Houston Rockets beat Phoenix Suns 142-116

Harden scores 48 points as Rockets soar

Harden scores 48 points as Rockets soar

Like the Rockets, everything was working perfectly.

The Houston Rockets scored a whopping 142 points in a win over the Phoenix Suns Thursday night.

"We were coming off a bad loss at home (129-113 to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday) and we wanted to bounce back and did a really good job to start the game off", said Harden, who scored 40 or more points for the 40th time in his career has at least 45 in three 15 games this season.

The Rockets made 61 per cent of their first-half shots to get the second-most points in a first half in National Basketball Association history. Phoenix still holds the league record, putting up 107 points in the first half of a 173-143 win against Paul Westhead's run-and-gun Denver Nuggets on November 10, 1990. In that same stretch, however, Booker has topped 45 fantasy points five times. Through his first 16 National Basketball Association games, this year's 4th overall pick is averaging 9.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 3-pointers, 1.3 steals, and 2.1 turnovers on 39.1 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Paul started the season opener but left in the second half and missed the next 13 games while recovering from a bone bruise in his knee originally suffered during the preseason.

"I know I was gassed, especially early, but it was fun to get back out there with the guys", he said. "I may look young, but I've been playing for a while". They got the lead down to 14 with one of Troy Daniels' six 3-pointers in the second quarter, but the Rockets repeatedly scored easily at the other end.

The Suns also shot well in the first half, getting 65 points before the break.

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"He's ready to go", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters before practice Wednesday in Houston.

"The 20-minute restriction, first and foremost, I hate it", Paul said, "but I know they're trying to protect me".

Harden was 12 for 22 from the field and 18 for 18 from the free-throw line after going 19 for 19 against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. C Nene returned from a right foot sprain that kept him out the past two games and scored 10 points in 15 minutes. Center Greg Monroe led the Suns with 20 points while guard Devin Booker had 18. "It's good to see what a high-caliber team looks like up close and personal". At his current price, Booker has hit value in 7 of his last 10 games, with three rough shooting performances to blame for the three he did not (30%, 40%, 27% in those games). While Houston has two solid options at point guard with Paul returning, the Suns are having trouble finding one. Three days later, they gave up 107 in the first half against Phoenix, the most ever.

Rockets: F Luc Mbah a Moute (illness) did not play.

The Houston Rockets recently ripped off a six-game winning streak and own the second-best record in the Western Conference, and they are about to get better.

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