James Harden is fresh off the fourth 60-point output of his career and he looks to remain hot when the Houston Rockets visit the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. Harden is tied with Michael Jordan for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history and trails only Wilt Chamberlain (32) and Kobe Bryant (six).
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Harden didn't play in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 158-111 trouncing of the Atlanta Hawks, and was 16-of-24 from the field, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range, and hit 20-of-23 free throws to fall one point shy of his career high (accomplished twice) and he enjoys the company he is keeping. "That's a great list right there. Those guys are something that I'm trying to get to," Harden said in a postgame television interview of Jordan, Bryant and Chamberlain. "Hopefully when it is all said and done, I can be mentioned in that group forever." San Antonio dropped 13 of its last 16 games and was demolished 132-98 by the host Detroit Pistons on Sunday. "Yes, I'm disappointed," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. "We came out aggressively in our last game against the Clippers (a win on Friday) and we had energy and execution at both ends. They scored 97 and tonight we gave up 132. It was brutal."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), FS Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (13-6): Harden leads the NBA with a 38.9 scoring average after his latest explosion that also represented his 20th career 50-point outing, and he continues to amaze his teammates. "What he's doing has not been seen," Houston guard Austin Rivers told reporters. "My man had 60 and didn't play the fourth quarter. Name another player who could do that right now." Rebounding dynamo Clint Capela missed the past two games with an illness and small forward Danuel House Jr. missed the Atlanta game due to being sick but coach Mike D'Antoni expects both players to be available against the Spurs.
ABOUT THE SPURS (7-14): San Antonio's defense was non-existent against the Pistons and that isn't a good omen with Harden and the Rockets next on the slate. "We have got to get better defensively as a team and just bring energy," Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV told reporters after the club was outscored 73-47 in the second half by Detroit. "We have the talent, the players and the coaches, but we're just not bringing it defensively." Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan scored 20 against the Pistons and tallied 20 or more in nine of the past 11 games.
1. The Rockets won the past three meetings.
2. Houston's 158 points was only its second most of the season - the Rockets posted a 159-158 win over the Washington Wizards on Oct. 30.
3. San Antonio PF LaMarcus Aldridge (thigh) missed the Detroit game but is expected back on Tuesday.