Harden scores 42, Rockets rout Bulls 117-94

CHICAGO (AP) — For James Harden, a missed shot simply means the odds of him making the next one improve.

That attitude served the All-Star guard well yesterday as he rebounded from a slow start to put up big numbers again.

Harden narrowly missed his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 42 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Houston Rockets pulled away in the second half and beat the Chicago Bulls 117-94.

After going two for seven in the first quarter, he went 10 for 20 the rest of the game, including eight for 14 on 3’s.

“That’s the confidence I have,” he said. “That’s the confidence that I’ve built off of the work I put in. It’s more of a mindset.”

Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer, entered the game averaging 36.5 points on 38.7 per cent shooting, including 27 per cent on three-pointers.

“I feel like a broken record sometimes, but he’s a master of getting what he wants,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said of Harden. “I think sometimes he might get bored in the game and tries different stuff.”

Russell Westbrook scored 26 points as the Rockets won their third straight.

Wendell Carter Jr had 13 points and 16 rebounds for Chicago, which has dropped six of eight.

The Bulls were a woeful four-for-32 shooting from three-point range.

“I know how well we can shoot and tonight we just didn’t make them,” Chicago forward Lauri Markkanen said.

Chicago led 27-20 after one quarter behind eight points from Markkanen and eight Houston turnovers.

The Bulls led by nine points (31-22) early in the second before the Rockets used a 24-7 run to take control and open a 46-38 lead with four minutes left in the first half. Harden had nine points during the run.