NBA highlights on Mar. 3: Harden's 42 points help Rockets defeat Celtics
Li Xiang

The Houston Rockets on Sunday left the TD Garden after defeating the Boston Celtics 115-104, claiming their fifth victory in a row. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-95 in a comeback game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Harden scores 42, before fouling out

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots in the win against the Boston Celtics 115-104, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots in the win against the Boston Celtics 115-104, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

James Harden again scored a team-high 42 points. Eric Gordon also had a crazy 32-point night by making 12 three-pointers. Chris Paul had 15 points and 12 assists but no other players scored double-digit points.

Boston's Kyrie Irving dropped 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Another three from the team's first-lineup scored double digits: 19 for Tatum, 18 for Marcus Smart and 12 for Jayson Tatum. Jaylen Brown scored 15 points after coming off the bench. 

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Celtics penetrates in the game against the Rockets, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Celtics penetrates in the game against the Rockets, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Rockets remained in full control in the first three quarters by scoring 100 points (Q1: 33, Q2: 32, Q3: 35). By contrast, the Celtics continued their recent struggles on offense in the first half, with only 43 points. Though the home team managed to launch a counter strike in the third quarter with 35 points, Houston sank six three-pointers in the last three minutes this quarter, ruining all efforts by Boston.

Though the Celtics finally stopped the Rockets from scoring in the fourth quarter (26-15), they were trailing by 22 points (100-78) in the first three quarters, way too much of a lead for the Celtics to catch up in one quarter alone, and had to accept their fifth loss in six games after the 2019 All-Star Game.

Westbrook does his job to help OKC win

Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates in the game they win against the Memphis Grizzlies 99-95, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates in the game they win against the Memphis Grizzlies 99-95, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Russell Westbrook scored Oklahoma City's highest 22 points. Both Dennis Schroder and Steven Adams put down double-doubles as Schroder had 17 points, 12 rebounds and Adams got 13 points, 22 rebounds. Jerami Grant and Abdel Nadar dropped 13 and 15 points respectively.

Avery Bradley dropped the court's highest 27 points for Memphis. Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Delon Wright got 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Bruno Caboclo scored 11 points.

Westbrook #0 and Jerami Grant #9 of the Thunder give each other high-five in the game against the Grizzlies, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Westbrook #0 and Jerami Grant #9 of the Thunder give each other high-five in the game against the Grizzlies, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Thunder have been struggling recently after losing four games in a row. Their offense showed no improvement in the first three quarters of the game against the Grizzlies, in which they trailed respectively 28-25, 24-21 and 23-21.

Part of OKC's terrible offense came from their engine Westbrook who made only three of his 13 shots to get 10 points in the first three quarters. That began to change in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies were leading 91-81. Westbrook then scored 11 points by himself to lead his team in launching a 16-2 run before winning the game and putting an end to their embarrassing record.

Hawks get revenge on Bulls

Jaylen Adams #10 of the Atlanta Hawks defends Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls in the game, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

Jaylen Adams #10 of the Atlanta Hawks defends Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls in the game, March 3, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls met again after the four-overtime game on Friday. This time the Atlanta were the winning team thanks to the double-digit scoring performance by seven of their players. Alex Len had 28 points and nine rebounds. Dewayne Dedmon dropped a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Trae Young had 18 points but was ejected after playing 18 minutes.

Chicago also had seven players who scored double-digit points. Lauri Markkanen got 19 points and nine rebounds. Robin Lopez put down 16 points while Kris Dunn had 14 points and six assists. Zach LaVine struggled in offense to score only 12 points.

Both teams became hopeless for the playoffs way early in the season. The Bulls were frozen from the 3-pt line for the whole game as they only sank right shots there with a rate of 29.63 percent (8/27). By contrast, the Hawks kept raining three-pointers by making 21 of them at a remarkable rate of 50 percent (21/42).

Trae Young of the Hawks handles the ball in the game they win against the Bulls 123-118, March 3. /VCG Photo

Trae Young of the Hawks handles the ball in the game they win against the Bulls 123-118, March 3. /VCG Photo

The referees of this game created controversial scene by sending Young out of the court. In the third quarter, Young made a three-pointer before he looked at Dunn who was guarding him with arms akimbo. However, the referee immediately called the second technical foul on Young who was then ejected.

After the game, Dunn said: "I didn't even know (it) happened. I don't feel he (Young) should have been ejected, to be honest." Reggie Miller expressed his anger bluntly by tweeting: "What's happened to my beloved NBA game? So dxxx SOFT and SENSITIVE now, nooooo way Trae Young should be given a technical for this…I would have been broken and out of the league in 2 years."

Other games on Sunday included: (away teams come first)

Portland Trail Blazers 118-108 Charlotte Hornets

New York Knicks 107-128 Los Angeles Clippers

Orlando Magic 93-107 Cleveland Cavaliers

Toronto Raptors 107-112 Detroit Pistons

Minnesota Timberwolves 121-135 Washington Wizards