Rockets roll on as Spurs problems deepen

Rockets roll on as Spurs problems deepen

LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
Rockets roll on as Spurs problems deepen

James Harden scored 28 points as the Houston Rockets tightened their grip on first place in the Western Conference on March 12 with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Another inspirational display from MVP-candidate Harden included six rebounds and six assists as the Rockets delighted their home fans to improve to 53 and 14 at the top of the standings.

The Rockets now have a two-game advantage over the Golden State Warriors as the playoffs approach, meaning they are in pole position to retain home advantage through the postseason.

Harden was backed by 18 points from point guard Chris Paul, who had nine assists and three rebounds.

Trevor Ariza added 15 points while big man Clint Capela scored 13 with nine rebounds. Gerald Green added 14 off the bench.

The victory also means Golden State are assured of a playoff berth for a sixth straight season.

The Spurs have now lost 11 of their last 14 games, and are in a battle to make the playoffs in a crowded mid-table where only one game separates the teams placed seventh to 10th. The top eight teams reach the playoffs.

Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook had a triple double as the Oklahoma City Thunder brought up their 40th win of the season in a 106-101 defeat of the Sacramento Kings.

Westbrook finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as the Thunder improved to 40-29 to move up to fourth place in the Western Conference.

In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a routine 121-103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, staying in eighth place in the playoff seedings.

Khris Middleton had 24 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo 20. Brandon Jennings excelled off the bench with 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

problem, deepen,