HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – James Harden scored a career high 51 points as the Houston Rockets held off the Sacramento Kings 115-11 Wednesday night at Toyota Center. Dwight Howard did not play, but will be in the line-up for Thursday’s match-up with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Rockets began the game on a hot streak with a 13-3 run which included the first James Harden three-point basket of the night. The Rockets led by 10 at 35-25 after the first period, with Harden scoring 16 points and the Rockets hitting six of 12 from downtown.

The Rockets pushed the lead to 19 after starting the second quarter on a 11-2 run capped off by a pair of Trevor Ariza threes, prompting a time-out from Kings head coach George Karl.

The Kings rallied back from a 46-27 deficit with a 26-6 run and trailed 54-53 with 2:00 remaining in the half. At halftime, the Rockets led by only three 58-55.

The Kings re-claimed the lead early in the 3rd but ultimately couldn’t handle the strong effort from Harden.

DeMarcus Cousins was brilliant for the Kings as he scored 24 points with 21 rebounds, 10 assists, six blocks, and three steals.

The Rockets now sit 51-24 in the Western Conference playoff standings with seven games remaining. They are in a tie with Memphis for the Southwest division lead, but the Grizzlies own the tie-breaker with Houston with a higher win percentage inside the division.

Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @ADBSportsguy