Rockets use 90-point half, Harden's 48 to beat Suns
PHOENIX -- James Harden had 33 of his 48 points during the Houston Rockets' 90-point first-half explosion that led to a 142-116 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
The 90 first-half points by Houston were the most in franchise history and the second-most in NBA history. Phoenix still holds the league record, putting up 107 points in the first half of a 173-143 win against Paul Westhead's run-and-gun Denver Nuggets on Nov. 10, 1990.
Houston had scored 45 points or more in a quarter 15 times in franchise history before doing in both the first and second quarters Thursday. The Suns came into the game allowing an NBA-worst 115.1 points a game, but Houston blew by that number late in the third quarter.
Harden was 12 of 22 from the field and a perfect 18 of 18 from the free-throw line after going 19 of 19 against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. He now as the most free throws without a miss (37) over a two-game span in NBA history.
Ryan Anderson had 24 points for the Rockets (12-4), who are 8-1 on the road this season. They have now beaten Phoenix five straight times, tying a franchise record.
Guard Chris Paul, who returned to the lineup after missing 14 games with a left knee injury, was limited to 20 minutes but still had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists.
Phoenix reserve Troy Daniels had 18 of his 23 points in the second quarter and tied a franchise record with six 3-pointers of his own in the quarter. But the Suns (5-11) were still outscored 45-43 as the Rockets kept firing away.
Houston hit 28 of 46 shots (61 percent) and 12 of 20 3-pointers (60 percent) in the first half. Harden led the charge, hitting nine of 12 shots, including all five 3-pointers and all 10 free throws. Anderson had 18 points and four 3-pointer.
The Rockets put the game away quickly. They hit seven of 11 3-pointers in the first quarter, three by Anderson. He had two during a 13-1 run to end the first quarter, with Paul's 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left giving Houston a 45-23 lead after one.
NOTES: Suns C Tyson Chandler sat out the game with an illness. ... Phoenix F Greg Monroe, obtained from the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eric Bledsoe trade on Nov. 7, made his Suns debut. He started and had 20 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. ... Houston F Luc Mbah a Moute missed the game with an illness. ... Suns G TJ Warren came into the game with three straight 20-point-plus games for the first time in his career. He had 14 Thursday. ... Houston's previous franchise record for points in a half was 87, against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 6, 1990.