This season for Houston has been rocky, to say the least. Specifically, James Harden has been the subject of a lot of rumors, like how he led to Coach McHale being fired and wanting Dwight Howard traded. Both were denied by Rockets CEO Tad Brown, and James responded the only way he knows how: getting buckets.

The Rockets took on the incredibly hot Portland Trailblazers on Thursday, and Harden had a marvelous showing. He doused Portland’s hot streak with 46 points on 16/26 shooting and even dished out eight assists. Of Houston’s 33 fourth quarter points, Harden bucketed 22 of them. Collectively, the Rockets’ defense did an excellent job of containing the Blazers in the second half and held them to just 41 points, including 12 in the fourth.

Damian Lillard & C.J. McCollum combined for 43 points but shot a horrendous 15/39 from the field.

With the victory and a Jazz loss to San Antonio, Houston, 29-29, climbed back into the eighth seed in the playoff bracket. They also sit just one game back of Portland for the seventh seed.

Around The League

Steph Curry dropped 51 points on the Magic in a 130-114 victory. He shot 10/15 from three and 20/27 overall. Thursday marked the fourth game in Curry’s career that he scored 50+ and made 10+ threes, the rest of the NBA has three such games in their history. This comes one game after scoring 42 in Miami.

Russell Westbrook (44) and Kevin Durant (32) combine for 76 points but fall to the Pelicans 123-119. The loss causes the Thunder to slip to 9-9 in games where both Durant and Westbrook score 25+ each.

Isaiah Thomas continued his rise towards superstardom and collected 27 points and seven assists in a victory over Milwaukee. It was the seventh game this year where Thomas put up those numbers, putting him at eighth in the league. He also added in a ridiculous no-look, behind-the-head pass.

Thaddeus Young stuffs the stat sheet as Brooklyn downs Phoenix, 116-106 in a battle for lottery positioning — although, it doesn’t really matter for Brooklyn, Boston get their pick anyway. Young tallied 18 points, seven steals, three blocks, eight rebounds, and three assists, and became the seventh player since 1983 to record 18p/8r/7s/3b in a game.

Scores

GSW 130 – ORL 114

MIL 107 – BOS 112

OKC 119 – NOLA 123

BKN 116 – PHX 106

HOU 119 – POR 105

SAS 96 – UTAH 78