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.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
San Antonio Spurs
- UndisclosedQues Mon | questionable
Walker IV exited the previous game with an undisclosed injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up against the Rockets on Monday.
- ThighProb Fri | probable
Aldridge missed his second consecutive game due to right thigh soreness, but it is expected that he will suit up Friday versus the Kings.
- FootOut Tues | out
Metu will not be available against the Rockets on Tuesday due to a foot injury.
- FootQues Tues | questionable
Metu has been absent from the lineup during the past three games due to soreness in his left foot. It is undetermined if he will return against the Rockets on Tuesday.
- IllnessQues Mon | questionable
Chandler missed his fifth consecutive game due to illness, and it is unclear if he will return Monday against the Spurs.
- RestOut Sat | out
Westbrook will not be available for Saturday's battle against the Pistons as he will receive a day of rest.
- FluProb Fri | probable
Rivers has been held out of the past two games with flu-like symptoms, but it is projected that he will suit up for Friday's contest versus the Magic.
- IllnessProb Thurs | probable
House Jr. has sat out the past two games due to an illness, but the symptoms are expected to subside in time for Thursday's contest against the Raptors.
- EyeProb Thurs | probable
McLemore departed the last game with an eye laceration, but he is likely to take the court against the Raptors on Thursday.
- Headday-to-day | questionable
Harden left Thursday's game with a head injury, and it is unknown if he will return.
- IllnessProb Tues | probable
Capela has been absent from the lineup during the previous two games with illness, but he is expected to be available Tuesday versus the Spurs.