Harden's big 3rd quarter helps Rockets beat Spurs 109-93

Houston Rockets' James Harden, center, shoots as San Antonio Spurs' Derrick White, bottom, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 12, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter to allow the Houston Rockets to build a huge lead and sail to an easy 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

The NBA's leading scorer took a little while to get going a night after sitting out against Dallas with a sore left knee and had just 12 points at halftime.

Despite his slow start, the Rockets had a comfortable lead in the third and were still up by 13 after a basket by San Antonio's Dejounte Murray with about eight minutes left in the quarter. It was then that Harden took over, scoring the next eight points to start a 16-4 run that extended the lead to 82-57 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third and had coach Gregg Popovich calling for a timeout.

Harden had a 3-pointer and made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to propel that spurt. He didn't return in the fourth quarter with the game in hand.

The Spurs, who were without leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, got 14 points each from Bryn Forbes and Derrick White. They lost for the fifth time in six games as they fight for a playoff spot.

TRAIL BLAZERS 115, HEAT 99

PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard had 32 points and 10 assists, and Portland beat Miami for its 10th straight victory.

Jusuf Nurkic added 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Blazers, who have the longest current winning streak in the NBA and a two-game lead over Oklahoma City for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Lillard scored 21 points after halftime. He leads the league in second-half scoring.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points for the Heat, who were without two key players in starting center Hassan Whiteside and sixth man Dwyane Wade.

BUCKS 121, GRIZZLIES 103

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Khris Middleton scored 24 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 20 and Milwaukee sent Memphis to its 18th consecutive loss.

Brandon Jennings, signed to a 10-day contract by Milwaukee on Sunday, finished two rebounds short of a triple-double with 16 points and 12 assists. Eric Bledsoe added 14 points, including a trio of baskets to stem a fourth-quarter Memphis rally.

Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 17 points, while Jarell Martin, Dillon Brooks and Ben McLemore scored 16 apiece.

THUNDER 106, KINGS 101

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook scored 17 points and notched his 20th triple-double of the season to help Oklahoma City beat Sacramento.

Westbrook had 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the 99th triple-double of his career.

Paul George and Carmelo Anthony each scored 21 points for the Thunder, who moved into fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

Thunder center Steven Adams left the game in the third quarter with a left hip contusion and did not return. Just two days earlier against San Antonio, he hurt his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Garrett Temple and Justin Jackson each added 15 for the Kings.

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