By Adam Spolane

James Harden’s 7 triple-double of the season helped the Rockets to a 140-116 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Friday at Toyota Center.

Harden finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. He shot 10-of-15 from the field and added 5 steals as the Rockets improved to 25-9 on the season, 2.5 games up on the Clippers for the third seed in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles, playing without Blake Griffin and Chris Paul due to injuries lost Austin Rivers with 6:38 left in the second quarter after making contract with official J.T. Orr. Minutes later, his father, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers followed him to the locker room after an ejection of his own. At this point, the Rockets led by 25, but what was left of the Clippers made the rest of the game interesting.

They chipped eight points of the lead going into halftime. For much of the third quarter, the game stayed near that rangle, but Raymond Felton drained a 3-pointer with 1:23 left in the quarter to cap a 12-3 run, bringing the Rockets lead down to six, but that was the closest they’d get.

Harden stole a pass from Felton and drove for a layup the other way with 30.8 seconds left to get the Rockets lead back to double-digits, and while the Clippers got the lead back to six in the first minute of the fourth quarter, the Rockets answered with an 18-2 run to put the game away.

Felton’s 26 points led the way for the Clippers, as they drop to 22-13 on the season. DeAndre Jordan added 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Houston’s bench did its part with Montrezl Harrell scoring a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Eric Gordon added 19 on just seven shots. He shot 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc.

Trevor Ariza chipped in 18 points.


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