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Rockets cruise past Jazz, Kings keep winning ways over Clippers

Sacramento Kings Kent Bazemore gestures after making a three-point basket during the second quarter in a game against the LA Clippers at Staples Center © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / Katelyn Mulcahy

LOS ANGELES, United States, Feb 23James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 points as the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz on the road for the second time in four weeks, winning 120-110 on Saturday.

Harden scored a team high 38 points and added five rebounds and seven assists while Westbrook scored 34. It was Harden’s sixth three-pointer with 2:13 remaining that silenced the Jazz for good.

Utah had cut a 16-point deficit to 115-108 before Harden nailed a long three pointer that lifted Houston to its seventh win in the last nine contest.

Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore scored 12 points apiece off the bench for the Rockets, who finished 20 of 48 from behind the arc at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

It was the Rockets’ three-point prowess that set the late tone with McLemore, Austin Rivers and Gordon all connecting from long range to spark a 17-5 run after Utah closed to within 83-80 on a three-point play from Mike Conley.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 31 points while Jordan Clarkson added 22 off the bench.

Utah scored 64 points in the paint, but that wasn’t enough to counter the Rockets’ explosive shooting.

Elsewhere, reserve Kent Bazemore scored 23 points as the Sacramento Kings are off to a roaring start to the second half of the season with a 112-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 20 points for Sacramento, who were coming off Thursday’s 129-125 win over Memphis in their first game back after the All-Star break.

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Harry Giles had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Harrison Barnes added 13 points for Sacramento. Nemanja Bjelica tallied 10 points and seven rebounds in front of the crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center arena.

Fox had a team-high eight assists for the Kings, who have won five of their last seven.

The Kings blew out the Clippers 124-103 in their most recent meeting in Los Angeles last month as Fox scored a career-best 34 points and the team set a franchise record for three-pointers made with 21.

The Kings overcame a solid performance on Saturday by Kawhi Leonard, who led the Clippers with 31 points.

But Leonard was the only starter to score in double figures as the Clippers starters were outscored 77-57 by the Kings’ top five.

The Clippers are in second place in the Pacific Division but have been plagued by inconsistency and injuries this season. Saturday’s defeat marked their first contest since the break and it extended their losing skid to three straight.

Lou Williams finished with 24 points and Montrezl Harrell had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles.

The Clippers played without injured Paul George (hamstring) and Patrick Beverley (groin).

Giles finished off an alley-oop pass from Bogdanovic with 58 seconds left for a 109-101 advantage. After Leonard made a bucket to cut the deficit to six, Fox scored on a drive in the lane to put the lead back to eight and put it out of reach.

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Also, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a wire-to-wire 119-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Antetokounmpo shot 12 of 17 from the field for the Bucks, who have won 21 of 24 games since losing 121-109 to Philadelphia on Christmas Day.

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