Monday night at Toyota Center, the New Orleans Pelicans made 3-pointer after 3-pointer after 3-pointer, but the Rockets survived, winning for the 10th straight game 130-123.
New Orleans broke a franchise record with 18 makes from behind the 3-point line. They made 7-of-9 in the first quarter, which game them a 41-35 lead. Then the Pelicans knocked down 7-of-10 in the second quarter. E’Twaun Moore made all six he attempted in a half that saw him score 22 of his 36 points. His sixth came with 3:29 left before halftime, and it gave the Pelicans a 69-61 lead, but the Rockets closed the half on a 17-7 run to take a 2-point lead, though it didn’t last long.
The Pelicans only knocked down three shots from deep, but found other ways to score. New Orleans scored the first six points of the half to regain the lead, and the teams traded buckets for a couple of trips, but Jrue Holiday’s 17-footer started a 10-2 spurt to get the Pelicans lead back to double digits. The Rockets chipped two points off the lead, but a Rajon Rondo three followed by another Holiday jumper gave New Orleans a 13-point lead with 2:49 left to play in the third.
Chris Paul had a quiet start to the night, but he nearly cut the lead in half in the last 94 seconds of the period. In the span of 26 seconds, he made a layup and a triple to cut the lead to back to eight, then after Moore’s floater with 45 seconds left, he canned a three at the buzzer to make it 103-96 going into the fourth.
Paul’s layup on the Rockets first possession brought the Rockets within five, but the Pelicans scored the next five points, but Clint Capela’s dunk, part of a career-night capped a 14-5 run which tied the game at 112. From their, the lead changed hands five times, the last coming with 2:47 left to play when a Harden layup broke a 119-119 tie and started a 10-2 run.
Harden finished with 26 points and 17 assists. He scored 12 points in the fourth.
Capela played just 24 minutes, but scored a career-high 28 points, missing just one of his 14 field goal attempts. He added five blocks.
Eric Gordon scored 27 points off the bench, while Paul chipped in 20 for the Rockets who improve their league-best record to 21-4.
Moore needed just 20 shots to get his 36 points, but Holiday led the Pelicans with 37 points. Those two combined to miss just 10 of their 41 shots.
Rajón Rondo gave the Pelicans a triple-double, while DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points to go with 14 rebounds and eight assists as the Pelicans drop to 14-14.
The Rockets will go for an 11th straight win Wednesday night when they host Dwight Howard and the Charlotte Hornets.