The Houston Rockets needed a career night from James Harden to hold off the depleted New York Knicks 129-122 on Saturday night. ABOUT THE ROCKETS (26-9): While Harden is rolling, backcourt mate Patrick Beverley has missed two of the past three games - the first with a quad contusion and then Saturday's win due to wrist soreness.
Harden collected a career-high 53 points and added 17 assists and 16 rebounds for his second straight triple-double, also hitting a career-best nine three-pointers while matching his career-best in assists. Houston has averaged a phenomenal 130.8 points during its four-game run, which polished off a 15-2 record for December. Harden also tied his career high for assists and fell one shy of his career high for rebounds.
The Knicks got within three several times in the fourth quarter, with the last time coming on a layup by Joakim Noah with about four minutes left. Harden contributed 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in his seventh triple-double of the season and third straight 30-point game.
The Knicks were short-handed, with Courtney Lee, Kristaps Porzingis and Kylie Quinn missing the game with various injuries.
Forward Carmelo Anthony did not return for the second half, succumbing to a sore knee. Jeff Teague had a career-high 17 assists, while Myles Turner scored 15 points for the Pacers.
Kevin Durant notched his first triple-double for Golden State with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 108-99 downing of Dallas.
Bucks 116, Bulls 96: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points, Jabari Parker added 27 and Milwaukee used a huge fourth quarter to beat Chicago. Coach Rivers has been ejected four times this season. Jordan McRae had 20 points and Kay Felder finished with 13.