The Houston Rockets showed they can be legitimate contenders in the Western Conference after another win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Rockets are insisting Saturday's 116-108 win over the Warriors means absolutely nothing, but it certainly feels like something.
Houston won the season series over the Warriors (2-1) with the victory. By doing so without their best defender on the court in Trevor Ariza, the Rockets showed they have what it takes to be contenders.
"We can play a little bit," Chris Paul told ESPN following the game. "It's not anything big or anything like that, I mean, it's January for God sakes, you know what I mean? So, thank God we came out healthy."
The only question health-wise for the Rockets was James Harden who is just two games removed from missing seven games with a leg injury. The MVP candidate is on a minutes restriction for Houston, but as the clock wound down Saturday, Harden was still on the court, and for good reason. He hit the three-pointer that put Houston up two possessions late in the game.
He then blocked a Stephen Curry three-point attempt that could have cut the lead to three on the ensuing possession.
Harden finished with 22 points and eight assists. Paul had 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Rockets snapped the Warriors' 14-game road winning streak.
Oklahoma City's big three looked more like a big four in a 148-124 win over the Cavaliers. Paul George had 36 points and seven rebounds, Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Russell Westbrook had 23 points, 20 assists and nine rebounds, and Stephen Adams had 25 points and 10 rebounds on 12-of-13 shooting.
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry scored 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting with five rebounds and five assists but it was not enough to avoid a 115-109 loss to the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins had 29 points to lead Minnesota.
Clippers guard Lou Williams had 31 points, 10 steals and seven assists in Los Angeles' 125-113 loss to the Jazz.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon was incredibly hot from the floor Thursday, but Saturday was a different story as he went two-of-14 shooting and 0 for nine from three-point range. He scored six points in 35 minutes.
It is not Madison Square Garden and it is not Reggie Miller, but Miami's James Johnson scored five points in four seconds to tie the game at 104-104 with 31 seconds remaining in the game in the Heat's 105-104 win over the Hornets.
Oklahoma City Thunder 148-124 Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls 113-97 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 106-105 Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans 111-104 Memphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers 116-94 Milwaukee Bucks
Houston Rockets 116-108 Golden State Warriors
Minnesota Timberwolves115-109 Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz 125-113 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers 117-108 Dallas Mavericks
PACERS AT SPURS
Victor Oladipo is must-watch for the Pacers and the Spurs are the best-coached team in the NBA. Put those two together and you have a very watchable basketball game.