NBA roundup: Harden scores 51 as Rockets beat 76ers

Harden scores 51 to lead Rockets past Embiid, 76ers
Houston Rockets’ James Harden shoots next to Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in Philadelphia. Houston won 123-118. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

James Harden scored 51 points and added 13 rebounds and 13 assists to lead the visiting Houston Rockets to a 123-118 victory over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

Harden, who had 19 of his points in the third quarter, has at least 30 points and 10 assists in 18 games this season. The NBA’s third-leading scorer entering the game, Harden finished two points shy of tying his career high. He was 16 for 28 from the field, including six for 11 from 3-point range, while making 13 of 14 free throws.

Nene added 21 points for the Rockets, who snapped a two-game skid while winning for just the fourth time in 10 games.

Embiid had 32 points and seven rebounds in his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a knee contusion. Embiid, who was questionable until about 45 minutes before tipoff, showed that he was just fine with an emphatic, lefthanded dunk over Nene for Philadelphia’s first two points, which drew loud cheers from the 76ers’ large crowd.


Bulls’ Wade, Butler benched for comments • Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler were dropped from the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup Friday night against the Miami Heat as punishment for postgame comments questioning their teammates’ desire following a loss.

“Just based on what happened the other night, we felt it was appropriate to make the change,” coach Fred Hoiberg said in announcing the decision about 90 minutes before tipoff.

Paul Zipser and Doug McDermott were inserted into the starting lineup.

“It doesn’t matter if I start,” Butler said. “I still have to do what I do anyways, help the team win. Nothing surprises me anymore.”

Before the morning shootasround, the Bulls held a team meeting to clear the air after Rajon Rondo fired back…