6.3 seconds left, the ball found McCollum again and the Blazers' guard hit another long range shot putting Portland ahead 128-126. After Wood cut the Blazers lead to 123-120 with a layup, Harden tied the game again at 123 with 38.6 seconds left. After a missed 3-pointer by Lillard, Houston’s PJ Tucker was called for a loose ball foul on the rebound with 32 seconds left.
Rockets set to go into opener with 9 available players
Houston Rockets' James Harden looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against tha San Antonio Spurs in Houston, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)The Houston Rockets are preparing to have only nine available players, James Harden among them, for their first two games of the season because of ongoing quarantine issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rockets play their opener in Portland on Saturday and visit Denver on Monday. Harden being ineligible to play meant the Rockets did not have the eight available players needed to start a game, so what was to have been their opener on Wednesday against Oklahoma City was postponed. Ben McLemore and Kenyon Martin Jr. are not with the Rockets on the trip and are self-isolating, the team said.
OKC-Houston game postponed, Harden out after COVID violation
Houston Rockets' James Harden reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Houston, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. The drama began when reports surfaced that Harden and Russell Westbrook both wanted out of Houston. While the rest of the Rockets were preparing for the season, Harden was photographed partying in Atlanta at a rapper's birthday party and at a nightclub in Las Vegas. That would have left eight eligible players, which is the league minimum to start a game. Harden, according to the protocols, may now be ordered into quarantine and could lose more than $500,000 for each game missed because of protocol violations.
Schroder scores 30; Thunder top Rockets to even series
Eric Gordon scored 23 points and Danuel House added 21 for the Rockets, who won the first two games of the series. The Thunder shot 47.8% and the Rockets 47.7% before the break. The Rockets led 93-80 before Schroder made a 3-pointer and Houston's Austin Rivers was called for a foul away from the shot. Schroder hot a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Oklahoma City climbed within 93-92 at the end of the third. Thunder: Shot 61% in the first quarter.
Disney is nice but for NBA's top teams, no place like home
But right now it's more hurting the teams that should be playing in front of rowdy fans, not virtual ones. With Domantas Sabonis lost to injury, the Pacers need Turner to do even more on the inside to pick up the slack. Game 2, 9 p.m. ESPN NEED TO KNOW: These teams are seeded No. 8 based on what they did over the entire season, but there is no such difference in the bubble. Vogel said he believes in adjusting when necessary and may decide the Lakers need more speed on the floor and go smaller.
Spurs beat Rockets to keep playoff hopes alive, need help from other teams
San Antonio has won three straight and five out of seven since arriving in the Florida bubble. The Spurs will need help to be one of the teams playing this weekend for the final spot in the Western Conference, but made sure they couldn't be eliminated Tuesday with their win. San Antonio built a 19-point lead in the first half. San Antonio moves into 9th place in the West, but the position is tenuous. The Spurs need for the Memphis Grizzlies to lose both their games and Phoenix or Portland to lose one of their remaining games to get into the short play-in series.