HOUSTON — James Harden had 36 points and 13 assists and the Houston Rockets routed Golden State 129-112 on Wednesday night, sending the short-handed Warriors to their sixth loss in eight games this season.
Harden again appeared to be moving past his early shooting woes, going 6 of 16 from 3-point range. Since going 17 of 79 on 3s in his first six games, Harden has made 13 of 32 the last two.
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 4 for 4 from 3 with 12 points.
Already reeling from injuries to Splash Brothers Stephen Curry (broken hand) and Klay Thompson (knee surgery) and 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 Friday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Houston and Golden State entered the game ranked 29th and 28th in the league in points allowed, giving up an average of 123.1 and 120.4 points per game, respectively. Neither team had played a game so far this season where they held their opponent below triple digits.
Both teams struggled with their shooting for spurts of the first half, but late in the second quarter, Harden drilled a deep 3-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% 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.