James Harden NBA Playoff

James Harden Scores 28 Points, Rockets Tie Series With Spurs 2-2

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 28 points and led seven Houston players scoring in double figures, as the Rockets beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-104 to tie their Western Conference semifinals series 2-2.

Harden shot 10-of-18 from the floor and dished out 12 assists with five rebounds for Houston, which rebounded from consecutive losses after winning Game 1 in the series.

Eric Gordon added 22 points with six 3-pointers, Trevor Ariza had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Ryan Anderson and Lou Williams each had 13 points for the Rockets, who never trailed and led by as many as 25 points.

“I thought we did a great job of having patience with their drive-ins,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“Drive, kick, drive, kick instead of just throwing up a quick floater, which is kind of what they want.

“We were able to keep moving the ball, or keep moving our people and keep driving until we found the easier shot. And it worked.”

Also scoring in double figures for Houston were Bobby Brown, who finished with 11 points in five and a half minutes and Patrick Beverley (10), who played despite learning about the passing of his grandfather on Sunday.

Backup center Nene was forced to leave the game after suffering a left groin pull in the first quarter.

Nene was taken to a Houston-area hospital for an MRI after the game. The team says his status for Game 5 remains unknown.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.

Reserve guard Jonathon Simmons had 17 points to lead the Spurs, who got 16 apiece from starters Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Patty Mills added 10 points for San Antonio, which shot 7-of-23 from 3-point range and 49.4 percent from the field overall.

Houston outpaced the Spurs 18-15 on fast break points and 62-52 in points in the paint.

Rockets shot 19-for-43 from 3-point range in the win.

“I think our defense was pretty defective,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

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