|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 29, 2018
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana Attendance: 17,555
James Harden is coming off a 45-point game.
Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans
- The Rockets have scored at least 100 points in each of their last 14 games against the Pelicans, their second-longest active streak against any opponent (17 against Suns).
- Houston has made 95 three-pointers over its last five games, tied for the second most in NBA history over a five-game span; the only team to make more was the Rockets themselves from December 10-17, 2016 (99).
- James Harden has had 30+ points and 5+ assists in each of his last eight games, tied with Russell Westbrook (November 2016) for the longest streak in the NBA in the last 30 years.
- Clint Capela has pulled down 64 rebounds over his last three games, the most by a Rockets player over a three-game span since Charles Barkley had 65 in November 1996.
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Anthony Davis is coming off a 48-point game
Two of the NBA's biggest stars are on a roll going into Harden and the Houston Rockets' game against Davis and the Pelicans on Saturday night in New Orleans.
Harden, the reigning MVP and the league's current leading scorer, has scored 30 or more points in eight straight games and at least 35 in the last six, which includes the 45 he had in a 127-113 home victory against Boston on Thursday.
"I think what James is doing is really special because he's really carrying us right now," forward Gerald Green said. "'Not only is he scoring, he's leading us."
Harden tied a career-high with nine 3-pointers against the Celtics as the Rockets continue to play without injured point guard Chris Paul.
"You take those shots, you're confident in those shots and those shots will go in," Harden said. "Sometimes they might not go in, but mostly, they'll go in. I just have to keep going, keep working."
Thursday's outing raised Harden's scoring average to 32.7, which is four points higher than the league's second-leading scorer - Kevin Durant - even though he has been playing with a strained calf.
"Of course, I should be in (the MVP) conversation," Harden said. "I received a lot of hate, but it won't stop me from going out there and killing it every single night and being the dog that I am. You can name a few other people that can be in that conversation, but realistically, it's coming back."
A lot has changed since the Pelicans and the Rockets last met in their season opener.
It was one of the most eye-opening openers as the Pelicans rolled past the host Rockets, 131-112 on Oct. 17.
It was the beginning of a 4-0 start for New Orleans, which has fallen on hard times of late, though it ended a five-game losing streak with a 114-112 home victory against Dallas on Friday night.
Houston, meanwhile, struggled to a 1-5 start and was 11-14 before winning eight of nine entering the rematch with the Pelicans.
The Rockets were once 14th in the Western Conference, but their current run has placed them among the eight playoff positions as they are a season-best four games above .500.
Davis, who had 32 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high eight assists in the first game against the Rockets, made 20 of 32 field goals and scored 15 points in both the first and fourth quarters against Dallas.
"He was determined and he played hard," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of Davis, who played nearly 43 minutes.
Julius Randle added 22 points and 12 rebounds and Jrue Holiday scored 18 for the Pelicans, who are in the midst of a stretch of three home games in four days, which concludes with a game against Minnesota on Monday.
"We know we're a better team than our record shows," Davis said. "But we've got to prove it. Tonight we showed that we can go out and compete. We've got to get back to playing defense. We did that in the second half tonight."
Updated December 29, 2018