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Harden leads Rockets past Cavs

Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden poured in a game-high 37 points as the Houston Rockets cruised to a 118-111 win over the shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

Harden was 9-of-15 from the field -- including 5-of-8 from 3-point range -- and made good on all 14 of his free throw attempts. The All-Star also finished with 11 assists and four steals in the win.

"I let the game come to me. If the shot is there for me, I take it. If the pass is there, I make sure I make the right pass every time. If the drive is there, I take the drive," said Harden. "It's just a matter of me using my basketball instincts and going out there and just playing."

Chandler Parsons added 16 points, Patrick Beverley scored 15 and Terrence Jones donated 14 points for the Rockets, winners in three straight.

Houston center Dwight Howard missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle strain.

Dion Waiters scored 26 points and handed out eight assists, Tyler Zeller finished with 23 points and Anderson Varejao turned in 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have dropped four straight.

"That's two nights in a row that we've come out and our first group has just been flat. They've been flat defensively, flat offensively. From the beginning, we're fighting from a hole," said Cavs coach Mike Brown.

Houston shot 63.6 percent from the floor in the first period to race out to a 39-31 lead. Harden scored eight points and handed out eight assists in the quarter.

The Rockets extended their lead to 67-55 at the break. Harden was 4-for-4 shooting from the floor in the second, but the left-handed sharpshooter really caught fire in the third, pouring in 17 points while going 3-for-5 from long range.

Houston led by as many as 29 in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers scored the final seven of the frame to make it 101-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Cleveland pulled as close as seven late in the final session, but the outcome was never in doubt as Houston coasted for the win. Harden did not play in the final 12 minutes.

Game Notes

The Rockets went 30-for-34 from the free throw line ... Jeremy Lin added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench ... Cleveland outscored the Rockets, 56-42, in the paint ... Seth Curry, who signed a 10-day contract with the Cavs on Friday, scored three points in just under nine minutes.

03/22 23:38:51 ET