By Adam Spolane

Last season, the Rockets won a total of 55 games. After Saturday’s 107-101 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center, the Rockets have 55 wins this season, with 13 games to play.

The Rockets are just three wins shy of the matching the franchise record set in 1993-1994, and move to three games ahead of the Golden State Warriors for the NBA’s best record.

James Harden’s 32 point, 11 rebound, 8 assist night led the Rockets, while Chris Paul added 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Trevor Ariza chipped in 17 points.

Houston survived a 12-point first quarter from Anthony Davis and led 32-29 after a quarter, and they doubled the lead in the second, but took control in the third.

With the Rockets leading 63-56 with 8:17, P.J. Tucker knocked down a 3-pointer, starting a 13-0 run, which pushed the lead to 20 as the Pelicans scored just two points for the first 6:50 of the second half. An Anthony Davis layup ended the run, and Pelicans bounced back, cutting the lead to 12 at the end of the quarter, and pulled even closer in the fourth.

Darius Miller started the period with seven straight points, connecting on back-to-back three-pointers. Paul fouled him on the second, and he knocked down the free throw. Eric Gordon split a pair of free throws on the Rockets next trip, but Chieck Diallo made a pair to cut the Rockets lead to four, but that was as close as New Orleans could get.

Tucker connected from long distance before Clint Capela finished a lob from Harden to push the lead back to nine.

Capela finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks.

Ryan Anderson returned to the floor after missing the last nine games with a hip injury. He did not score in 11 minutes.

The loss drops the Pelicans to 39-30 on the season. They were led by Davis’ 26 point night.

The Rockets will be in action again Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.


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