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Harden, Rockets keep Pacers skidding
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden came in averaging just 14.3 points per game in seven career tilts against the Indiana Pacers.
He surpassed that mark in the third quarter alone.
Harden netted 16 of his 28 points in that frame and the Houston Rockets routed the Pacers, 112-86, on Friday night.
The Rockets outscored Indiana 38-16 in the third to turn a seven-point halftime edge into a 29-point cushion heading into the fourth.
Dwight Howard had 15 points and seven rebounds for Houston, which has won 14 of its last 16 games.
"I really like what I see," Houston head coach Kevin McHale said. "I like it defensively. Everyone is on the same page. They are talking it out, and the guys are doing their job of just playing together."
David West tallied 15 points and 10 boards for the Pacers, who have dropped three straight for the first time this season.
"Every team I've ever been a part of has had a stretch like we're in right now," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "It stinks right now. It's not fun right now, but we've got a good team and we'll regroup."
Indiana trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, but whittled the gap to 50-43 going into the break. Paul George's pull-up jumper and driving dunk to begin the third pulled the Pacers within 50-47.
The Rockets, though, responded with a 23-3 run. Harden netted 11 points during the surge, including a triple and fast-break drunk to cap it and stake Houston to a commanding 73-50 advantage. Howard had seven points during the swing.
Harden was 6-of-8 from the field and knocked down 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the staza.
Houston led 88-59 after three and cruised to the easy win in the fourth. Harden sat out the final frame.
Earlier, the Rockets built a 27-16 advantage after a quarter of play. Patrick Beverley led the way with seven of his nine points.
Harden was 10-of-17 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc overall ... The Rockets tallied 17 points off 19 Indiana turnovers ... Houston shot 52.6 percent (40-of-76) from the floor.
03/08 01:52:16 ET