Sixers fall to Harden, Rockets

Team remains winless through 10

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 23 of his 33 points in the first quarter, and the Houston Rockets cruised to a 115-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Harden, who posted a triple-double in his last two games, added nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Rockets had a three-point lead with five minutes left in the first quarter when Harden took over, scoring all of Houston’s points in a 17-9 run to make it 35-24. Harden, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, made a pair of 3s, all three shots after being fouled on a 3-pointer and a nifty reverse layup in that span.

He made each of the eight shots he attempted in the quarter to set a career high for points in a period.

The Sixers were led by Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova, who had 13 points apiece.

Harden cooled off after his huge first quarter and didn’t score in the second period, but the Rockets still had a 65-52 lead at the break.

The 76ers made just five of 19 shots in the third quarter, and Houston stretched its lead to 93-68 entering the fourth.

Harden is off to a great start this season in new coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense. He has scored at least 24 points in each of Houston’s first 10 games this season.

Tip-ins

76ers:  Embiid, who returned after sitting out the last game to rest, led Philadelphia with 10 rebounds. … Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both had 11 points. … Nik Stauskas added 12 points.

Rockets: The Rockets made 17 3-pointers and have made at least 10 3s in nine straight games, which ties a franchise record. … Nene had 13 points for his third double-digit game this season. He added a block to give him at least one in six straight games. … Clint Capela had 13 rebounds.

Up next

76ers: Host Washington on Wednesday as the team begins a stretch of four of the next five at home.

Rockets: Will make a one-game road trip to Oklahoma City on Wednesday before returning for two at home against Portland and Utah.