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Rockets make NBA-record 24 3-pointers, beat Pelicans


    Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) is fouled as he goes up for a shot between New Orleans Pelicans’ Alexis Ajinca (42) and Cheick Diallo (13).

HOUSTON >> The Houston Rockets didn’t seem too impressed with their latest entry in the NBA record book.

The Rockets made an NBA-record 24 3-pointers, led by Eric Gordon’s 7-for-12 effort, and beat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-100 Friday night.

“We just played how we play,” said Harden, who shot 6 for 12 on 3s and finished with 29 points. “It didn’t feel no different. We shot the basketball, open 3s and you know — they went in.”

Harden also had 11 rebounds and 13 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season and 15th of his career — passing Hakeem Olajuwon for the most in franchise history.

“The best player in Rockets history — The Dream,” Harden said. “For me, it’s an unbelievable accomplishment. Credit to my teammates for knocking down their shots. I’m just trying to make an impact on the game that’s all.”

Ryan Anderson made Houston’s 24th 3-pointer of the game with 32 seconds remaining, and the Toyota Center crowd erupted in celebration of the record.

Gordon confidently predicted that the best is yet to come.

“I wouldn’t doubt before the season’s over that we’ll break that record again,” Gordon said. “I think it’ll happen again, for sure. A lot of teams like to load up and not let us get layups and force us to shoot 3s so why not?”

In picking up their ninth straight win, the Rockets attempting 61 3s — making 39.3 percent — to shatter their own record of 50 set earlier this year. They broke the NBA record for 3s made in a game, shared by Houston in 2013 and Orlando in 2009.

“They’ve added another dimension to the game because of their ability to be able to shoot the way they do,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Trevor Ariza added 20 points and Patrick Beverley had 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Houston.

Anthony Davis scored 19 points in 22 minutes for New Orleans and rested much of the second half after Houston built a lead as big as 24 points. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry later said Davis was kicked in his lower leg and was limping so he held him from playing in the fourth quarter.

Houston attempted 31 3s in the first two quarters, an NBA record for a half. The Rockets made 14 3s in the first half, entering the break with a 45.2-percent clip. Houston entered the game attempting 37.6 3s per game, tops in the league, and making 38.4 percent.

Gentry said Houston’s offense is fueled by Harden’s abilities as a playmaker.

“He controls the game,” Gentry said. “The game is played at his pace. He’s leading the league in assists and he has a lot of shooters around him. He can score and he’s playing like an MVP candidate. If you look around the league right now, he’s as good as anybody playing.”

Pelicans point guard Tim Frazier played through a right wrist sprain in his hometown, several miles from his alma mater of Strake Jesuit.

There was plenty of familiarity between the two teams. Three Rockets players — Gordon, Ariza and Anderson — played previously for New Orleans, while the Pelicans’ Terrence Jones and Omer Asik are former Rockets. Additionally, Pelicans coach Gentry served as an assistant for Rockets coach D’Antoni in Phoenix.


Pelicans: After playing 11 minutes in his first game of the season on Thursday night against Indiana, Tyreke Evans (knee) was given the night off for rest. … SF Solomon Hill did not travel with the team to Houston as he stayed in New Orleans with his girlfriend in anticipation of the couple’s first child.

Rockets: C Clint Capela fouled out of the game early in the fourth quarter. He had eight points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes. … Harden made 6 of 12 3-pointers, while Ariza made 5 of 14. … Three Rockets players had double-digit rebounds and Houston outrebounded New Orleans 57-47.


Before the National Anthem, the Rockets remembered TNT broadcaster Craig Sager, who died Thursday at 65 after a lengthy battle with leukemia. There was a moment of silence in Sager’s honor and fans in the Toyota Center gave a standing ovation when his picture was shown on the videoboard. Sager attended several Rockets games while receiving treatment at nearby MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.


As part of their ongoing celebration of their 50th season, the Rockets honored former player and coach Rudy Tomjanovich with a video montage after the first quarter. Tomjanovich was in attendance and received a lengthy ovation from the crowd. Tomjanovich played for the Rockets from 1970-81, and coached the team from 1991-2003 — winning back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995.


Pelicans: Att San Antonio on Sunday night.

Rockets: At Minnesota on Saturday night.

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